Beethoven Symphony No 3


Birmingham Symphony Hall


THIS double bill of Beethoven is part of the on-going CBSO/THSH Beethoven Cycle which began earlier this season and runs into 2013.

And while some of the pieces may be lesser known, Beethoven's Third Symphony, The Eroica, is surely one of his most famous.

And justly so. Dedicated to ‘a great man' it is one of the composer's great symphonies and CBSO, under the baton of music director Andris Nelsons, gave justice to all its nuances.

Nelsons' enthusiasm was perfect for the exuberance of its opening before moving into the more sombre, even languorous, funeral march. A lively scherzo then runs into the finale which gradually builds in intensity until its final punch.

The story behind the Eroica makes the piece all the more interesting. The story goes that the symphony was initially inspired by Napoleon Bonaparte as an ideal hero. But when the French leader declared himself Emperor Beethoven was so disgusted and disillusioned he flew into a rage and destroyed the title page.

And so the name of Bonaparte was replaced by Eroica and the individual was replaced by the ideal.

Beginning the evening, we heard Beethoven in a different vein with his Concerto for piano, violin and cello in C major. Soloists Lars Vogt on piano, Baiba Skride on violin and Daniel Muller-Schott on cello were in balanced harmony as the central role switched back and forth between their instruments and the orchestra. 

The soloists are also to be commended for performing free of charge as this concert was a fund-raiser for the CBSO Benevolent Fund which provides support and financial assistance to current and retired CBSO members.

CBSO also plays The Eroica on Saturday evening (Dec 15) with an introduction to the work presented by BBC's Stephen Johnson.

Diane Parkes 

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