An all-Beethoven program is being presented by the Tucson Symphony MasterWorks Chamber Orchestra at three performances in the Northwest March 5-7.
George Hanson, Tucson Symphony Orchestra music director and conductor, leads the orchestra at 8 p.m. Friday, March 5 at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church on Paseo del Norte; and on Saturday, March 6 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 7 at 2 p.m., both at Catalina Foothills High School.
The program, Beethoven³, will include the "Octet for Winds," "Grosse Fuge in B-flat major" and "Symphony No. 2."
Additional performances of Beethoven³ will be presented in Bisbee and Ajo.
Beethoven³ is followed by the TSO and TSO Chorus performing Beethoven's 9th Symphony, "Choral," on March 18, 19 and 21 at the Tucson Music Hall.
"These three wonderful works, by one of the greatest composers in history, give us a great chance to get ready to hear Beethoven's greatest work, his Symphony No. 9," Hanson said. "It also provides an opportunity to meet our TSO players, up close and personal: The Octet features our wind players, and the 'Great Fugue' features the strings.
"Symphony No. 2 is full of wit and humor, worlds apart from Symphony No. 9," Hanson said. "Hearing both symphonies this month allows us to understand how Beethoven bridged both the classical and romantic eras."
Beethoven was coming to terms with his deafness when he composed the Symphony No. 2 in 1802 in the village of Heiligenstadt. At age 32, he was beginning to realize that the condition might be incurable. Still he was able to conduct the premiere of the work the next year in Vienna.
The Octet for Winds was written even earlier, when he was still a student of Franz Joseph Haydn, but the Grosse Fuge was not composed until the year before he died. "It is still regarded with reverence for its enduring freshness and technical challenges," Hanson said. "Stravinsky called it 'an absolutely contemporary piece of music that will be contemporary forever.'"
The MasterWorks Chamber Orchestra Series receives generous support from Drs. John P. and Helen S. Schaefer.
Saturday, March 6 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 7 at 2 p.m., both at Catalina Foothills High School.
Single tickets, priced at $30 to $40, are available at the Tucson Symphony Orchestra Box Office located at 2175 N. Sixth Avenue, or by phone at 882-8585. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.tucsonsymphony.org.
For tickets to the Friday, March 5 Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance presentation at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, 7575 N. Paseo del Norte, Oro Valley, visit www.saaca.org or call 797-3959 ext. 2.