Beethoven’s 250th birthday, in December 2020, is being marked around the world in 2020 and in 2021. This Home Delivery is a fascinating listen to the NAC Orchestra over its 50 years of music making—you’ll hear 2 (or 3 or 4!) distinctly different ensembles—but with an identifiable “DNA” coursing through the Orchestra’s sound. The selections are from concerts in 1971, 1983, 2000 and 2012.
A rare listen starts the concert off: the legendary Chilean pianist Claudio Arrau, performing Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto, in a 1971 concert with Mario Bernardi. Franco Mannino’s connection with the players was electric, as is their performance together of Beethoven’s iconic Symphony No. 5. Then Pinchas Zukerman performs Beethoven’s Second Romance for Violin, a perfect gem, in the hands of one of the world’s finest violinists. And we conclude with Beethoven’s lush, vivid “Pastorale” Symphony No. 6, which was Alexander Shelley’s first Beethoven on the podium with the Orchestra, as a guest conductor, in 2012. The musicians of the NAC Orchestra listen as though this were chamber music; this is their hallmark, and even fifty years later, it is still impressive!
"The music of Beethoven is central to the life of musicians and audiences. Over the course of his nine masterpieces, Beethoven evolved not just his own music, but revolutionized all of music in a way and at a pace hitherto unprecedented. From the classical strains of his first to the universal themes of his last, there is not a single note out of place, not a single bar wasted, not a single idea unexplored. He challenges the orchestra to be its best. He demands rigour and attention of performers and listeners alike. And why? In order to express, through the abstract language of music, the most fundamental and tangible shared emotions of humankind. Joy, passion, warmth, mourning, hope, loss, melancholy, peace, victory, struggle, solidarity, desperation, reverence, simplicity… I cannot think of a state of mind that is not in one way or another expressed through this music."