Live Music: CSO plays Beethoven’s 2nd Symphony

We’ve been wanting to see a classical music performance for a while now. Tonight we finally made our way to Boettcher Concert Hall in Denver to hear the Colorado Symphony Orchestra play this program:

Mozart Concerto for Flute and Harp in C major
Schubert Konzertstueck in D major for Violin and Orchestra
Kreisler Caprice Viennois, Tambourin Chinois, Liebesleid, Liebesfreud
Beethoven Symphony No. 2 in D major

Our seats were in Mezzanine 1, behind the orchestra. The sound may have been slightly dampened, but overall we were happy with these inexpensive seats. I was close enough to see the cellists’ fingerings.

I found the Mozart concerto a little showy and light, but the harp-flute combination was interesting. My appreciation for the harp was expanded by the complex and intricate solos played by Pamela Endsley. The Schubert piece was a little more bold and appealing to me, even with the solos on violin. YuMi Hwang-Williams ripped it up on the violin in this piece and all the following Kreisler pieces. They were short and engaging. Some passages really transported me, conjuring up images of dark undercurrents at a turn-of-the-century dinner party on a sea liner off the coast of Hong Kong. Or, maybe I just have an overactive imagination.

I would have been disappointed with Beethoven’s symphony if I hadn’t attended the pre-concert lecture on it. The stormy, convention-breaking drama of his later symphonies is only hinted at in the 2nd. This symphony still raised controversy with its non-minuet 3rd movement and frenetic 4th. Beethoven was just realizing that he would soon go deaf when he composed this, and I imagined I heard some denial and dwelling on better days in the piece.

I’m already eagerly anticipating seeing a performance of Rachmaninoff’s 3rd piano concerto in May. During the intermission we asked some of the ushers how the piano would be arranged, so we can try to pick seats with a view of the keyboard.

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