Berio / Beethoven, Alpesh Chauhan
British conductor Alpesh Chauhan started out on the cello, but a stint at the CBSO Youth Orchestra opened his way to conducting. After several masterclasses, he earned a conducting degree from the Royal Northern College of Music. His international engagements include the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, where he acts as principal guest conductor, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, where he is associate conductor, and the Birmingham Opera Company that is lucky to have him as music director. At Teatro Malibran in Venice, Chauhan leads the La Fenice orchestra through two very different but similarly exciting works. Rendering by Luciano Berio impresses with its neoclassical quality. Symphony No 5 in C Minor, Op 67 by Ludwig van Beethoven follows with all its well-earned fame and brings the performance to a bombastic finale.
Luciano Berio based his work Rendering on the unfinished Symphony No 10 by Franz Schubert. Even though he kept all of Schubert’s original parts, he intended for Rendering to be a complete work in its own right and not merely a completion of another’s music. A two-movement version debuted in performance by Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw Orchestra in 1989. Berio then added a third movement in 1990, arriving at Rendering’s final form. By following Schubert's fragmentary score closely and embracing the missing segments in it, the Italian composer brought a whole new musical dimension into existence that feels bold and fresh. Thanks to multiple recordings and regular performances, Rendering remains a cult favourite.
Symphony No 5 by Ludwig van Beethoven hardly needs an introduction. Its famous opening theme is known around the world, and it perfectly embodies the symphony’s title – ‘the Fate Symphony’ or ‘Schicksals-Sinfonie’ in German. Beethoven began sketching out his Fifth in 1804, but other projects continually distracted him for the next few years. By 1808, however, the composer had found the time to complete the work alongside Symphony No 6. Both symphonies were premiered in a stunning grand performance on 22 December 1808 at Vienna’s Theater an der Wien, which also featured a piano concerto and excerpts from Beethoven’s Mass in C. At Teatro Malibran, Berio’s and Beethoven’s masterpieces do not fail to impress, also thanks to the astute leadership of Alpesh Chauhan.