SSO conductor and music director Peter Stafford Wilson said both composers stood up to tyranny and brought about change through their music and are quintessential symphonists who created a benchmark for the form in their respective eras.
Wilson describes the Beethoven piano concerto’s slow movement being the ultimate portrait of conflict resolution as the boisterous orchestra and the sublime piano appear at total odds with each other, yet find peaceful harmony in the end.
“Robert Henry is a pianist with whom I have looked forward to working for some time,” he said. “He offered to help us during the pandemic as our plans fluctuated, and I am delighted to introduce him to our audience with perhaps the most introspective of the Beethoven concerti.”
He calls the Shostakovich symphony an autobiographical piece reflecting his dealings with dictator Joseph Stalin. Stalin and others expected a monumental symphony with Shostakovich’s 9th, which the SSO performed last year, but instead got a humorous neo-classical effort and redeemed himself with the 10th.
“What resulted was a musical sketch of the Stalin years. The second movement is a brief but highly intense portrait of evil while the last movement is one of the most joyful, uplifting, and hopeful music that Shostakovich ever wrote,” Wilson said.
He encourages anyone who hasn’t experienced the SSO to experience this concert as reflective of the musicians at their peak.
“The Springfield Symphony has never sounded better,” said Wilson. “The passion that these artists bring to their work in this community is unbridled and it deserves the support of everyone who calls Springfield home and a jewel that makes Springfield unique. Open your ears, your mind, and your heart to their music and you will be changed.”
HOW TO GO
What: Springfield Symphony Orchestra “Beethoven’s 4th”
Where: Clark State Performing Arts Center, 300 South Fountain Ave., Springfield
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11
More info: springfieldsym.org/beethovens-4th/