ALBANY — The Albany Symphony is to present a Beethoven Birthday Bash, which will include two of the composer’s breakthrough works, along with wonderful recent works by Viet Cuong and Michael Torke, to celebrate the legendary composer’s 250th birthday tonight, Dec. 12, at 7:30 p.m.
The event will be streamed live from Universal Preservation Hall in Saratoga Springs.
The Albany Symphony has worked through the fall to create virtual concert experiences that come as close as possible to the excitement and joy of the live concert hall experience. Real-time live-streamed concerts are a significant technical and artistic undertaking, but the Albany Symphony has risen to the challenge while also embracing the health and safety protocols needed to protect its musicians and stage technicians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are so happy that we are able to provide concert presentations in real-time that recreate the atmosphere of the concert hall in the homes of our subscribers and listeners. We want to thank our brilliant musicians and staff for their hard work, and our audience members for their support, as we continue to create memorable musical experiences,” said Music Director David Alan Miller.
The Beethoven Birthday Bash program celebrates the composer’s 250th birthday and features the blossoming of the young Beethoven’s genius: The Overture & Finale to his ballet, The Creatures of Prometheus and his path-breaking Symphony No. 1. “We dedicate this season to celebrating composers whose artistry and creativity reflect their triumph over adversity. This is more true of Beethoven than of any other composer in history,” said Miller.
Beethoven composed The Creatures of Prometheus in 1801 for a ballet by the great dancer and choreographer, Salvatore Vigano. Premiered in Vienna, it was performed in New York in 1808 and was one of the first full-length works by Beethoven to be performed in the United States. The concert concludes with Symphony No. 1. The symphony pays homage to Beethoven’s teacher, Franz Joseph Haydn, and is dedicated to Baron Gottfried van Swieten, an early patron of the composer.
The evening includes Michael Torke’s Ash, composed in 1988 and greatly influenced by the sound-world and profound rhythmic intensity of Beethoven’s music. Ash was turned into a ballet, and became a standard work in the repertoire of the NYC Ballet at Lincoln Center. According to Gramophone, “Ash is one of the most remarkable orchestral works to have emerged from America in recent years. Sounding like a disembodied torso from a classical symphony…it assails one’s senses with its power and audacity.” The Albany Symphony and Miller have regularly championed Torke’s work; their recording of Torke’s Sky was nominated for a 2020 Grammy.
The 2020-2021 season continues through the American Music Festival in June. Concerts will be live and virtual with the ability to purchase access online at http://www.albanysymphony.com or by calling the Albany Symphony Box Office at 518-694-3300.