Brevard Symphony Orchestra Signature 6 Series: Bravo Beethoven
The BSO’s second concert in the 2023-2024 Signature Six Series joyfully celebrates Beethoven’s musical legacy with a concert featuring the Coriolan Overture, Symphony No. 1, and Emperor Concerto, performed by BSO audience favorite, pianist Terrence Wilson! This concert is presented at 7:30PM at the King Center for the Performing Arts.
For the Love of Beethoven
By Dr. Richard Weber
Imagine that you were just born – in the year 1770. When you are 6 years old, the American colonies ignite a fire in Western civilization with the revolutionary affirmation that, “…all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights…Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness…” The irrepressible clamor for personal freedom, leading to the French Revolution, dominates your formative years. In addition, imagine as a youth you blossom with musical prowess, with talent for melody, harmony, rhythm, and form. You pursue your passion, music. Then imagine that you realize, at the age of 27, that you – a MUSICIAN – are experiencing progressive hearing loss. And now you, the reader, might imagine how Ludwig van Beethoven, born in 1770, wrestled with life itself.
The music of Ludwig van Beethoven has always resonated with me (sorry…I couldn’t resist). In my mind, there’s no one in musical history that even comes close. Can I explain why? It’s not easy to put it in words. Albert Einstein said, “You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.” So, Einstein, I’ll try to put this in words: Let’s see if I understand it. Given the extraordinary circumstances I described above, Beethoven’s music could have been tragic, even morose. But no: Beethoven and his music have everything to do with OVERCOMING life’s trials. Consider the structure of his music as a metaphor for how we might strive to deal with the tremendous challenges we all face on this earth. We start with a basic theme, our place in the world. We undergo development as we grow. Periods of joy, beauty, and playfulness transpire. Along the way our original theme, our core, becomes forgotten or buried. In anguish, we struggle to move forward. Finally, with power and assertion, our essence reemerges as we recapture our ethos with even greater ascendancy. The heroic journey and its finale proclaim faith in the power of man to shape his destiny.
For a more unpretentious approach to my love of Beethoven, let me describe my experience when the BSO performs one of his works. I bob my head to the music like I do when listening to the Beatles; tap my foot to the beat like I do when listening to the Eagles; bask in triumph like I do after watching Bruce Willis in one of the Die Hard movies; and walk to my car after the performance humming what I’d just heard as I would after a Randy Travis concert. So…I trust either the down to earth picture I painted of my concert experience or my intellectual analysis – hopefully both – strike a chord with you. In fact, when you listen to Beethoven tonight, the relentless rhythm, surging emotion, and inexorable drive speak for themselves. With Beethoven, you don’t have to think about it. He simply lays it all out for you in his work so all you do is sit back and take it in.