Beethoven and Brahms: an Open Rehearsal

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2016-17 SeasonThis concert pairs two composers’ confrontations with war: the Coriolan Overture, Beethoven’s depiction of a Roman general’s vengeful attack on his homeland, and Hindemith’s raw Violin Concerto, written at the beginning of World War II, performed by captivating violinist Arabella Steinbacher. Brahms’ beloved Symphony No. 4 completes this compelling program.

Listen as conductor Marek Janowski weaves together the themes of a symphony with the passion of the performers. This special behind-the-scenes experience begins at 8:30am with coffee and complimentary doughnuts, and a half-hour informative talk at 9am.

Katharine Hanrahan Open Rehearsal is a working rehearsal. The pieces rehearsed are at the conductor’s discretion.

The Open Rehearsals are endowed by a bequest from the estate of Katharine Hanrahan. For information about including the SF Symphony in your estate plans, contact Gift Planning at 415-503-5482 or giftplanning@sfsymphony.org.


Conductor/Performers

Marek Janowski

Conductor

San Francisco Symphony

Program

Beethoven

Coriolan Overture

Hindemith

Violin Concerto

Brahms

Symphony No. 4

All sound clips are from San Francisco Symphony performances and are used with permission of the SFS Players Committee.

Podcasts

Brahms' Symphony No. 4
 

At a Glance


BEETHOVEN
Coriolan Overture, Opus 62
 1807  |  8 mins
The subject of Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture is a tragedy by Viennese poet and playwright Heinrich Joseph von Collin (1771-1811). In von Collin’s play, the hero vacillates and delays, speaks reams of elegant verse but never acts, and dies at last by suicide. Beethoven’s music for Coriolan is portraiture of extraordinary concision, with few composers having ever put characters on stage as vividly as he does here.

HINDEMITH
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra
 1939  |  27 mins
These are the first SFS performances of this concerto. One might be surprised by the immediacy of the opening, with hardly a few notes stammered out by the orchestra before the violinist enters, unabashed and brilliant. There is a sense of urgency from the very start, partially due to a truly tuneful violin melody. The slow second movement lies at the heart of this piece. The violin is more or less left alone for a good amount of time, soliloquizing, with only smatterings of short interjections played by single wind instruments or small string ensembles in accompaniment. The music then grows agitated. In the end, the lyrical solo violin line is exposed once again, and the movement ends on a melancholy, but serene note. The spell is broken by an exuberant finale. Dynamic, vivacious, and substantial, the music exudes a confidence and optimism. The piece concludes vigorously, with an animated cadenza and energetic sprint to the finish.

BRAHMS
Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Opus 98  1885 | 40 mins
Brahms’s Fourth Symphony was written in 1885 when he was fifty-two and starting to think of retirement and the time that remained. The piece is a summation of its composer’s learning and technique, but for all its complexities it cuts as close to the heart as music can. One imagines that this is the work Brahms always wanted to write, a work in which form and function are balanced, in which technique opens new paths to expression, allowing him to voice his deepest convictions about all the unnamables that shape destiny—if any of Brahms’s music conveys a world view, this is it. The opening movement is tragedy on an epic scale. The second movement is the response, offered in more human proportions. The aggressively upbeat third movement seems initially out of place, given what comes immediately before and after, and yet it is utterly apt. Brahms’s humor also has a crueler side, for this happy music will be followed by a most uncompromising, pessimistic conclusion. The finale is music that shows Brahms looking into the future, toward a century that would validate Brahms’s apprehensions.

Jeanette Yu is Director of Publications at the San Francisco Symphony.

 

 

 

 

Buy Tickets

  1. Thu, Mar 9, 2017 at 10:00am

    Davies Symphony Hall

If you would like assistance purchasing tickets for patrons with disabilities, please call the box office at 415-864-6000.

Pre- and post-show Events

Inside Music, an informative talk by Scott Foglesong, begins one hour prior to rehearsal. Free to ticketholders. Learn More.