The sixth concert of the first RSO Festival
Alexei Lubimov & Olga Pashchenko, fortepiano
Finnish Baroque Orchestra
At the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, the Zeitgeist or the spirit of the time, was seething. The French Revolution and its aftermath had shaken Europe thoroughly, and the arts were forced to renew themselves. For centuries, a storming expression foreshadowing Romanticism had existed alongside the balance-seeking Classicism, and now it emerged as a movement that emphasized the freedom and creativity of the arts. Ludwig van Beethoven was the key composer during the birth of the Romantic era, and he can even be considered the most influential individual in the whole history of Western music. However, Beethoven was not alone. The concept of Zeitgeist included the idea that the world was affected more by the ideals of the era than by powerful men. When crystallised into a transforming energy, the ideals would be conveyed to actions and the arts.
The theme of the first RSO Festival is Beethoven. In its guest concert, the Finnish Baroque Orchestra presents the young Beethoven in the context of Europe of his time, side by side with other composers who epitomised the spirit of the time. The concert will culminate in Beethoven’s Second Symphony (1802), which challenges the Classic tradition with its wry complexity, scope and lively energy.
Joseph Martin Kraus, born in Germany but a long-time resident of Sweden, made the court in Stockholm into a major cultural centre. The composer, stylistically before his time, was especially known for his operas and stage plays like Olympie (1792), from which we will hear the overture. The cosmopolite Czech Jan Ladislav Dussek, born Jan Václav Dusík, was a sort of early-Romanticist Liszt, an internationally touring pianist super star who composed piano music that predicted the Romantic era. Dussek’s double piano concert, or the Sinfonia Concertante for Two Pianos and Orchestra, completed around 1806, reflects his original concert style. It is possible that Beethoven was inspired by Dussek’s music.
Duration: 1 h 40 min (incl. intermission)