Beethoven / Strauss, Robert Trevino
Robert Trevino is an American conductor whose international roots run deep. He is the Basque National Orchestra’s musical director, the RAI National Symphony Orchestra’s principal guest conductor, and the Malmö Symphony Orchestra’s advisor, among other positions of note. At Gran Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Trevino leads the house orchestra through two landmark classical works: Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No 6 in F Major, Op. 68, ‘Pastorale’ and Richard Strauss’s tonal poem Also sprach Zarathurstra, Op. 30. The monumentality of the pieces is in line with the talent of the La Fenice orchestra and its guest conductor Trevino, making the performance one for the books.
Beethoven put his love of nature in music with his Symphony No 6, also known as ‘The Pastoral’. An avid hiker and fan of the countryside, he composed the symphony with a number of onomatopoeic themes and elements, such as thunderstorms, water flowing, a shepherd piping, and birdsongs. This ‘musical painting’ of sorts debuted at Theater an der Wien in Vienna on 22 December 1808, in a massive back-to-back performance together with Beethoven’s Fifth. Symphony No 6 has five movements as opposed to the traditional four, but the last three flow into one another without pauses and enhance the feeling of complete immersion into nature and country life.
Richard Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra (or Thus Spoke Zarathustra in English) is based on the philosophical novel of the same name by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Strauss conducted the inaugural performance in Frankfurt on 27 November 1896, which established the work as a staple in the orchestral repertoire. Thanks to the introduction’s prominent place in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick, Also sprach Zarathustra quickly entered the mainstream, too, but the piece is so much more than the brass fanfares and the timpani, to which many commonly reduce it. Strauss, fascinated by Nietzsche’s work, picked nine chapters he saw as essential to the character’s progress and thought, and he composed evocative, sophisticated music to match the philosophical developments described in the text. Thus, Robert Trevino and the Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice take audiences on a true celebration of music’s power to paint pictures and convey complex ideas.