Once Again Beethoven World-Premiere to Be Performed By the Rotterdam Chamber Orchestra

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In 2003 the Rotterdam Chamber Orchestra, conducted by the South African-born, Dutch conductor Conrad van Alphen, was the first ensemble in the world to perform and record a reconstruction of the slow movement of the lost oboe concerto by Ludwig von Beethoven. Last February the orchestra made world-news headlines with the performance of the world-premiere of a reconstructed Adagio for piano and orchestra by Beethoven. On the 26th of May, the Rotterdam Chamber Orchestra will have the honor to play the first performance of Beethoven’s Prelude and Fugue for string quintet to a full house in ‘De Doelen’ in Rotterdam..

In 1817 Beethoven started composing a new string quintet. For unknown reasons he never got further than a prelude (introduction) and a short, complete fugue. This fugue in D was published in 1827 with the misleading opus number 137. The prelude however remained manuscript. Beethoven later used the short central theme of the prelude in the Molto Vivace of his 9th symphony. Both prelude and fugue originated in the same month (November 1817) and showed similarities concerning atmosphere, orchestra complement and time signature. Dutch musicologist Cees Nieuwenhuizen thought they could fit perfectly together and joined the two compositions by composing a transitional passage completely in late-Beethoven style. He corrected phrasing, dynamics and a few composing errors and added a double bass part for performance by string orchestra.

Nieuwenhuizen : “The whole composition is a late-Beethoven and has many grandiose moments and strikingly beautiful modern images. I would not be surprised if this was the reason why Beethoven never completed this work, because only five years later these images started playing a major role in the late-string quartets. This composition is of value, because for the first time we can hear the tremendous introduction with the equally fantastic and modern fugue”

In assignment of De Doelen, Dutch composer Hans Kox, composed his 4th violin concerto for the British violinist Daniel Hope and the Rotterdam Chamber Orchestra conducted by Conrad van Alphen, also to be performed for the first time on the 26th of May.

Furthermore on the program will be the Dutch-premiere of “Plainscapes” by Peteris Vasks, performed by the Netherlands Youth Choir, with soloists Daniel Hope (violin) and Nina Kotova (cello) as well as the String Quartet opus 95 (Serioso, arr. string orchestra) by Ludwig von Beethoven.

Concert: 26 May 2005 at 20h15 in De Doelen (Grote zaal) in Rotterdam

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Wilma Van Heerden
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