The Central Otago Regional Orchestra will be celebrating German composer and pianist Ludwig van Beethoven’s 250th birthday this weekend with a performance of three of his works in Alexandra and Wānaka.
Under the baton of Ashley Hopkins, the orchestra will perform the ‘Name Day Overture’ written for the Austrian Emperor Franz I in celebration of his name day saint, Francis of Assisi.
Symphony No. 8 will also be performed; an unconventional piece due to its unusual start with a repeated theme, rather than a crashing chord. Beethoven’s seventh and eighth symphonies were written at the same time, and initially, audiences favoured the former. Beethoven was recorded as saying, “that is because [the eighth] is so much better!” In time, the eighth came to be fully appreciated for its humour.
The second half of the concert will see the return of Auckland pianist Patrick Cornfield to play Beethoven’s last completed ‘Emperor Piano Concerto’ (Piano Concerto No. 5).
The concerto was written for Beethoven’s patron and pupil Archduke Rudolph. While it was first performed in 1811, Beethoven withheld a Viennese performance of this for three years hoping that his increasing deafness would improve. Sadly, it did not, and after another ten years of composing completely deaf, he died in 1827 at the age of 56.
Join the celebration of his life at the Lake Wānaka Centre at 2pm on Sunday, November 29. Tickets cost $20 per adult and are available from Gifted Design.
Read edition 1002 of the Wānaka Sun here.