Haydn / Beethoven, Kent Nagano
Californian-born Kent Nagano is set to conduct the highly regarded Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano e Trento at Venice's prestigious Gran Teatro La Fenice. The acclaimed maestro will take to the Venetian stage to conduct Franz Joseph Haydn's Symphony Concertante B-dur for Oboe, Bassoon, Violin, Cello and Orchestra (Hob:I:105) followed by a rendition of Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No.2 (Op. 36). The orchestra he will take charge of was founded in 1960 and is noted for its interpretations of a wide range of classical music, especially Haydn's work, for which it is particularly well-known.
Opening the concert, Haydn's Symphony Concertante is mainly performed by a quartet of musicians. Written by the famous Austrian composer while he was in London, the premier of the work was staged in March 1792. Haydn's score expands on the intricate sound of the solo group – made up of two stringed instruments and two woodwind ones – with further instrumentation. Strings, oboes and bassoons feature alongside timpani, trumpets, horns and a flute are all added to the mix. The work is split into three distinct movements with a spirited finale.
By contrast, Beethoven's Second Symphony is arranged in four movements. The work was first performed in Vienna in the spring of 1803 and is primarily in the key of D major. That said, the first movement features a section in B-flat major before returning to the home key. The second movement is a slow symphonic work in A major but the pace picks up again for the third and fourth movements, both in D major once more. The symphony makes use of several different time signatures and is considered by many musicologists to be the final work of Beethoven's so-called early period.
The concert's conductor, Kent Nagano, served as the Music Director of the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra between 1978 and 2009. A holder of three honorary doctorates, Nagano has worked at the Hamburg State Opera as its General Music Director since 2015. He is also the Chief Conductor of the Philharmonic State Orchestra Hamburg. His recordings include a complete set of all of Beethoven's symphonies that he made for Sony Classical/Analekta in 2015.
Given the wonderful venue, Venice's premier opera house, an acclaimed American conductor and such an interesting programme, this concert is likely to be a big hit among fans of classical music.