Choral Fantasy

Grand Hall, Slovenian National Theatre Maribor

17. 9. 2020 at 19:30

SNG Maribor Symphony Orchestra and Choir
Conductor: Wolfgang Harrer
Choral director: Zsuzsa Budavari Novak

Nejc Kamplet, Piano
Rebeka Lokar, Soprano
Valentina Čuden, Soprano
Irena Petkova, Mezzo-soprano
Martin Sušnik, Tenor
Dušan Topolovec, Tenor
Jaki Jurgec, Baritone

Anton Lajovic: Pesem jeseni (Song of Autumn), lyric symphonic poem
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21
Ludwig van Beethoven: Fantasy (Fantasia) for piano, vocal soloists, chorus, and orchestra, Op. 80

A coproduction with SNG Maribor.

Imagine a four-hour portrait concert featuring a renowned contemporary composer where one can hear the premieres of two new symphonies, a piano concerto and a monumental work for all performers: orchestra, choir and vocal soloists, with the composer conducting and playing the piano. We can hardly imagine such an event taking place today. Beethoven, however, made sure that during those brief periods in the early 19th century when the Viennese attended concerts rather than opera performances, which were otherwise more popular, a representative evening of his compositions could still be heard. The task was not easy, he had to procure the generous patrons who funded the event as well as find a suitable venue and capable musicians. Such ambitious endeavours didn’t always turn out perfectly, not even at that historic concert on December 22, 1808, in Vienna’s Theater an der Wien. On that occasion, he presented a mammoth four-hour program which included the premieres of his 5th and 6th Symphonies, the 4th Piano Concerto and the Choral Fantasy, which was supposed to unite all the performers of the evening in dazzling style. Practically everything went wrong: the hall was not heated, the performers were poorly prepared and the crowning composition of the evening, the Choral Fantasy, remained unfinished. Beethoven played the solo piano role by entirely improvising his part. It’s no surprise, then, that the first reactions to his new pieces were anything but enthusiastic.

The Choral Fantasy was certainly the most unusual piece on the program. For most of its history, the work has been neglected and often labeled the “little sister” of the more famous Ninth Symphony, perhaps because it combines seemingly incompatible musical forms (piano concerto, symphony and cantata) into a fantastical work that expresses the composer’s lofty thoughts on art and humanity. Beethoven’s contemporaries later learned to appreciate the Fantasy, eventually considering it a “true autobiography of the artist” because of its representative message. Because of its exceptionally close kinship with the Ninth symphony both in terms of content and music, however, it is no surprise that the “big sister” ultimately completely overshadowed it. Nevertheless, the Choral Fantasy has its own charms, espousing happiness in love of art and using all the musical means the composer had at his disposal at the time. This message, extremely important for Beethoven, was later amplified and developed in the Ninth Symphony into the highest humanistic message - absolute love for all fellow humans.

We look forward to opening Festival Maribor 2020 with great hope and optimism with this event that, with faith in the love of fellow human beings and with the conviction that a love of art goes hand in hand with the capacity for sincere compassion, celebrates the power of music and love!

* Tickets: 25 € / Senior 20 € / Students, Disability 12,50 €
Concert is part of the SNG Maribor Symphonic Cycle, for season ticket holders and the general public.
Discounted tickets can be purchased at the Information office of Narodni dom Maribor or at the concert venue up to an hour before the concert.
Festival Maribor Carousel