Beethoven 250: Victoria getting ready to celebrate

Victoria Symphony to play all nine of the composer’s symphonies during March birthday celebrations

Whether you’re a longtime admirer of the works of German composer Ludwig Von Beethoven, or simply know his iconic Symphony No. 5 with its simple, yet powerful four-note opening motif, it’s hard to refute his impact on the world of classical music.

As such, the Victoria Symphony is one of many groups worldwide this year celebrating Beethoven 250, which marks the 250th anniversary of his birth in Bonn. It will perform all nine of his symphonies in a series of four programs – five performances – in March at the Farquhar Auditorium at UVic.

Maestro Christian Kluxen, who has programmed a significant number of Beethoven compositions into the symphony’s repertoire since his arrival in 2016, says more than simply playing some of the composer’s most famous works, the performances will spotlight the Victoria Symphony’s approach to the music.

“It’s a great way to show our audience how we play Beethoven, and I think it’s a great way to show that Beethoven has become a very important part of the orchestra’s repertoire (in recent years),” Kluxen says. “I would say in all humility that we have our own style of doing it, and the Beethoven 250th anniversary seems like a good year to show it off.”

The series begins Saturday, March 7 (8 p.m.) with the Fifth and Third symphonies.

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Legend has it that when asked about the first four notes of his Symphony No. 5 in C minor, the composer was said to have replied, “This is the sound of fate knocking at the door.” While the veracity of the quote is questioned by Beethoven experts, the long-lasting impact of this piece of music is undeniable.

Nor surprisingly, tickets for the first instalment in Beethoven 250, featuring what Kluxen calls “two of his bigger symphonies,” were selling quickly at the time of this writing.

Here’s the rest of the schedule:

Thursday, March 12 (8 p.m.) – Symphonies No. 2, No. 4 and No. 7

Sunday, March 15 (2:30 p.m.) – Symphonies No. 6 and No. 8

Sunday, March 22 (2:30 p.m.) and Monday, March 23 (8 p.m.) – Symphonies No. 1 and No. 9

While the Farquhar doesn’t possess the old-world charm and character of the Royal Theatre, it has equally good, if not slightly better acoustics for the listener. Says Kluxen: “It’s a great hall and it’s always a good atmosphere. We have always had good experiences and good concerts there.”

Beethoven’s music is played all over the world – even in space, Kluxen jokes. While the composer’s beautiful and moving piano concertos won’t be played in this series, the symphony maestro encourages people who love or have a curiosity about classical music to check out Victoria’s contribution to Beethoven 250 celebrations.

”I think it’s an important event that Victoria audiences shouldn’t be left out of,” he says.

For tickets and other information, visit victoriasymphony.ca/concerts or call 250-385-6815.



editor@mondaymag.com

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