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Classical 101

New "Old" Beethoven Symphony on Symphony @ 7

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This evening on Symphony @ 7 on Classical 101, I'll have a new release of John Eliot Gardiner conducting his Revolutionary and Romantic Orchestra on period instruments in a live concert performance of Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 2 in D.  

Gardiner has recorded all the Beethoven symphonies before with this orchestra for DG.  This new recording was made in Cadogen Hall in London in November, 2013.

The Second Symphony is not quite as revolutionary as the next one, the Eroica, but it is bigger in scope and feeling than the First, which was more directly influenced by Haydn and Mozart.  In this performance Gardiner tends to play down any "pre-echoes" of its successor and performs the Second Symphony as more a continuation of the spirit of the First.

The other work on the program, is however, completely new but inspired by something very old, the Violin Concerto of American composer Mason Bates (b. 1977).  This new recording features violinist Anne Akiko Meyers with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leonard Slatkin.

Mason Bates is known for his innovative large-scale orchestral writing, and this concerto from 2012 requires an orchestra of almost 100 players to express the imagined sounds of ancient animals inspired by fossil-remains of a prehistoric dinosaur-bird hybrid.  The three movements are titled:  I. Archaeopteryx, II. Lakebed Memories, and III. The Rise of the birds.