Program notes set the stage for the performance: "The French Revolution (1789 _1799) was a period of political and social upheaval in the history of France, during which the French governmental structure, previously an absolute monarchy with feudal privileges for the aristocracy and Catholic clergy, underwent radical change to forms based on Enlightenment principles of nationalism, citizenship, and inalienable rights. Beethoven so admired the ideals of the French Revolution, and specifically France's First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte as the embodiment of the Enlightenment, he chose to dedicate his Third Symphony to Napoleon.
But when Napoleon proclaimed himself Emperor of the French in May 1804, Beethoven became disgusted and reportedly said 'So he is no more than a common mortal! Now, too, he will tread under foot all the rights of man, indulge only his ambition; now he will think himself superior to all men, become a tyrant!' Beethoven went to the table where the completed score lay. He took hold of the title-page and scratched the name Bonaparte out so violently with a knife that he created a hole in the paper. The title was changed to Sinfonia eroica, composta per festeggiare il sovvenire d'un grand'uomo ('heroic symphony, composed to celebrate the memory of a great man').
The symphony itself represents a milestone in the history of western music. The work is arguably the official end of the classical period‹foreshadowing the romantic period in terms of emotional weight and harmonic complexity. At the time of its premiere, the 'Eroica' was twice as long as any symphony written until that time‹putting the listener into unchartered territory. It was shocking, exhilarating and, yes, Triumphant."
Conducted by David Bernard, the program will also include Rimsky-Korsakov's Capriccio Espagnol and Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto.
The featured soloist for these 2 concerts will be 16 year-old violinist Jourdan Urbach. Compared to a "Young Paganini" with "buttery smooth playing and laser sharp technique," Urbach has performed in Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden, The Meadowlands, The Tilles Center, The Kravis Center in Palm Beach, The Wortham Center in Houston, Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor, among other important concert venues. Urbach's performance schedule for 2009 will take him to Michigan as soloist with the Grand Rapids Symphony; California as the "Classical Music Star of the Future" at The Ventura Music Festival, under the direction of Nevi Mehta; Columbia, Missouri as soloist with The Missouri Summer Festival Symphony, Memphis as the chosen virtuoso for the 2009 Artist Ascending Award and Music Festival; Buenos Aires, Argentina as soloist with the Buenos Aires Symphony; and Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in a classical and electric violin concert with Mark Wood and members of The Trans Siberian Orchestra. Urbach has been profiled in The New York Times, The Daily News, The New York Post, Newsday, People Magazine, Teen People Magazine (as one of "Twenty Teens Who Will Change the World"), Time Magazine for Kids, Family Circle and US News & World Report. Jourdan's violin is an 1850 Vuillaume.
Performances take place Saturday, November 15, at 8 PM and Sunday, November 16, at 3PM at All Saints Church on 230 E. 60th Street (between 2nd & 3rd Avenues).
For tickets and information visit the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony website.
Founded in 1999 and now recognized as one of the finest non-professional ensembles in New York City, The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony combines professional-level music making with a philanthropic mission to support public service organizations operating within New York City.
Park Avenue Chamber Symphony (PACS) members combine successful business careers with considerable accomplishment in music. Members of the orchestra include investment bankers from Goldman Sachs, Fortress Investment Group, JP Morgan Chase, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and RG Niederhoffer Capital Management, as well as business executives with the Associated Press, AllianceCapital, American Express, Bank of America, BMG Records, Cyan Pictures, DB Marketing Technologies, McKinsey & Company, the operations department of the New York Philharmonic, the New York Times, Pfizer, Reader's Digest, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and Tommy Hilfiger. Other members are judicial law clerks and attorneys from Paul, Weiss, Wharton & Garrison; Tannenbaum Helperin; and Cowan DeBaets, while others are officials in City and State government agencies and the United Nations.
Well schooled in the performing arts, Park Avenue Chamber Symphony members include alumni of The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, The Mannes College of Music and The Curtis Institute of Music, as well as former members of professional orchestras.