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 (the initials of the names already offer three Bs), there are altogether 9 B-flats in the key signatures, 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 entitled Egmont. The play is about the fight for liberty. That theme was particularly relevant to the composer, whose home town Vienna was occupied by the French, but victims of any oppression can identify with it. The composition, rich in orchestral colours, melodies and contrasts is 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 described her stunning talent for fusing with her instrument, an important ability when performing Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 as well. 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 virtuosic parts. Only few works by Bruch could withstand the test of time, but this concerto for violin is still a highlight at concerts.
The programme will be concluded by a famous though belated answer to the crisis of composing symphonies after Beethoven. It took Johannes Brahms more than 20 years to compose his Symphony No. 1 – sometimes dubbed Beethoven’s 10th. The piece refersto the great predecessor at several points and the kinship was openly admitted by the composer himself. Brahms’s music unites relief, struggle and passion.