Combined College Orchestra Offers "Basically Beethoven" Sunday

Combined College Orchestra Offers "Basically Beethoven"  Sunday

The heroic, impassioned, inventive and sometimes astonishing orchestral sounds of Ludwig van Beethoven will fill the air at the Texas A&M International University Center for the Fine and Performing Arts Recital Hall this Sunday, Nov. 18.

Beginning at 4 p.m. this free concert, presented by the Combined College Orchestras of TAMIU and LCC under the direction of LCC-TAMIU faculty member Brendan Townsend, brings three of Beethoven's famous works to life, well as a concerto for Organ and Orchestra by British composer Sir Malcolm Arnold.

"For years we have seen concerts titled 'Mostly Mozart'," Townsend said, "But when it comes to other composers the titles are not quite as interesting. Since the vast majority of the music on this concert is by Beethoven, we decided it should be called 'Basically Beethoven' with a touch of other composers for good measure."

The opening piece is the Overture to Coriolan which Beethoven inspired by Heinrich Joseph vo Collins play. The two opposing themes represent the warrior Coriolan (who was set to invade Rome) and the softer side, his mother who pleads with him not to. The drama of the play and the tragic ending to it are vividly portrayed by Beethoven in this short work.

Mariko Morita, TAMIU visiting professor of organ and accompanist, will perform the unique and inventive Concerto for Organ and Orchestra by Malcolm Arnold accompanied by the Combined College Orchestra, on the distinctive Sharkey-Corrigan Organ. This short concerto is filled with spicy little themes that are part of the hallmark of Arnold, who died last year.

Following the intermission, the orchestra will perform the Symphony No. 1 in C Major of Beethoven, and close with the Overture to "Egmont."

"The 1st symphony caused quite a stir when Beethoven first presented it," said Townsend. "The very first chord is dissonant and no one had ever begun a large orchestral work this way."

The ensuing four movement symphony shows how Beethoven took the traditional symphonic form and molded it to his unique voice. From that first note to the last, one is made to feel as though the traditional music will never again return to its safe world of consonance.

Returning to a theme that was always close to Beethoven's political heart, the play Egmont by Goethe represents once again the idea of rebellion against tyrannical oppression. For a revival of the play he composed an overture and nine pieces of incidental music which are incredibly well written and evocative.

"The connection of Coriolan and Egmont, which share similar dramatic themes, in one concert makes for wonderful exciting programming," added Townsend.

For more information contact Townsend at 326.3039 or e-mail btownsend@tamiu.edu.

University office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday - Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu