Beethoven / Brahms, Myung-Whun Chung
Myung-Whun Chung, the world-famous South Korean pianist and conductor, will perform at the Teatro Malibran for two nights only in March. On Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd, the maestro will conduct and perform with the Teatro La Fenice orchestra at one of Venice's most prestigious venues which dates back to the 17th century. In fact, the Malibran Theatre was built to replace the former residence of Marco Polo. Designed by Tommaso Bezzi, the theatre has a rich history and is an atmospheric auditorium in which to enjoy some of the most fascinating music in both Beethoven's and Brahms' repertoire.
The programme opens with Beethoven's Concerto for piano, violin, cello and orchestra in C major op. 56. Often simply referred to as the Triple Concerto, this piece was written, in part, to demonstrate the musical possibilities of the piano in a wider orchestral setting since, at the time, the instrument was beginning to supplant the harpsichord. It premiered in May 1807 but is not thought to have been performed much during the great composer's lifetime.
Brahms' Fourth Symphony in E minor op. 98 follows. First performed in 1885, this is the final symphonic work that the German composer wrote. Split into four movements, the opening and closing ones are the only two that stick to the signature key of E minor. Brahms changes the mood in the second movement with a moderately paced section in E major. The music then speeds up for the third movement with a lively period spent in C major before returning to E minor for the finale.
Born in 1953, Myung-Whun Chung studied at the Mannes School and Juilliard School in New York in the 1970s before embarking on a stellar career. Among other achievements, he has served as the Music Director of the Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Music Director of the Opéra de Paris-Bastille and the Principal Conductor of the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. He is also the Honorary Conductor Laureate for the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.
Anyone visiting Venice while these concerts are taking place should consider attending. Not only is the Malibran Theatre worthy of a visit in its own right but the carefully selected programme combined with such an illustrious conductor and pianist will surely mean that both performances are likely to live long in the memory.