After the rush, stress and frenzy of Christmas parties, gatherings and giftings, followed by the New Year’s Eve partying, it’s time to find something to do that’s stress-free, relaxing and satisfying. You probably don’t want to bar hop on Broadway or party hearty in a mosh pit, not this time, anyway. Most likely, you’d rather sit back in a comfy seat with a glass of wine in your hand, close your eyes and just let Beethoven rock your insides; no energy from you required. So, maybe Beethoven won’t be there in person (in spirit, perhaps?) but you will feel up close and personal with the young maestro as you emerge yourself into the world of Beethoven’s Seventh with the Nashville Symphony and conductor Johannes Dubus, featuring violinist Caroline Goulding. What makes this concert even better is that tickets only start at $25 and you have three nights to choose from, 7 p.m. Thursday, January 8, 8 p.m. Friday, January 9 or 8 p.m. Saturday, January 10.
Part of the Aegis Sciences Classical Series, Beethoven’s Seventh is quite the diverse program which includes an intimate chamber piece by Richard Wagner written in 1870 to serenade his wife Cosima, which is, in this writer’s humble opinion, a lost art. The second piece of the evening is Mozart – Violin Concerto No. 5, which is a piece written when the musical mastermind was only 19 years old. This was the last of Mozart’s five violin concertos and the most loved, using a smaller orchestra consisting of two oboes, two horns and strings, a customary practice in the Maestro’s day. For the main event of the evening, you will be listening to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, a boldly striking piece that is considered one of his masterpieces. Or, as Beethoven himself put it, “one of the happiest products of my poor talents.” The genius must have been speaking in terms of his monetary compensation, because there was certainly nothing short richness beyond wealth in terms of the worth of his talent. In this Symphony, listen for the simple elements that make up the complexity of the piece, where the master engineered the music from simple patterns of rhythm, using scales and three-part chords, or triads, as the musical theme. And look for the stage arrangement, which is done in a traditional German seating configuration. The first violins, cellos, violas and second violins are at the front of the stage arranged left to right, with the basses positioned behind the cellos. Haven’t you wondered why, at different concerts or between pieces, the stage arrangement is put into a different layout? It’s to create particular sound effects, kind of like you would choose in your stereo equalizer. For instance, have you ever sat in your backyard listening to a bird in one tree call out in his beautiful song and a bird in another tree far aways responds? It’s not an echo but like hearing them in stereo? In this onstage instance, the arrangement of the seating/instruments creates a stereophonic effect with the first and second violins playing their parts across the stage in the same kind of call and respond sound, with the lower strings, positioned at the center of the stage, producing a deep, richly resonant sound. In the typical Nashville Symphony performance, the first and second violins are adjacent to each other on the left side of the stage, the cellos and basses being on the right side. So, that’s your assignment for January, buy a ticket, listen, look and RELAX!