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Monday, March 5, 2018


(Arjan Tien)

Dutch maestro Arjan Tien conducts the final two concerts of the KZN Philharmonic  Summer season. The first of these, on March 8, features two much-loved Beethoven masterworks. His programme opens with the acclaimed young German soloist Daniel Röhn performing the master’s Violin Concerto in D, and the Symphony No 3 ‘Eroica’ concludes the programme after intermission.  The great German composer’s only violin concerto is sometimes dubbed his ‘Everest’.

Soloists hoping to wow audiences with this elusive work, have often failed to achieve their goal. Indeed, the work’s premier by Franz Clement in 1806 was unsuccessful and the piece languished in obscurity, until revived in 1844 by Joseph Joachim. Since then it has become one of the best-known of all violin concertos. The demands the work makes on a soloist require profound musical sensibility, rather than mere virtuosity.

Violinist James Ehnes is quoted in a recent Gramophone magazine as follows: “With a piece like the Beethoven you want to make sure you’re giving yourselves the best chance of musical cohesion.” 
The KZNPO’s soloist, Daniel Röhn, is no stranger to the work, having earned his laurels performing it to wide acclaim.

Beethoven dedicated his Third Symphony to his friend and patron, Prince Lobkowitz. He originally conceived the composition in honour of the French general, Napoleon Bonaparte, whose rise to fame the composer had followed with admiration and interest. Beethoven wrote to his publisher in August 1804 telling him he was naming the work, ‘Bonaparte’,

He was subsequently enraged when Napoleon betrayed his revolutionary ideals by having himself declared Emperor of France. He tore the original title page from his score, renaming it Sinfonia eroica, thus rendering the hero he had depicted in his powerful new work anonymous. It was nonetheless performed to overwhelming acclaim at its premiere, going to achieve the phenomenal fame which deservedly abides to this day.

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