This year the RTS Symphony Orchestra will participate in marking the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, one of the greats of the classicism epoch. Some of the most significant pieces from this creator’s opus – Overture to Egmont, Symphony No. 1 and Symphony No. 5 will be performed At the February 1st concert, which will be held at the Great Hall of the Ilija M. Kolarac Endowment with an 8 pm start. The audience will get the opportunity to hear these compositions in arrangements for string orchestra, produced by prominent violinist Sreten Krstić, with this artist performing at the concert as a concertmaster.
Along with the Concerto for piano and orchestra No. 5 and Symphony No. 3, best known by its name “Eroica”, the Overture to Egmont represents the crown of the second period of Beethoven’s creation, a time when he was obsessed with the theme of heroism. Egmont holds a special place in this opus consisting of eleven overtures, written between year 1800 and year 1812. Here Beethoven follows a specific program content, as in most of his overtures and other symphonic pieces, and even piano sonatas. It was composed as a stage music segment for Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s tragedy by the same name. This mood isn’t difficult to recognize in the Egmont overture either. In Beethoven’s creative imagination the tragic destiny of the leader of oppressed Flemish people in the second part of the 16th century evoked the picture of a hero, convinced in the victory of his ideals, walking up to the scaffold with his head held high. After the Heiligenstadt Testament no one could understand the true meaning of Egmont’s fight better than Beethoven, and nothing speaks more convincingly of the most intimate notional life of Beethoven the democrat, son of the epoch of the great French Bourgeois revolution other than the gloating, victorious overture coda dedicated to the character of a man who was defeated but stayed as a winner believing in the future of his people.
Beethoven worked on his first symphonic piece, Symphony No. 1, for ten full years. His desire was to write music for Schiller’s Ode to Joy, but the realization of that idea would have to wait for Symphony No. 9, which he completed in year 1823. Symphony No. 1 was completed in year 1797. With this piece Beethoven had significantly brought attention to himself as a creator. It was created under the influence of Joseph Haydn. The Viennese critics at that time had found it heavy and overburdened with notes, but subsequent symphonic works would confute these conclusions. It is dedicated to Baron Gottfried van Swieten, one of the first of Beethoven’s patrons.
Symphony No. 5 is one of the most famous pieces of classical music in general and one of the most frequently performed Ludwig van Beethoven symphonies. The piece is full of dramatic tension, it is powerful and suggestive, and recognizable by the main theme of the first movement, a four-note motif. “This is fate knocking at the door”, is what Beethoven, who hated the power of fate and subdued everything to his will, had noted down. This was, in fact, another one of those pieces in which Beethoven had written about the fight for affirmation of human personality in the light of the forces restraining him, of the fight for freedom of mankind, not of the individual.