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Two triumphant works that emerged from wartime occupation are featured on this eclectic program, combining the power of Beethoven’s immortal “Emperor” Concerto with Albéric Maynard’s romantic Fourth Symphony. The brilliant young virtuoso Behzod Abduraimov returns, and a new overture by John McPherson will be premiered.

Featured Repertoire
Beethoven – Piano Concerto No. 5 “Emperor”
Magnard – Symphony No. 4
McPherson – Triune (Grief/Peace/Liberation) – World Premiere of an ESO commission


Additional Activities
Arrive early for Symphony Prelude, an in-depth presentation about musical works to help make the most of your concert experience, starting at 7 pm in Enmax Hall (Main Performance Chamber), free to all ticket holders.


Ticket Information

$79 Dress Circle (A)
$69 Terrace (B)
$59 Orchestra (C)
$39 Upper Circle (D)
$29 Gallery (E)


Tickets subject to applicable service charges.


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Program Info

Program

JOHN McPHERSON

Triune (Grief/Peace/Liberation) – World Premiere of an ESO commission

 

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN

Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Opus 73 “Emperor” (38’)*

 

INTERMISSION

 

ALBÉRIC MAGNARD

Symphony No. 4 in C-sharp minor, Opus 21 (40’) (ESO premiere)

 

*Indicates approximate performance duration

Program subject to change

Triune (Grief/Peace/Liberation) – World Premiere of an ESO commission
John McPherson
(b. Edmonton, 1958)

Program note by the composer:
It is fascinating how Music appears to be inherent in the human psyche and is able to move us in so many ways: physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually and more.  Perhaps most intriguing is how music itself can be transformational in our selves and how we can be led by Music to a deeper/fuller intimacy with Life.

I’m sure we’ve all had moments when music literally changed us.  When we were transported from one state to another and were opened to a more intense experience of the beauty, joy and power of Music.

Our human ability to process the most profound tragedies and life-transitions has always been enhanced by the use of music—whether a requiem mass, dancing around a pyre, or as in that scene from Love Actually when Emma Thompson listens to Joni Mitchell.  When there are no words, there is always Music.

These thoughts and the short narrative that follows reflect the images I held during the writing of this work:

triune {tr?(y)o?on}:
               consisting of three in one

Grief accompanies loss, large or small.  It is sticky, relentless and existentially painful.  It shatters our ego and lays us bare.  But if we are able to ‘look it in the eye’, ‘talk’ to it, and even ‘dance’ with it—however awkwardly—we can pass through the grief and experience a peace that is deep and pure.  And through the nurturing of that peace we may find liberation…at least for a time.

Loss and grief will return of course, but by recognizing the patterns and transformative power held within it we may become more graceful and accepting of the pain, and with each episode become a better and better dancer.

I would like to gratefully acknowledge the support for this commission given by the Edmonton Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, the City of Edmonton, Rob McAlear, and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.


Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major, Op.73 “Emperor”
Ludwig van Beethoven
(b. Bonn, 1770 / d. Vienna, 1827)

First performance: November 28, 1811 in Vienna
Last ESO performance: September 2013

The occupation of Vienna by Napoleon’s army in 1809 took a spiritual as well as physical toll on Beethoven. He took refuge with his brother Kaspar, and on those occasions when cannon fire could be heard, he covered his head with a pillow, protecting his nearly-deaf but still highly sensitive ears. Following the Treaty of Vienna’s signing in October, when life began to return to normal, Beethoven’s pent-up artistic soul gave vent to an outpouring of music. He finished his Op.74 String Quartet, the “Les Adieux” Piano Sonata, and his Fifth Piano Concerto. It is no coincidence that all of these works are scored in E-flat Major, a key which, for Beethoven, had “heroic” or “triumphant” connotations (it is also the key of his “Heroic” Third Symphony). According to a report, it was a French soldier in the audience at the work’s premiere who proclaimed the concerto to be “the Emperor of concertos,” and the name has stuck.

The work’s unconventional opening was likely an unexpected move for the audience to hear, after a declamatory E-flat Major chord in the orchestra, the piano make its entrance with an extended series of arpeggios. The orchestra then states the main first theme, answered boldly by piano. A second theme is also developed, and through the rest of the movement, each of these main ideas is explored thoroughly. The vast movement nears its end with a cadenza written out note-for-note by Beethoven.

