Vienna, Austria – the City of Music. Franz Schubert was born there, just like Johann Strauss I and II. Beethoven and Mozart came to live and work in Austria, as did other giants of classical music. Composers such as Joseph Haydn, Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms, Antonio Salieri and a host of others were all drawn to Vienna’s storied quality of life, Baroque architecture, and old-world charm.
“Postcard from Vienna” is the title of the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra’s (GLCO) concert on Saturday, Oct. 30, at 7 p.m. at Great Lakes Center for the Arts (GLCFA), 800 Bay Harbor Dr., Petoskey.
According to GLCO Music Director Libor Ondras, the performance will reflect the visual image of a typical postcard – pictures of characteristic/dominant sites of Vienna. “One can hardly fit all of the city’s iconic pictures on one postcard!” he explained. “Alas, the concert’s three featured pieces offer but a glimpse of Vienna’s Classical period.”
Beethoven’s 7th Symphony is the concert’s focal point. “This symphony is one of the composer’s most optimistic works,” Ondras explained. “Richard Wagner thought the piece was perfect dance music, calling it ‘the apotheosis of the dance.’ The First and Third movements shine with brilliant colors, dotted rhythms, and allusions to country dances.”
Ondras said the symphony’s famous second movement (Allegretto) is a funeral march in all but name. “Beethoven was at work on this symphony during the years of the Napoleonic Wars, imagining processions converging upon the cemetery; an experience that permeates the entire movement,” Ondras said.
Cello soloist Helen LaGrand, a University of Michigan student, will perform during the Beethoven segment.
The concert will also feature Gioachino Rossini’s “Il Barbiere de Siviglia Overture” (The Barber of Seville) and Joseph Haydn’s “Cello Concerto in C Major”.
“The works on the program reflect subtle developments of the Viennese musical style and genres starting with the cello concerto (1761-65), to Beethoven’s 7th symphony (1811-12), to Rossini’s opera from 1816,” said Ondras.
Ticket holders can learn more about the music and its composers at a pre-concert discussion with Ondras at 6 p.m. in the GLCFA’s Community Engagement Room. Tickets for the Saturday, Oct. 30, concert are on sale now. Students 18 and under may attend for free, but seats must still be reserved.