Magic of Beethoven fills TSO calendar

2014-03-06T00:00:00Z Magic of Beethoven fills TSO calendarBy Cathalena E. Burch Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Guest conductor James Feddeck will see a lot of Southern Arizona this week when he leads the Tucson Symphony Orchestra in its Beethoven’s Fourth MasterWorks concert.

The New Yorker will start his sightseeing tour today in Bisbee, where the orchestra will play a pair of concerts with the Bisbee Community Chorus.

On Friday, he’ll shoot over to Oro Valley for a concert with the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance. And on Saturday and Sunday, he will lead the orchestra in three concerts at Catalina Foothills High School.

That’s one more than the orchestra normally performs in the MasterWorks series, and it’s the first time in as long as anyone can remember that the orchestra has added a Sunday evening performance.

The additional concert was announced in mid-February after the orchestra sold out the Saturday night and Sunday matinee concerts.

Feddeck, making his Tucson debut, says it is likely the mix of works on the program that has generated the buzz.

“Actually, the three pieces together work really well, and I think there’s a certain chemistry to the program,” he explained from home in New York last week. “Perhaps there’s something for everybody.”

The orchestra opens the concert with Mendelssohn’s “Hebrides” Overture and closes with Beethoven’s lesser known Symphony No. 4. In between is Stravinsky’s “Pulcinella” Suite, which Feddeck said is like a concerto for the orchestra.

“There’s this small string group that plays by itself. There’s one movement with woodwinds playing a movement by themselves. Some great solos,” explained Feddeck, 30, an in-demand guest conductor who last fall ended a four-year run as assistant conductor with the Cleveland Orchestra. “It really features the orchestra in a way like a concerto.”

Of course the Beethoven is the big draw. It’s the first time the TSO has performed it since December 2008.

“I think the Fourth Symphony … is not as often performed as a lot of the Beethoven symphonies, obviously seven, the nine, fifth and the sixth ‘Pastorale,’ ” Feddeck said. “But I think the Fourth Symphony is such a beautiful and dramatic  (work). The Fourth Symphony to me just has such drama to it. You have that very mysterious opening, and then you have this very playful first movement, this very singing second movement. You have what you would expect in the third movement and the last movement has really got a lot of drive. But it isn’t bombastic. It doesn’t have the weightiness, say, that the Fifth Symphony has. It is quite the statement.”

The shows close out the MasterWorks series season.

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