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2018/2019 Season Opening Concert

Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir
Jacek Kaspszyk, Seong-Jin Cho
5.10, Fri, 7.30 pm
6.10, Sat, 6 pm

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Orchestras of the World
Event type: Orchestras of the World
Hall: Concert Hall
Subscription: D2 - Symphonic concerts, Z2 - Golden subscription
Price: 25-80 zł
Ludwig van Beethoven
- Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major Op. 73 [37']
Intermission [20']
Franz Schubert
- Symphony No. 9 in C Major The Great, D 944 [48’]

Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 acquired the epithet “Emperor” during the composer’s own lifetime; however, as with the majority of such sobriquets, it did not come from him. Perhaps it originated from the dedication to Archduke Rudolf of Austria, or – which is more likely – it was named thus because of the heroic, monumental, and in fact military character of the piece, commencing in the key of, for instance, “Eroica”. The héroique and militaire styles were quite popular in that tempestuous era encompassing both the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, and they were also frequently used by Beethoven. In the case of Piano Concerto No. 5, the novelty consisted in the greater role given to the orchestra, which foreshadowed the symphonic concertos of the Romantic and neo‑Romantic eras. Therefore, it is not surprising that of all Beethoven’s concertos, the great Romantic pianists – Clara Schumann and Ferenc Liszt – preferred this one the most.

Schubert’s two‑month sojourn in the house of the music‑loving and hospitable merchant Ferdinand Trawger on the Gastein Lake in the summer of 1825 was filled with music‑making in a family atmosphere, banquets and hikes. It was here (and not, as was believed, in the final year of his life) that the greatest and most original of his orchestral works first saw the light of day – Symphony in C Major D 944, known as “The Great”. It was not performed in the composer’s lifetime and would remain unknown for another decade – it had to wait until 1839 to make its premiere at the Gawandhaus in Leipzig, under the baton of Mendelssohn. A year later, following the score’s publication, Robert Schumann devoted a famous insightful and enthusiastic article to it, which appeared in Neue Zeitschrift für Musik. Schubert’s distinctive composing technique of his later years, which involved combining the sonata form (theme dualism and the development technique) with variations and a Liedertype narrative, was not immediately understood or appreciated.

The Symphony in C Major in many respects differs from Beethoven’s Concerto No. 5; however, there is something that both pieces have in common – they fill conventional patterns with a brand new content. While keeping a classical, four‑movement form, Schubert relishes the beauty of his own melodies and departs from the condensed drama typical of earlier symphonies, and ventures into pure orchestral lyricism.


You are invited to this concert by PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna – Warsaw Philharmonic Patron of the Year

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