The Blue Ridge Orchestra’s (BRO’s) 21st season begins Saturday, October 5, at 7:30 p.m., in UNC Asheville’s Lipinsky Auditorium, with a second performance Sunday, October 6, at 3 p.m. The Young Masters celebrates Bach, Beethoven and Weber with a program designed by BRO music director Milton Crotts featuring music written by each of the German composers when they were in their 30s.
“All too often when we hear the incredible music of The Young Masters composers, it is hard to fathom they wrote such works before the age of 40,” says Deb Kenney, president of BRO’s board of directors. “We usually conjure up their august images from later years (with the exception of Weber who died at 39), only to be amazed at the exceptional music they produced in their youth.”
The concerts begin with Carl Maria von Weber’s Oberon Overture, the introduction to his Elf King opera. Although the opera itself has not survived the test of time, this lush Romantic overture has been an audience favorite for nearly 200 years. Next, the BRO Chamber Symphony along with soloists Bradford Malbon, flute, Hanako Hjersman, violin, and Stephen Klein, harpsichord, will perform Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, a Baroque classic composed when Bach was 36.
“The first time I performed Brandenburg No. 5, I spent six months learning it,” says Klein. “It is still a challenge to play, but it is also a sheer joy to perform and listen to.”
Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 in D major closes the concerts. Although written when the composer was 32 years of age and suffering serious depression with thoughts of suicide, the symphony is joyful and playful. It is the last of Beethoven’s Classical era symphonies from which his revolutionary career was launched.