The Victoria Symphony Orchestra is in the midst of performing all of Beethoven’s symphonies in March during its Beethoven 250 celebrations at UVic’s Farquhar Auditorium, marking the birth of the great composer. Don Descoteau/Monday Magazine

REVIEW: Beethoven’s Fifth a masterpiece to begin March

Victoria Symphony’s Beethoven 250 celebrations open with a bang at the Farquhar Auditorium

Some symphonies begin subtly, with gentle phrases building in layers, sections gradually added in a crescendo of sound.

With Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, no such hesitation exists: the dominant four-note opening motif, played twice, sets the tone for what is to follow.

Dum-dum-dum-dahhh! Dum-dum-dum-dahhh!

With those eight unmistakable notes, set off with violent yet singular baton strokes from Maestro Christian Kluxen, the Victoria Symphony on Saturday night officially kicked off its celebration of Beethoven 250, part of the annual Masterworks Series. This month sees the orchestra perform all nine of the great composer’s symphonies at the University of Victoria’s very comfortable Farquhar Auditorium.

Kluxen indicated to Monday in a previous interview that he wanted audiences to experience how the Victoria Symphony interprets these great works of musical art. Indeed, from the urgent opening, the full orchestra tackled each movement in the Fifth with enthusiasm and reverence, creating a triumphant and majestic performance that prompted many in the crowd to stand with appreciative applause following the final note.

RELATED STORY: Beethoven 250: Victoria getting ready to celebrate

It’s hard to single out highlights from such a complete piece of music, one that draws on the strengths of all sections, from the orchestra’s supremely solid violin, viola and cello sections to the woodwinds and brass, underpinned by the work of rock-steady tympanist William Linwood.

The Third Symphony, also known as Sinfonia Eroica or Heroic Symphony – the composer dedicated it to Napoleon Bonaparte – encompassed the second half of the evening’s program. It’s a calmer-paced piece than the Fifth, with many subtleties and sections that featured the orchestra’s wonderful horn section, principal oboeist Michael Byrne and principal flautist Richard Volet, among others.

That’s part of the beauty of Beethoven’s symphonic works, they provide the listener with everything from pinpoint sounds and passages spotlighting certain instruments and musicians, to the grandeur of the entire orchestra playing in unison.

The Victoria Symphony’s flawless performance of the Fifth and Third symphonies gave this audience member a wonderful taste of what is to come. Next up, they’ll perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2, No. 4 and No. 7 this Thursday evening (March 12) at 8 p.m. Tickets are still available; find them online here with more information, or purchase by phone at 250-385-6515.

Later Beethoven 250 concerts are scheduled for matinees March 15 and 22 (2:30 p.m. start) and the evening of March 23.

For more information, visit victoriasymphony.ca/concerts.



editor@mondaymag.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Classical musicLive musicVictoria Symphony Orchestra

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Lonely singer reaches out and gives back, with online birthday show

Michael Demers sharing a musical chat tonight at 8 p.m. on Facebook

Trio of rock shows rescheduled for Alix Goolden Hall

Bowie tribute show, Martin Barre’s Jethro Tull show and Tommy Emmanuel all booked for late fall

Province announces $3M in funding for arts groups hit by COVID-19 crisis

BC Arts Council to administer support for both organizations and individual artists

Opera from a social distance: Taking it to the web

Pacific Opera Victoria launching two weekly podcasts to educate and stay in touch with listeners

Victoria Quarantunes playlist encourages support for struggling artists

Victoria brewpub creates local playlist after restaurant closes in response to COVID-19

Netflix reducing video quality in Canada to lower Internet bandwidth use

Bell Media is also planning traffic measures affecting the Crave streaming service

Will the show go on? B.C. music festivals consider options for 2020

Summer events running out of time to stay on schedule, in wake of COVID-19 uncertainties

Relief fund for Canadian performing artists gets $100,000 boost from foundation

Facebook started the fund with a first $100,000 donation last week

Henley, Tucker, Cyrus and others mourn the death of Rogers

Country music icon remembered as a crossover pioneer, a supporter of young artists

Self-isolating? National Film Board of Canada has over 4,000 free films online

A wide range of documentaries, animated films and short films are on the NFB website

Music industry feeling the effects of COVID-19 pandemic

Island musicians, promoters and producers alike reeling from cancellations, venue bans

Joseph Blake: 10 amazing CDs to explore in our COVID-19 isolation

Longtime music writer shares his favourite records from his vast collection

Most Read