Revisiting history at the CSO

Revisiting history at the CSO

October 14th, 2011 by Holly Leber in Chattnow Music

IF YOU GO

What: Chattanooga Symphony & Opera Masterworks concert, Grieg Piano Concerto.

When: 8 p.m. Thursday and Oct. 21.

Where: Tivoli Theatre, 709 Broad St.

Admission: $19-$79.

Phone: 867-8583.

Website: www.chattanoogasymphony.org.

The first time the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera performed Grieg's Piano Concerto in A Minor, the guest pianist was Percy Grainger, a disciple of composer Edvard Grieg, according to CSO Executive Director Molly Sasse.

Therefore, the Grieg work, one of the best-known piano concerti in the symphony world, seemed a perfect choice when the orchestra sought a piano concerto to play for the 2011-2012 season.

"We wanted to do a piano concerto this year," Sasse said. "We haven't played one in a long time."

Appearing with the CSO will be pianist Ning An, an award-winning artist who has won renown for his performances worldwide. An is an artist-in-residence at Lee University who professed interest in playing the Grieg concerto with the CSO, Sasse said.

Oftentimes, Grieg's work is paired with that of Robert Schumann, whom he greatly admired. The CSO, however, has chosen to pair the piano concerto with works by Ludwig van Beethoven and Johannes Brahms.

Beethoven's "Fidelio" was the German composer's only opera. Legend tells he went through four incarnations of the overture before finally settling on one that would be suitable to introduce the work.

Brahms' Symphony No. 1 is said to have taken nearly two decades to compose. "Composing a symphony," he is recorded as having said, "is no laughing matter." This is according to notes from the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Reportedly, Brahms was reluctant to even attempt writing a symphony, believing his predecessor Beethoven to have written beyond the potential of future generations.

"You have no idea," he is reported to have said, "how it feels to hear behind you the tramp of a giant like Beethoven."