May 20th - 7pm, St Mary in the Castle
7 Pelham Cres, Hastings TN34 3AF

Brahms – Symphony n.2
Beethoven – Choral Fantasy op. 80
Beethoven – Egmont Overture


The Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73, was composed by Johannes Brahms in the summer of 1877, during a visit to Pörtschach am Wörthersee, a town in the Austrian province of Carinthia. Its composition was brief in comparison with the fifteen years it took Brahms to complete his First Symphony. The cheery and almost pastoral mood of the symphony often invites comparisons with Beethoven's Sixth Symphony, but, perhaps mischievously, Brahms wrote to his publisher on November 22, 1877, that the symphony 'is so melancholy that you will not be able to bear it. I have never written anything so sad, and the score must come out in mourning'.

Egmont Overture 
As the musicologist Paul Mies has remarked, heroism was close to Beethoven’s own personality and it was a major concern of his times. It is not surprising then, that in his comparatively rare forays into music for the theatre Beethoven proved most attracted to protagonists who dared much against repressive forces.
Egmont would certainly be a case in point. In 1809 Beethoven was commissioned to compose incidental music for the belated Vienna premiere of the play by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1754-1832). This was Goethe’s free interpretation of the titular Count Egmont’s 16th-century struggle for Dutch liberty against the autocratic imperial rule of Spain. Egmont is imprisoned and sentenced to death, and when Klärchen, his mistress, fails to free him, she commits suicide. Before his own death, Egmont delivers a rousing speech and his execution becomes a victorious martyrdom in a fight against oppression.
Beethoven’s incidental music begins with a powerful, strikingly original overture that summarizes the course of the drama, from its ominous slow introduction (suggesting the oppressive tread of Spain with the rhythm of the sarabande) to the manic transformation of tragedy into triumph in a brilliant coda, which Beethoven echoed at the end of the play as a Victory Symphony. (Beethoven conducted the Overture in another charity concert in Vienna in March 1814, coupled with Wellington’s Victory.)

​Tickets:£22.50 (stalls), £17.50 (gallery)

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