Scott Speck, conductor
Anthony Trionfo, flutist
Flutist Anthony Trionfo will astound with his stunning skill in Lieberman’s dazzling showcase of a flute concerto, and we include Beethoven’s overture from The Creatures of Prometheus and his charming and beautiful “Pastoral” Symphony.
Music Director Scott Speck Discusses the Concert:
A ‘Happy’ Pastorale Symphony
“Among all of Beethoven’s symphonies, the Pastorale stands out. It’s by far Beethoven’s most serene symphony, for he was never as content as when he could escape the stresses of the city for the lovely countryside. It’s his only symphony that is programmatic – that is, it tells a story, with delightful scenes in the countryside, including actual birdcalls. And it’s Beethoven’s only symphony with five movements -– practically unique in the world of orchestral music up to that point.
Partly because of the pastoral theme (and nickname), many performances of this piece are slow and languid, almost to the point of boredom. And based on the recordings I heard as a kid, I have to admit that this Beethoven symphony took me the longest to warm up to. It was only in looking at the score itself, the lively evocation of “happy feelings” (Beethoven’s own words in the subtitle to his first movement), that I realized it could be different. The scene he’s describing may be peaceful, but this peace made Beethoven’s heart race with joy. This music could be both relaxing and invigorating.
I’ll never forget the time I was driving in Mobile, tuned my car radio to WHIL, and heard a performance of the Pastorale in progress. At first I was ready to change the station, but something made me keep listening. The performance had a lovely flow, and inexorable momentum in fact. After a minute I said to myself, “This isn’t bad at all. I agree with this performance.” My grudging admiration turned to excitement – so much so that I pulled off to the side of the road and sat there mesmerized for another 20 minutes. By the thrilling conclusion I was wide-eyed with appreciation for a rare, wonderful rendition that I could truly embrace. Then the announcer came on: “That was Beethoven’s Pastorale, performed by the Mobile Symphony Orchestra.” – Scott Speck
The Mary Josephine Larkins Foundation
Friends of Mobile Symphony
The presentation of Concerto for Flute and Orchestra, Op. 39 is made possible by a generous donation to MSO’s Symphonic Innovations Fund