by Mike Telin
“There are few steps in the history of music as paramount as was the ‘Eroica’ Symphony,” Czech conductor Jakub Hrůša said during a telephone conversation. “It’s a piece from hundreds of years ago, but it’s still stimulating and sometimes shocking music to hear — it just doesn’t make you tired of listening to it.”
On Thursday, November 7 at 7:30 pm, Jakub Hrůša will return to the Severance Hall stage to lead The Cleveland Orchestra in Beethoven’s monumental Symphony No. 3 (“Eroica”). The evening will also include Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with Sergey Khachatryan as soloist. The program will be repeated on Friday and Saturday at 8:00 pm and Sunday at 3:00 pm. Tickets are available online.
Over the past few years, Hrůša has become a wonderful addition to the Orchestra’s guest conductor roster. He said that he never gets tired of conducting the Beethoven Third. “I used to do it a lot, then I took a break from it. Then I did it again and now I’m coming back to it after another break. In my view, I don’t think it’s played too often — it’s a masterpiece with no equal. Within Beethoven’s oeuvre it’s extraordinarily important. Very few symphonies in the history of music caused such a revolutionary shock as this symphony did.”
This week’s concerts will reunite the conductor with Armenian violinist Sergey Khachatryan on the Severance stage: the violinist played the Brahms Concerto with Hrůša in April of 2018.
“I think the Shostakovich is a concerto that has very deep meaning,” Hrůša said, “and of course it’s a great technical and musical showpiece for the soloist.”
He added that the composer had lived through some difficult times in the Soviet Union and the concerto is a testimony to those difficulties. “There’s a lot of personal and artistic trouble encoded in the piece. It fluctuates between tragic and sad, and occasionally brings in tones of triumph, but they are always full of irony, burlesque, and craziness. It’s everything but easygoing — I think it’s Shostakovich at his best.”
When asked about performing the program four times, Hrůša said, “I’m celebrating that. There’s nothing better when you prepare something for an audience than to repeat the program because it gets deeper, and you discover new stuff every evening.”
The conductor will also lead next week’s concert featuring works by John Adams and Gustav Mahler. You can read his thoughts on that program later this week.
Published on ClevelandClassical.com November 5, 2019.
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