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The many 3s of Beethoven

Updated: Oct 12, 2022

The upcoming Hallam Sinfonia concert celebrates what many consider to be Beethoven's golden period - when his music moved out of the more classical style of his early career, into becoming the first major composer of the Romantic era.

But other than the three works being performed (the Coriolan Overture, the Triple Concerto, and the third symphony, "Eroica") having been written within a three-year period, there are many other instances of the number 3 cropping up in this programme:

  • The overture and symphony are both written in keys with three flats (C minor and E flat major respectively)

  • The Triple concerto, as suggested by the title, has three soloists - piano, violin and cello - in this concert to be performed by the fabulous Leonore Piano Trio

  • The symphony, as well as being the third one he wrote, is famous for its trio of horns, who have a starring role in the third movement (appropriately enough in the "trio" section)

The programme for the concert was conceived jointly between the orchestra and regular guest conductor Richard Laing, who has been a fan of Beethoven for as long as he can remember. Richard says:

"The first concert I remember attending was a performance of Beethoven's 5th symphony by the Orchestra of the University of Kent at Canterbury. It was the mid-1970s, I was five years old, and had loved hearing the symphony on an old LP. At the concert I carried a balloon on which I had used a black marker pen to scrawl 'Beethoven rules OK'.

"There was something physical, even visceral, about the pounding rhythms and the unapologetically triumphant ending to the symphony which appealed to this awkward little boy, and I've been an ardent fan of Beethoven's music ever since. Whereas the music of Mozart seems to me to come down from heaven, describing life in idealised terms, that of Beethoven grows from the ground up - it's intensely human, and speaks of the realities of life, its failures as well as its glories.

"To perform three contrasting works by Beethoven in the same concert is a rare opportunity. I can't wait to immerse myself once again in the music of this incomparable composer, and in the company of such esteemed soloists, too!"

The concert is at Victoria Hall, Sheffield, on Saturday 15 October 2022 at 7.30pm. Tickets available from the link below and on the door.


A Beethoven Triple

Saturday 15 October 2022, 7.30pm

Richard Laing - Conductor



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