09.07 Saturday PM9.30

Grande Auditório
Universidade Nova FCT (Caparica)

Closing Concert

Beethoven Fest

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) Overture “The Creatures of Prometheus”, Op. 43

       “Ah! perfido”, Concerto Aria for Soprano and Orchestra, Op. 65
       Triple Concerto, for Violin, Cello, Piano and Orchestra, Op. 56

       1. Allegro
       2. Largo
       3. Rondo alla Polacca
::Programme Notes::
Triplo Concerto para violino, violoncelo e piano e orquestra, em dó M, op. 56
Beethoven is often regarded as the epitome of seriousness in music, or at least of loftiness, but tonight we will consider a more leisurely side of the German composer’s output. Within the seven concertos he wrote, the Triple Concerto has often been cast a bit in the shadow, precisely because it is the least ‘serious’ of the set, and also the least forward-looking.
The format undoubtedly recalls the ‘concerto grosso’ genre of the Late Baroque period, casting three soloists “against” an orchestra – and Beethoven even uses the ritornello form so typical of ‘concerto grosso’.
Or, for that matter, the ‘Sinfonia concertante’ genre so popular in Haydn’s and Mozart’s time.
Dating from about the same time he was writing the ‘Eroica’-Symphony, no doubt Beethoven could use a work in a lighter mood.
‘Ah! perfido’ Concerto Aria
Not by chance it was called ‘Grand Concerto Concertant’ in the 1st. edition. Today we look at the soloists as forming a ‘classic’ piano trio ensemble, but at the time this instrumental combination set ‘versus’ an orchestra was not very usual. And what is peculiar about this work is the way the cello outshines his two ‘rivals’, making the work sound in certain moments like a Cello Concerto ‘in disguise’. Plus, the piano trio of soloists enables Beethoven to cast his middle movement largely as chamber music.
The concert aria ‘Ah! perfido’ is a creation of young Beethoven, dating from early 1796, when he embarked on his first (and only) concert tour. He stopped in Prague and while there, he wrote this ‘Scena ed aria’, consisting of an introductory ‘Recitativo’, followed by an aria in a Gluckian ‘opera seria’ style. The occasion or the singer Beethoven wrote this piece for has not come down to us, but at the time this kind of compositions were usually written as a gift to some specific singer or as a response to a friendly request or challenge.
It is not known where and by whom it was first sung, but it was famously included in the cyclopic December 22, 1808 concert in Vienna, performed by a very young (too young!) Josephine Killitschky (who didn’t rise up to the challenge).
Finally, ‘The Creatures of Prometheus’ is Beethoven’s only music to be danced to, as it was written for the Vienna Court Ballet in 1800-01. The Overture thereof soon acquired a status of its own, due no doubt to its symphonic character, like a miniature opening movement of a symphony, which inhabits a soundworld close to his 2nd. or 4th. symphonies.
Bernardo Mariano