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Symphony’s ‘The Heroic’ features pieces both known and nearly forgotten

UPDATED: Wed., Oct. 17, 2018, 4:49 p.m.

Israeli pianist Alon Goldstein is very familiar with the Mozart concerto, having released a recording of the piece with the Fine Arts Quartet and bassist Rachel Calin in 2015. (Jiyang Chen)
Israeli pianist Alon Goldstein is very familiar with the Mozart concerto, having released a recording of the piece with the Fine Arts Quartet and bassist Rachel Calin in 2015. (Jiyang Chen)

For the third concert in this season’s Classics series, music director Eckart Preu will lead the symphony and Israeli pianist Alon Goldstein through a trio of pieces – two very well-known and one that was almost lost to time.

The concerts, Saturday and Sunday at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox, will feature Lilian Elkington’s “Out of the Mist,” Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 “Eroica.”

Elkington’s “Out of the Mist” might have remained largely unheard had musicologist David Brown not found “a parcel of manuscript scores of four works” in a used bookstore in England in the late 1970s.

In that parcel were a song, two works for violin and piano and the full score and complete individual parts for “Out of the Mist,” which Elkington composed in 1921.

According to the program notes, Elkington stopped performing and composing after getting married in 1926, although she lived until 1969.

Apparently not even Elkington’s own daughter knew of her mother’s musical accomplishments.

Goldstein is very familiar with the Mozart concerto, having released a recording of the piece with the Fine Arts Quartet and bassist Rachel Calin in 2015.

As was characteristic of Mozart, Piano Concerto No. 21 was completed the day before its saw its world premiere.

The second movement, “Andante,” features what is considered to be one of Mozart’s most recognizable melodies.

The concert closes with Beethoven’s “Eroica,” despite the fact that the composer himself thought against ending performances with this piece because of its length.

“This symphony being purposely written much longer than is usual, should be performed nearer the beginning rather than at the end of a concert … if it is heard too late it will lose for the listener, already tired by previous performances, its own proposed effect,” Beethoven wrote in the 1806 edition of the score.

“Eroica” was originally written in dedication to Napoleon Bonaparte, but when Beethoven learned that Bonaparte had declared himself emperor, he decided to rid the piece of any affiliation with him.

Using a knife, Beethoven cut the words “intitulata Bonaparte (titled Bonaparte)” out of the title page, leaving “A heroic symphony … composed to celebrate the memory of a great man.”


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