Beethoven with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
In February, Nicola Benedetti embarks on a tour with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in the U.K. and U.S., making her debut with the orchestra. The tour comprises 10 concert dates in February 2018 across the U.K. and the States. Benedetti and conductor Marin Alsop come together for the U.K. concerts featuring an all-Beethoven program including Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. They will tour to: Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre (February 3), London’s Royal Festival Hall (February 4), Birmingham’s Symphony Hall (February 6), Basingstoke’s The Anvil (February 8) and Saffron-Walden’s Saffron Hall (February 9).
The U.S. tour with the OAE sees Benedetti play/directing the orchestra in performances of the Beethoven Violin Concerto. They commence the tour in California at Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Hall (February 12), Santa Barbara’s Granada Theatre (February 13), Oakland’s Paramount Theatre (February 14). The final date of the U.S. tour takes place at Rochester’s Eastman School of Music (February 16) in Upstate New York. The tour will end with Nicola’s debut performance at the Abu Dhabi Music Festival in the U.A.E. (February 19).
These concerts are a chance to hear a new arrangement of the cadenza to Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, one which Nicola wrote with close friend and pianist Petr Limonov after much historical research. In this arrangement, listeners will hear a blend of direct quotation from Beethoven’s piano version of the cadenza as well as new composition by the duo, referencing the original thematic material and harmonic structure, to result in an authentic yet daring finale.
In program notes for the Beethoven cadenza, Limonov says: “Working on the cadenza together with Nicola has been a fascinating journey, which started about three months ago. We were immediately confronted with a unique set of compositional and structural problems. Beethoven himself only wrote a cadenza for a piano version of this concerto, and he approached it in a truly revolutionary way by incorporating timpani part into the texture, turning his cadenza into a dialogue between the pianist and the timpanist. However, to our mind, previous attempts to transcribe Beethoven’s bravura broken octaves and chromatic scales for violin in a literal way sounded too forceful for the otherwise lyrical and inward-looking nature of the piece. As Nicola was researching Beethoven’s autographs, drafts, and first editions, looking for possible clues in his other, perhaps discarded, ideas, it gradually became clear that we needed to rewrite the cadenza, being true to Beethoven’s spirit, but not necessarily the letter.”
February 3, 2018: Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, U.K.
February 4, 2018: Royal Festival Hall, London, U.K.
February 6, 2018: Symphony Hall, Birmingham, U.K.
February 8, 2018: The Anvil, Basingstoke, U.K.
February 9, 2018: Saffron Hall, Saffron-Walden, U.K.
February 12, 2018: Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa, CA
February 13, 2018: Granada Theatre, Santa Barbara, CA
February 14, 2018: Paramount Theatre, Oakland, CA
February 16, 2018: Kodak Hall, Rochester, NY
February 19, 2018: Emirates Palace Auditorium, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.