The second movement is divided between two themes. The first is a quiet one for the strings – as simple and as beautiful as any melody Beethoven ever wrote. The piano enters, also quietly, with its own theme. Variations of these melodies make up the movement until, with a subtle drop of a semi-tone, the principal theme of the third movement is at first tentatively presented, then banged out joyously on piano, answered with equal exuberance by the orchestra. Listen toward the end of this happy conclusion, when the piano shares a rare duet with the timpani, leading to the rousing finish.


Symphony No. 4 in C-sharp minor, Op.21
Albéric Magnard
(b. Paris, 1865 / d. Baron, Oise, 1914)

First performed:
This is the ESO premiere of any work by Albéric Magnard

No incident in Albéric Magnard’s life is as famous as his last – he died defending his home outside Paris from German troops that had advanced on it – and that, combined with his own personality which tended toward introspection and withdrawal, has left him a relatively unknown figure. But he was the son of privilege; his father was the well-known, respected, and bourgeois editor of Le Figaro, and Albéric’s upbringing was something he fought against for much of his life. He tried not to profit by his position, although his father’s support (financial, if not necessarily emotional) was certainly available to him. He studied law, and only entered the conservatoire after military service, law school, and the obligatory pilgrimage to Bayreuth. He became a protégé of Vincent d’Indy, and wrote his first two symphonies while under his tutelage. His fourth, and final, symphony was written the year before he died.

Aside from his comfortable upbringing, not a lot came easily to Magnard. He wrote operas and several chamber works, but perhaps his conservative musical language was a little out of step with the time and place – fin de siècle Paris was all about the new and innovative. So by the time of Symphony No. 4, he had withdrawn from the busy musical world of the French capital. His wife and two daughters lived with him at a home some 20 miles outside of town – at the outbreak of the war, he sent them away to safety, so he was the only one that perished in the fire that was lit by the German soldiers at whom he had shot as they approached.

The first movement’s Modéré opening is moody and restless – the Allegro main section leaps out from it in a 12/8 chase through the orchestra. A lush counter subject follows and indeed, there is the sense of mercurial mood swings throughout. Themes recur in unexpected ways, and while the moods ebb and flow, there is never a sense of utter abandonment to emotion, and the movement ends quietly, almost unsurely. Strings initiate the Vif scherzo movement, the briefest of the four movements in the symphony. Its rhythms suggest a dance, but its middle section seems anachronistically from some ancient time, dominated by wind statements and one-note patterns. Strings and winds combine in the movement’s third and final section, with references to both preceding sections leading to yet another quiet and understated conclusion.

The long third movement begins directly out of material from the movement before, an extended song with three impassioned climaxes, the first of which appears as a tempest rising suddenly from a tranquil, if gloomy, sea. With that passed, woodwinds accompanied by swirling strings calm the eddying waters, though halfway through the movement the music cascades once again, this time more heroically. The music softens again, but now, it is with a sense of the pastoral – a contented countryside. The idyll is intruded upon by a final fortissimo, again noble and heroic, leading to a quiet, resolute finish. The final movement, Animé, begins in a whirlwind of activity and restlessness, out of which will eventually come a fugato made up of motifs from this potpourri. Above this activity, the brass present a sequence of declamatory statements, which will rise to the fore in the work’s concluding section, a grand and richly-scored climax, still leading (as with the preceding movements) to a quiet ending, an echo of the first movement’s last moments.

Program notes © 2016 by D.T. Baker, except as noted

Artist Info

Jean-Marie Zeitouni is recognized as one of the brightest conductors of his generation for his eloquent yet fiery style. He studied at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, and graduated in conducting, percussion, and composition. In addition to his duties as Artistic Director of the Orchestre de chambre I Musici de Montréal, Mr. Zeitouni is Music Director of the Colorado Music Festival. His résumé also includes stints as Music Director of the Columbus Symphony, the Opera as Theatre program at the Banff Centre, and as assistant conductor and chorus master of the Opéra de Montréal. While with the Violons du Roy, he was alternately Conductor in Residence, Assistant Conductor and Principal Guest Conductor.

