Ludwig van Beethoven: Egmont Overture, Op. 84
Max Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26
Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68
Three German composer giants, a feisty Scottish violinist and an unforgettable evening in Los Angeles – this is offered at the concert of the Budapest Festival Orchestra returning to the Hollywood Bowl after more than 20 years.
Now the time has finally come for the superstitious to enjoy a night when the number 13 will bring good luck and wonderful experiences. This is the number of Bs in the BFO’s concert on 30 July. In the works by Beethoven, Bruch and Brahms performed, there are 9 b key signatures altogether, and the soloist of the night is Nicola Benedetti, with yet another B.
The opening piece will be the Overture to Ludwig van Beethoven’s incidental music to Goethe’s play, Egmont. The play is about the fight for liberty. That theme was particularly relevant to the composer, who lived in Vienna occupied by the French, but victims of any oppression can identify with it. The composition, rich in orchestral colours, melodies and contrasts is still emotionally stirring but also brings hope.
“It was thrilling to hear and watch Nicola Benedetti in a truly risk-taking performance”, The Times wrote about the soloist of the evening. The journalist describes her stunning talent to fuse with her instrument, which may also be an important ability when playing Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1. As a violinist, the composer knew the instrument and its soul very well, which is clearly reflected in the melodious, phantasy-like, sometimes sensual, and sometimes rather virtuoso parts. Only few works by Bruch could withstand the test of time, but this concerto for violin is still a popular highlight of concert halls.
The programme will be closed by a great solution: the answer to the crisis of composing symphonies after Beethoven. It took Johannes Brahms more than 20 years to plan and compose his Symphony No. 1 – sometimes dubbed Beethoven’s 10th. The piece has references to the great predecessor at several points and the kinship was also admitted by the composer himself. Brahms’s music unites relief, struggle and passion.