The “Eroica” is forever linked to Napoleon who had crowned himself emperor of the French and impelled the enraged Beethoven to tear up the dedication page of his Third Symphony — exclaiming, “Now he, too, will trample on all the rights of man and indulge only in his ambition. He will exalt himself above all others, become a tyrant!” — and renaming it “Sinfonica eroica, Composed to Celebrate the Memory of a Great Man.” From two bolts-out-of-the-blue chords to exhilarating finale, the Symphony’s majesty and drama, extraordinary scope, and bold harmonies all proclaim that a new era in music had begun.
Shostakovich, in a torrent of creativity and inspiration, created his Cello Concerto in just six months, dedicating it to his friend and champion, the legendary Mstislav Rostropovich. A bravura showcase for cello, with soloist Mark Kosower (“a virtuoso of staggering prowess” – The Plain Dealer), encompasses a sardonic march, gorgeous lyrical melodies, a demanding, meditative solo-cadenza, and a high-voltage finale.
In Wagner’s opera, the title character Rienzi rises to power on the promise to make Rome great again, only to die in the Capitol, set ablaze by the people. The Overture to Rienzi includes the stirring theme from the most well-known aria, “Rienzi’s Prayer.” This compelling concert rings down the curtain on our monumental 2019–2020 Titans Season.
WAGNER Overture to Rienzi
SHOSTAKOVICH Cello Concerto No. 1
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 3, “Eroica”
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