Preview: Sym­phony will of­fer lots of Lud­wig

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Carolina Living - BY LAWRENCE TOPPMAN Cor­re­spon­dent

“It had been a won­der­ful evening. And what I needed now, to give it the per­fect end­ing, was a lit­tle of the Lud­wig Van.”

Ev­ery se­ri­ous clas­si­cal mu­sic lover will soon echo Alex from “A Clock­work Orange”: Or­ches­tras all over will cel­e­brate the 250th birth­day of Beethoven in 2020 (he was born in Bonn in De­cem­ber 1770). The Char­lotte Sym­phony pays him homage in 2019-20, play­ing six of his master­works and pack­ing the up­com­ing sea­son with com­posers be­lieved to have in­flu­enced him or been in­flu­enced by him.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion will hit the sweet spot for tra­di­tion-bound con­cert­go­ers over and over in its 12con­cert Clas­si­cal sea­son. Nine of those con­certs of­fer a big 19th-cen­tury sym­phony or con­certo, and many fea­ture two of them.

The Oc­to­ber gala brings Itzhak Perl­man back with the piece he played five years ago, Men­delssohn’s Vi­olin Con­certo in E Mi­nor. Of the nine works new to CSO pro­gram­ming, one is by El­gar, an­other by Si­belius, and a third is an ar­range­ment of Vi­valdi.

The Pops sea­son reprises “Magic of Christ­mas” and of­fers tributes to Frank Si­na­tra, ser­vice vet­er­ans, the 1980s, James Bond and Broad­way. The New Year’s Con­cert will get a sec­ond out­ing, and “Mes­siah” will come back after a year away. The sym­phony will an­nounce its movie and chil­dren’s se­ries later.

Like all ma­jor per­form­ing groups, the CSO sells sea­son pack­ages. They run this way: Clas­si­cal 12 se­ries, $333-$ 756; Clas­si­cal 9 se­ries, $288-$666; Clas­si­cal 6 se­ries, $216-$480; Clas­si­cal 4 Sun­day mati­nee se­ries, $152-$329; Pops 6 se­ries, $216-$480.

Yet the CSO has been more spon­ta­neous than other groups, es­pe­cially dur­ing 2018-19: In­di­vid­ual ticket prices some­times changed be­fore a con­cert ac­cord­ing to de­mand, flex passes were added, BOGO of­fers popped up, and a “su­per­sale” let you pay as lit­tle as $ 75 for three tick­ets. It’s best to call 704972-2000 or check char­lottesym­ to see what’s go­ing on.

Here’s what’s been an­nounced so far, with Christo­pher War­renGreen con­duct­ing all Clas­si­cal con­certs ex­cept as noted:


Sept. 27-29, Knight Theater: All-Tchaikovsky con­cert of “Capric­cio Ital­ien,” Pi­ano Con­certo No. 1, Sym­phony No. 5. Point of in­ter­est: Pi­anist Inon Bar­natan gave a thrilling duo recital with cel­list Alisa Weil­er­stein here in a 2015 Char­lotte Con­certs gig.

Oct. 18-19, Belk Theater: El­gar’s “In the South,” Mus­sorgsky’s “Night on Bald Moun­tain,” Stravin­sky’s “Fire­bird” Suite. Point of in­ter­est: The CSO has never played El­gar’s con­cert over­ture, writ­ten dur­ing his stay in Alas­sio in north­ern Italy in 190304.

Nov. 8-9, Knight: Hans Graf con­ducts De­bussy’s “Pre­lude to the Af­ter­noon of a Faun,” Mozart’s Vi­olin Con­certo No. 5 and Brahms’ Sym­phony No. 2. Point of in­ter­est: Vi­o­lin­ist An­gelo Xiang Yu played Bruch’s Con­certo No. 1 su­perbly with the CSO in 2016.

Nov. 22-23, Belk: Ilyich Ri­vas con­ducts Schu­mann’s “Man­fred” Over­ture, Brahms’ Vari­a­tions on a Theme of Haydn and Dvo­rak’s Sym­phony No. 9. Point of in­ter­est: Venezue­lan-born Ri­vas made his pro­fes­sional U.S. debut at 17, lead­ing a 2010 At­lanta Sym­phony sum­mer con­cert.

