There’s something about Beethoven, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and conductor James Feddeck that just works.
The 30-something conductor — making his third podium turn with the TSO this weekend — will lead an all-Beethoven program. It will be the second time that he’s done Beethoven with the TSO.
“There’s some different sides of Beethoven that we’re looking at,” said Feddeck, who will lead the orchestra in Beethoven’s “Coriolan” overture and his First and Third symphonies. “You might think, ‘OK, it’s one composer. Everything is going to sound similar.’ But I think the three works we’ll be playing will be quite different from one another, even though it’s the same composer.”
So what should we love about “All Beethoven”? Feddeck, reached in Dublin, Ireland, where he was guest-conducting the week before Thanksgiving, gave us a few things to look for that he’s sure we’ll love.
“I think everyone loves Beethoven,” he said.
About the “Coriolan” overture: “It’s a great way to start the concert. It’s extremely dramatic. It starts with these big chords from the orchestra, then there’s a lot of drama in it. To take a work which has such an inherent theatrical element and put that with two symphonies — two very different symphonies — makes for an exciting night.”
About Beethoven’s First and Third symphonies: “The First is not really that long. It’s got a lot of zip and energy. It’s got lightness to it, compared to the Third Symphony (the “Eroica”). It’s about 25 minutes long and a little bit different spirit than the Third Symphony. The Third is pretty substantial. Even though they are two symphonies, they are quite different experiences.”
Bridging Classical and Romantic eras: “Beethoven is sort of a bridge, as far as musicians are concerned, between the Classical era and the Romantic era. … Beethoven is often thought about as the doorway that brought about romanticism in the music and the great Romantic composers we hear like Brahms and Mahler. We have the First Symphony, which is more Classical, and we have the ‘Eroica,’ which is often talked about as really being that first leap into a kind of Romantic spirit.
“That’s why I say, all Beethoven, but, several different sides of the same person.”
May the weather outside be balmy: “I’m just looking forward to having some warm weather. When I was in Denmark last week, it was snowing. I said to the people in the orchestra, in the hotel, in the restaurants: ‘Is this normal?’ And they said no, it’s rather early. Even today in Dublin there was snowflakes in the air. Who knows, maybe I’ll bring the snow to Tucson.”
A fan of the Old Pueblo: “I’ve really come to like Tucson. I like the vibe of the city. Of course I have only been there three weeks cumulative, so it’s not that long. But I have just found such a welcoming by the city and the orchestra as well. It’s a pleasure to come to Tucson.”