Pastoral: Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony

Date(s) - May 19, 2019
2:00 pm

Lesher Center for the Arts
1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek

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In our final concert of the 2018-2019 season, we celebrate our natural world with two masterworks: Beethoven’s glorious Pastoral Symphony, and the world premiere of a new work by rising Iranian composer Aida Shirazi.

Beethoven’s love of nature and strolling through the countryside inspired his sixth symphony – one of the only works he intentionally set out to write as “program music”, music meant to portray a specific scene. Beethoven’s music succeeds brilliantly in portraying the countryside – painting scenes of a babbling brook, rustic dancers, a terrifying storm, and shepherds singing hymns. In a similar vein, Aida Shirazi’s new work Ardea Alba is inspired by her encounter with a snowy white egret, featuring the orchestra instruments played in new and creative ways; Shirazi’s work has been described as “well-made” and “affecting” by the New Yorker, and “unusually creative” by San Francisco Classical Voice.

Our concert master Sara Usher and guest artist Dawn Harms will also perform J. S. Bach’s double violin concerto. The “Bach Double” features some of the finest writing in the Baroque concerto style, and has been perennially popular both for the dramatic interplay between soloists and orchestra in the fast movements, as well as its soaring lyricism in the slow movement.

Shirazi – New work: Ardea Alba (world permiere)
Bach – Concerto for Two Violins
Beethoven – Symphony No. 6 (“Pastoral”)