Jan. 10-12, Knight: Beethoven’s “Leonore” Over­ture No. 3, Si­belius’ Sym­phony No. 7, Beethoven’s Pi­ano Con­certo No. 5 (Con­rad Tao, soloist) .Point of in­ter­est: The CSO has never played Si­belius’ fi­nal pub­lished sym­phony, a one-move­ment won­der.

Jan. 31-Feb. 1: Belk: Christo­pher James Lees con­ducts Barber’s Ada­gio for Strings, Wil­liam Brit­tell’s “We’re Still Here” and Co­p­land’s “Ap­palachian Spring.” Point of in­ter­est: This will be a rare chance to hear Co­p­land’s full-length bal­let score, not the suite.

Feb. 14-16, Knight: Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet” Fan­tasy-Over­ture, Delius’ “Walk to the Par­adise Gar­den,” Chopin’s Pi­ano Con­certo No. 1, Beethoven’s Sym­phony No. 8. Point of in­ter­est: Venezuela-born Gabriela Martinez comes from five gen­er­a­tions of fe­male pian­ists.

March 6-7, Belk: Beethoven’s Missa Solem­nis. Point of in­ter­est: The most im­por­tant solo role in Beethoven’s mon­u­men­tal mass will go to so­prano Christina Pier, who stole the show as Mi­caela in Opera Carolina’s re­cent “Car­men.”

March 20-21, Belk: Kristin Kuster’s “Moxie,” Mozart’s Sym­phony No. 39, Saint-Saens’ Sym­phony No. 3 (with or­gan soloist James R. Jones). Point of in­ter­est: The Belk has no or­gan, de­spite that gor­geous ar­ray of un­con­nected pipes at the back of the stage, so one must be im­ported.

April 3-5, Knight: JoAnn Fal­letta con­ducts Ko­daly’s “Dances of Galánta,” Pi­az­zola’s “Four Sea­sons of Buenos Aires” and Beethoven’s Sym­phony No. 6. Point of in­ter­est: Ar­gentina’s Pi­az­zola wrote these four tango com­po­si­tions as a riff on Vi­valdi’s fa­mous con­cer­tos.

April 17-18, Knight: Jean­nette Sor­rell con­ducts Bach’s Bran­den­burg Con­cer­tos 2 and 3, Vi­valdi’s “La Fo­lia” (in Sor­rell’s ar­range­ment), Han­del’s Suite from “Terp­si­chore,” Haydn’s Over­ture to “The Un­in­hab­ited Is­land” and Mozart’s Bal­let Mu­sic from “Idome­neo.” Point of in­ter­est: Ex­cept for the Mozart con­certo listed above, this is your only shot at mu­sic writ­ten be­fore 1800.

May 1-2, Belk: Gabriella Smith’s “Field Guide,” Brahms’ Con­certo for Vi­olin and Cello (with vi­o­lin­ist Si­mone Porter and cel­list Joshua Ro­man), Beethoven’s Sym­phony No. 4. Point of in­ter­est: San Fran­cisco com­poser Smith pre­miered this 10minute tone poem in 2017.


Sept. 20-21, Knight: “Si­na­tra and Be­yond,” fea­tur­ing singer Tony DeSare.

Nov. 15-16, Knight: “Pa­tri­otic Pops,” a trib­ute to vet­er­ans on Vet­er­ans Day week­end.

Dec. 13-14, Knight: “Magic of Christ­mas.”

Jan. 24-25, Knight: “To­tally ’80s,” with mu­sic by Sting, El­ton John, Cyndi Lau­per and oth­ers.

March 27-28, Knight: “Best of James Bond.”

May 8-9: “Broad­way Fa­vorites,” with singers to be named later.


Oct. 5, Belk: The Fall Gala brings Itzhak Perl­man play­ing Men­delssohn’s Vi­olin Con­certo in E Mi­nor, Ge­orge Walker’s “Lyric for Strings” and Schu­bert’s Sym­phony No. 5.

Dec. 6-7, Knight: Han­del’s “Mes­siah.”

Dec. 31: “New Year’s Eve Cel­e­bra­tion,” in­clud­ing a party af­ter­ward with desserts, cham­pagne and danc­ing.

Cour­tesy of the Char­lotte Sym­phony

Ex­pect Beethoven, as 2020 marks the 250th an­niver­sary of his birth, from the Char­lotte Sym­phony next sea­son.

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