THURSDAY MATINEE PROGRAM
Étude in C major, Opus 10, no.1
Nocturne in C minor, Opus posth.
Étude in A minor, Opus 10, no.2
Nocturne in E major, Opus 62, no.2
Étude in E major, Opus 10, no.3
Étude in C-sharp minor, Opus 10, no.4
Nocturne in C -sharp minor, Opus 27, no.1
Nocturne in D-flat major, Opus 27, no.2
Étude in G-flat major, Opus 10, no.5
Étude in E-flat minor, Opus 10, no.6
Nocturne in E-flat major, Opus 9, no.2
Nocturne in C minor Opus 48, no.1
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Following consultation with our Health & Safety Task Force and the San Francisco Department of Public Health, and in accordance with all applicable federal, state, and local regulations, the San Francisco Symphony has determined that it is safe and prudent to present the rest of this week's performances as planned. To read all of the health and safety measures in place to keep San Francisco Symphony patrons and employees safe, please visit sfsymphony.org/Safety.
Conductor Christoph Eschenbach leads the Orchestra in a concert featuring Romantic greats Fanny Mendelssohn, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Johannes Brahms. Mendelssohn’s vivacious Overture in C opens the program with its serene introduction and buoyant allegro. Pianist Jan Lisiecki performs Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto, a work beloved for being equal parts poetic and utterly radical. Brahms’ First Symphony is a labor of love that brings together twenty years of thought, two years of intense writing, and a turbulent journey through self-doubt.
At A Glance
Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel was the eldest of the four Mendelssohn children and was particularly close to her younger brother Felix. She developed into an expert pianist, a composer of some 500 pieces, and a conductor of serious ability. As an upper-class woman in the Berlin of her time, she was all but forbidden from pursuing music as a career or performing in a public forum. She did, however, carry on an active musical life through salon concerts she oversaw at her family’s substantial home. That is where she introduced her Overture in C major in 1834—her only standalone orchestral composition.
Ludwig van Beethoven knew that concertos are a form of theater, and the older he grew, the more imaginative he became. In his Fourth Piano Concerto, Beethoven offered his most radical move to date—to begin with the piano alone. It is a move without precedent and rarely copied since. The second movement has been compared to Orpheus taming the wild beasts with his music. A lyrical and witty finale closes out this most subtle, suggestive, and multifaceted of Beethoven’s concertos.
“I shall never write a symphony!” Johannes Brahms once declared. “You can’t have any idea what it’s like to hear such a giant marching behind you.” The giant was Beethoven, and although his music provided essential inspiration for Brahms, it also set a high standard. In his First Symphony—fourteen years in the making—Brahms digested and purified Beethoven’s visionary achievement in the realm of the symphony. In so doing, he earned his own stripes as a symphonist, and with them the right to move forward as Beethoven’s truest heir.
From notes by James M. Keller and Michael Steinberg
For more information, including full program notes, visit the San Francisco Symphony’s digital program book platform at sfsymphony.encoreplus.app or text “SFS Concert” to 55741.