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Please note 5:30 pm start time, concert is played without intermission.
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BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, op. 37
DVOŘÁK: Symphony No. 7 in D minor, B. 141, op. 70
The London Times called him “without question, the most astounding pianist of our age.” He plays some of the most taxing piano writing ever put on the page with stupefying effortlessness,” said the New Yorker. Following a performance of Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto last fall, the Cincinnati Business Courier raved, “To say it was a stunning performance is almost an understatement. It was a majestic, insightful, and even revelatory interpretation. Best of all, Trifonov did not draw attention to his own technical brilliance but communicated each note of Beethoven’s final piano concerto with a sense of joy and discovery.”
Now Trifonov returns to Aspen for Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto, thought to be influenced by Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 in the same somber key of C minor. When Beethoven was out walking with his friend, the composer and pianist Johann Baptist Cramer, he heard an outdoor performance of Mozart’s concerto. After a particularly beautiful moment, he said with a mixture of admiration and despondency, “Cramer, Cramer! We shall never be able to do anything like that!” Beethoven’s iconic Fifth Symphony is also in C minor, and the first theme of this concerto has its same blunt terseness. After an extended orchestral introduction, the piano finally enters with its own stark statement. The mood of the second movement is hushed, with a noble, singing part for the soloist. The last movement is jaunty and fun with an ending that will take you by surprise. When Beethoven premiered the work, he hadn’t yet written the music down. This caused some anxiety for his page turner, who wrote: “In the playing of the concerto movements [Beethoven] asked me to turn the pages for him; but—heaven help me!—that was easier said than done. I saw almost nothing but empty leaves; at the most on one page or the other a few Egyptian hieroglyphs wholly unintelligible to me scribbled down to serve as clues for him; for he played nearly all of the solo part from memory, since, as was often the case, he had not had time to put it all down on paper. He gave me a secret glance whenever he was at the end of one of the invisible passages and my scarcely concealed anxiety not to miss the decisive moment amused him greatly and he laughed heartily at the jovial supper which we ate afterwards.”
Dvorak’s Seventh Symphony stems from a troubled time in his life, yet there are plenty of sunny moments and warm-hearted lyricism, with the last movement ending on a note of confidence, even defiance. The work’s London premiere was a triumph. One critic called it “one of the greatest works of its class produced in the present generation…We are inclined on a first hearing to place this new symphony even above those of Brahms, which it equals in masterly treatment and exquisite instrumentation while it surpasses them in spontaneity of invention.”
Hear the amazing Daniil Trifonov play Beethoven followed by one of the great symphonic masterpieces.