SPCO and Jonathan Biss present: Ludwig van Beethoven in dialogue with Sally Beamish

20 January 2017

This Friday Jan 20th 8:00pm to 9:30pm., celebrated pianist Jonathan Biss joins The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra at the Chapel for the second installment in the Beethoven/5 project, a major commissioning project pairing five newly composed piano concertos alongside the Beethoven concertos that inspired them.

This concert is basically Ludwig van Beethoven in dialogue with Sally Beamish. Beethoven’s lively Piano Concerto No. 1 is the subject, performed alongside the world premiere of a concerto by British composer Sally Beamish. Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15, was written during 1796 and 1797. Dedicated to his pupil Countess of Bratislava, Anna Louise Barbara (“Babette”) Keglevics, its first performance was in Prague in 1798, with Beethoven himself playing the piano.

Biss writes of this project: “Beethoven’s music has been an obsession for as long as I can remember—working on it has been a constant source of joy, inspiration, and frustration. In this, I’m joined by most musicians I know, regardless of age, training, or background. That is why the idea of asking five very different composers to write a piece that, in some way, responds to Beethoven, is so exciting to me: each of them will have a relationship with him that is unique and intense, and these five works should constitute a significant and varied addition to the concerto repertoire. Beethoven’s own five concerti cover a huge amount of formal and emotional territory. I’m sure that these new works will as well, and I’m incredibly excited to discover them.”

The program begins with Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin (The Tomb of Couperin), which pays tribute to the golden age of French music and the baroque composer François Couperin, as well as the composer’s friends who died during World War I.