by MATT MOLINAR//Opinion Editor
The beautiful sounds of the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra have returned for a new season of illustrious music from the most famed composers.
The LSO featured two amazing artists creating work a century apart at the first performance of the 70th anniversary season on Oct. 7 and Oct. 8 at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center.
Directed by David In-Jae Cho, the symphony began the performance with one of Beethoven’s most recognized works, Overture to “The Creatures of Prometheus.” Being an ex-oboe player, I really appreciated the prominent sound Amy Anderson, principle oboeist, produced during the opening of the first movement. I had goosebumps every time I heard the beautiful, piercing sound of the oboe. The solemn beginning was followed by a faster, more energetic theme.
Beethoven wrote the piece as a ballet with a heroic theme. The ballet was based on the Greek myth, “Prometheus.” The ballet included 15 dance numbers, along with an overture, an introduction, as well as a finale. Beethoven believed that the choreography of the ballet did not highlight the heroic aspects of Prometheus.
The next selection performed was the suite from “Appalachian Spring,” by Aaron Copland, which was arranged for a full orchestra. The suite contains eight movements, each varying in tempo. Another ballet, “Appalachian Spring” has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for music and the Music Critics Circle of New York Award. Copland was a great admirer of Choreographer Martha Graham, writing the ballet in commission received by her.
In the music, depicted is a pioneer celebrating near his newly built farmhouse in Pennsylvania, even though the suite is titled “Appalachian Spring,” during the 1800’s. Also depicted is the pioneer with his fiancé and their newly blossoming life. Tension in the music begins to rise as human fate is introduced to the couple. But the tension is relieved at the end of the suite as the couple is reassured of their bond.
After intermission ended, what I believe to be Beethoven’s most famous symphony was introduced and performed. The themes and sounds displayed in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 in Eb Major, Op. 55, “Eroica,” was what many believe to be a huge step forward in the classical music industry and has been presented as the greatest symphony of all time by the BBC Music Magazine.
Beethoven dedicated the work to Napoleon Bonaparte. However, as depicted by the scratches on the face of Bonaparte on the event program, Beethoven removed the dedication once Napoleon crowned himself as emperor. The dedication was later changed to “Heroic Symphony to celebrate the memory of a great man.”
Traditionally, composers would begin a symphony with a slow introduction. Beethoven begins with beautiful lyrical styles and solid rhythms. Many of the moments in this symphony will surprise you, leaving your ears tickled.
The well known “Eroica” theme that has been stuck in my head since my junior high school days appears often in different passages in the first movement, coming from all corners of the orchestra.
The second movement is a funeral march called “Marcia funebre: Adagio assai.” The theme of the movement is despair, but the music later leads you into a feeling of hope, preparing us for the third movement, titled “Scherzo: Allegro vivace.”
The third movement sends a relaxed energy that follows the intense themes from the two previous movements. Again, the “Eroica” theme is re-introduced by various instruments.
The fourth movement, and the one that made me fall in love with the work all over again, began with pizzicato strings, which basically means the strings on the instrument are plucked, instead of played normally. This song became the foundation for the first suite played, “The Creatures of Prometheus.”
After bows were made, I did not want the concert to be over. I enjoyed every second of the performance and anticipate attending the next one scheduled for Nov. 11 and Nov. 12.