Omega Ensemble’s next performance is not a rendition of the Bette Midler tear-jerker, but Beethoven’s Seventh. With a 9-piece Wind Ensemble, this arrangement is certainly a unique and complex rendition of the timeless masterpiece. The performance will feature two Oboes, two Clarinets, two French Horns, two Bassoons and a Contabasson. That’s certainly a lot of wind. David Rowden, Omega Ensemble's artistic director talks a little about what makes Beethoven so popular with classical music lovers.
Some lovers of classical music consider the second movement of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony to be one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written. In their second concert of the Virtuoso series at the City Recital Hall, Omega will perform a chamber arrangement of Beethoven’s iconic 7th Symphony in A Major, op.92. The work was premiered with Beethoven himself conducting in Vienna on 8 December 1813 at a charity concert for soldiers wounded in the Battle of Hanau. This work was so popular that an encore of the Allegretto movement was demanded after the first performance. With it’s pulsing statement the Allegretto begins with a processional that provides a rhythmic framework that underlies the work. This is also a poignant symphony in that it was the last time Beethoven conducted his own music before went completely deaf.
The sense of yearning in the Allegretto movement can be felt the music unfolds. Given that a repeat encore was required the work must have been very popular and of course audiences wanted to play it in their own homes (but of course there were no gramophones then, only sheet music and instruments) and so during Beethoven’s time it was not at all unusual for chamber music arrangements (and four handed piano arrangements) to be made of symphonies and other large scale works so that audiences could play them with friends in their own homes (there was also considerable commercial appeal for the composer who could make a few extra dollars by selling these arrangements through his publisher at the time). The chamber music arrangements offer a more intimate exploration of the work and with less musicians on the stage you can visually see the music unfolding and developing. It’s certainly a rare treat to hear these arrangements performed.
As the artistic director, David Rowden curates the Ensemble required for each performance selecting the finest musicians. This performance requires symphonic wind. David Rowden and John Lewis with their clarinets, Alex Fontaine and Matthew Bubb with their oboes, Ben Hoadley and Simone Walters with their bassoons, Michael Dixon and Phil Wilson with their French Horns and Melissa Woodroffe with her contrabassoon.
True to their vision of enriching lives through a deeper understanding of music, Omega Ensemble will perform two lesser known pieces, Gounod’s Petite Symphonie and Spohr’s Grand Nonette, which marry well with the romantic nature of the great classic finale of Beethoven.
The concert is on Monday 11 July at 7.30pm at the City Recital Hall. We invite you to join us on this breathtaking musical journey.
Bookings: online at cityrecitalhall.com or call the Box Office on (02) 8256 2222.
Remember, Omega Ensemble rely heavily on the generosity of those who are passionate about their music. All donations supporting Omega Ensemble are tax-deductable. Right now, Omega Ensemble is also offering it’s patrons, old and new, the chance to have Omega Ensemble come to your home and perform an exclusive private concert. You too can experience the thrill of having some of history’s finest chamber music performed in the comfort of your own home: Find out more.
Don’t forget you can also enjoy Omega in your own home via their Digital Concert Hall.
We hope to see you at the next Omega concert, enjoying the music of Beethoven’s Symphony No.7 at City Recital Hall on 11 July.