On Saturday October 6, SASO will perform a gigantic season opening concert featuring Beethoven and Tchaikovsky. Also on the program will be a new work by Tucson composer Jay Vosk and a guest conductor selected by bidding at the Annual GALA.
J.V.Bevan Olyphant received the opportunity to conduct SASO this year by being sponsored by long time SASO donor Irving Olson and will direct a selection related to Scotland. His family clan goes back to ninth century Scotland and he will appear in his clan kilt. He was interviewed recently KGUN TV’s Morning Blend.
Running the Rim by Jay Vosk, a Tucson composer, will receive its’ world premier to open the concert. Vosk earned a BM at Eastman and a MM at Michigan, both in composition. He has commissions from the National Symphony and the Tucson Symphony, and has composed 75 works for orchestra, band and string and brass ensembles.
Guest soloist will be James Dick performing the Beethoven “Emperor” Piano Concerto No. 5. Texas born, Dick has performed with various orchestras performing concertos by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Benjamin Lees and all five by Beethoven. He recorded a CD with the Baltic Chamber Orchestra of Beethoven’s Concertos 4 & 5, and performed recitals at Carnegie Hall in New York and in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major stands at the pinnacle of all piano concertos. WHY? This work will stand as the benchmark for all Romantic Period composers of piano concertos. Beethoven’s last three concertos introduce the use of the modern piano with all its’ power and also the addition of foot pedals allowing greater control of sound. In fact he visited the piano manufacturers helping with various improvements. Beethoven was always a trend setting innovator in all his compositions by modifying or even ignoring the accepted rules of composition. He did adhere to the sonata form 3 movement(mvt.) concerto and 4 mvt. symphony with one exception, the symphony No. 6 which has 5 and could be thought of as the first tone poem leading to Liszt and R. Strauss.
Structure wise, concertos include: ritornello where the orchestra alone play the themes: solo where the soloist plays alone or with minimal orchestra: Tutti where all play together: cadenzas where the soloist performs a dazzling but musical display. Returning to the WHY of his status, one need only look at the three mvts. of his E flat major concerto. Beethoven opens mvt. 1 with a three part introduction like no other; three mighty tutti chords,E flat, A flat, B flat, each followed by a mini cadenza. Next comes a 100 measure ritornello where the orchestra introduce all the themes of the mvt. When the piano returns, a normal sonata form sequence is followed with development, recapitulation and ending with a powerful tutti coda where the piano continues to the end.
In a great contrast to the majestic first mvt., the short second is very slow and subdued with a ritornello first theme followed by solo piano at measure 12 presenting the other theme, and playing a continuous run of notes. To complete part two comes another stroke of genius as Beethoven presents a two measure bridge in modifying the rhythm and key going directly into the final mvt. The Final, in a brisk 2, opens with solo piano playing a strongly syncopated first theme. This rondo features 3 themes. At the coda we get yet another surprise Beethoven innovation in
the cadenza. Timpani joins with the soloist playing a soft rhythmic support in 2 time for 14 measures and then slowing to a 17th measure in 6 time. The soloist then takes off in a brilliant 6 measure cadenza ending flourish, followed by a 7 measure ritornello syncopated finale…. At this point the listener should be aware of Beethoven’s genius!
Following intermission will be the dramatic and beautiful Symphony No. 5 in E minor by Tchaikovsky, his greatest symphony. This work was reviewed in a previous article. The concert will be performed on Saturday October 6 in SaddleBrooke at the Desert View Performing Arts Auditorium at 7:30 PM and on Sunday October 7 at 3:00 PM in Oro Valley at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church. These are ideal times allowing audiences to go to dinner either before or after the programs. For ticket and other information about concerts go to www,sasomusic.org