Among the many Canadian symphony orchestras Jean-Marie Zeitouni has conducted are those of Montréal, Toronto, Quebec City, Calgary, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Halifax, Victoria, Kitchener-Waterloo and London, not to mention the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Arion Baroque Orchestra and Club musical de Québec. No stranger to the international stage, Mr. Zeitouni has conducted the symphony orchestras of Houston, Oregon, Monterey, San Antonio, Omaha, Honolulu, Huntsville, and Cincinnati, in addition to the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonique de Marseille, Xalapa Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony of Mexico, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Arco Ensemble, and Detroit Symphony. During the 2016-2017 season, Jean-Marie Zeitouni will be conducting the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra for the first time and also making his debut at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris. He will also be returning to the Orchestre national de Montpellier, Orchestre national de Lorraine de Metz, Pacific Symphony, and Oregon Symphony.

Mr. Zeitouni last appeared with the ESO in May 2015.


Behzod Abduraimov’s captivating performances continue to receive international praise. Recent seasons have seen Behzod work with leading orchestras worldwide, such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, NHK Symphony, and Leipzig Gewandhaus orchestras. Last season he made his debut with the Münchner Philharmoniker in their new 360 degree Festival and subsequently made his BBC Proms debut with them.  Upcoming European highlights include the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon, City of Birmingham Symphony, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester as part of the Elb Philharmonie opening, Bergen Philharmonic, and the Israel Philharmonic. In recital Mr. Abduraimov is one of the featured artists for the Junge Wilde series at the Konzerthaus Dortmund; he appears at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and returns to the Verbier Festival and La Roque d’Anthéron.

In North America, Behzod Abduraimov will perform in recital at the Stern Auditorium following his debut success at Carnegie Hall in 2015, as well as for the Cliburn Concerts, Carolina Performing Arts, the Vancouver Recital series, and concerts with Houston, Pittsburgh, Montréal, and Minnesota orchestras, amongst others. In 2017 he performs in Japan, Beijing, and Seoul, and also embarks upon a recital tour of Australia. An award-winning recording artist – his debut recital CD won both the Choc de Classica and the Diapason Découverte – Mr. Abduraimov released his first concerto disc in 2014 on Decca Classics which features Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No.3 and Tchaikovsky’s Concerto No.1 with the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai under Juraj Val?uha. Born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in 1990, Behzod began to play the piano at the age of five. He is an alumnus of Park University’s International Center for Music where he studied with Stanislav Ioudenitch, and now serves as the ICM’s artist-in-residence.

Mr. Abduraimov last appeared with the ESO in March 2015.

Venue Info

Enmax Hall, Winspear Centre
#4 Sir Winston Churchill Square
Edmonton, AB
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Getting Here

The Francis Winspear Centre for Music is on the corner of 102nd Avenue and 99th Street, in the heart of The Arts District in downtown Edmonton. It is readily accessible by car, Edmonton Transit (bus and LRT), and the Pedway system.

The City of Edmonton provides over 1500 convenient parking stalls within a 5-minute walk from Winspear Centre, The Citadel Theatre and Shaw Conference Centre. The Library, Canada Place and City Hall Parkades provide heated underground parking with pedway connections to the event venues. Parking is also available at on-street meters in the vicinity.

 

Accessibility

Nearly every level of the Winspear Centre is able to accommodate patrons with wheelchairs. Please advise our Box Office staff when you purchase your tickets that access to wheelchair seating will be necessary.

The Winspear Centre can provide an assistive listening device if you require one. Please visit the concierge desk in the main lobby.

 

Dining Near the Winspear

The Winspear Centre's downtown location is ideally situated for some of the best dining experiences Edmonton has to offer. Whether you're seeking dinner before the show or a late night treat after, you can find it at one of these restaurants located within a few blocks of the Winspear Centre.

 

At the Event

What to Wear
For some, an event at a world-class facility like the Winspear Centre is a great excuse to dress to the nines. But it’s hardly necessary. If that’s your style – go for it! If it’s not – hey, you paid for the ticket, so do what makes you feel comfortable. You’ll see a wide range of dress, from casual to pretty classy, depending on the kind of event it is. Business casual is probably a great middle ground for most Edmonton Symphony Orchestra concerts.

Perfume & Scents
In consideration to your fellow patrons who may have sensitivities or allergies to scented products, we ask that you use such products with great discretion. If, as a patron, you experience difficulty due to another patron’s use of fragrance, please alert our front of house staff, who will do everything possible to accommodate you.

Food & Beverage
The Winspear Centre has a number of stations in operation pre-show and during intermission. Bars, coffee bars, dessert stations and a martini bar are waiting for you. A good bet for intermission is to pre-order your drink before the show, and it will be waiting for you, so you can avoid lining up during the break.

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