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New York Philharmonic headlines sold-out Gala2006

The New York Philharmonic, under maestro Lorin Maazel, will celebrate Zoellner Arts Center’s 10th anniversary Saturday with a performance at Gala2006, the center’s primary annual fundraising event.

The Gala2006 concert at 8 p.m. Saturday in Zoellner’s Baker Hall is sold out. A cocktail party and dinner precedes the concert, and there is a dessert reception afterwards.

The leading American orchestra, which begins its 165th season next September, will perform Weber’s Oberon Overture, Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, “Eroica.”

The New York Philharmonic last played in the Lehigh Valley in 1997 in celebration of Zoellner Arts Center’s inauguration.

Commissioned by Covent Garden, Carl Maria von Weber’s opera Oberon received its first performance there in 1826. The complete opera is not often performed, but the 20-minute overture which takes its melodies from the main body of the opera remains a favorite. In fact, at the premiere of the opera, with Weber conducting, the overture won such an ovation that it had to be repeated.

Composed in 1788, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony No. 40, the second of two works in G minor, is one of his most widely recognized symphonies. Although its minor key has raised speculation that the music mirrored his own personal discord as his popularity faded and his poverty increased, most critics believe that in this work, Mozart was exploring new creative possibilities. At this time, German and Austrian composers were increasingly drawn to the Sturm und Drang movement. They began to compose music that was the audible expression of angst. It is likely that Mozart, too, turned occasionally, to minor keys.

Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, “Eroica” was first performed privately in 1804. Originally the work was entitled “Bonaparte Symphony” as a tribute to Napoleon Bonaparte, but when he crowned himself emperor, a move which angered Beethoven, the composer supposedly renamed the symphony the “Eroica.” The “Eroica” for the first time demonstrates Beethoven’s “Heroic” style with its breadth, depth, orchestration and driving rhythms that break away from the pretty, melodically pleasing melodies of his earlier periods.

The New York Philharmonic, founded in 1842, has played a key role in American musical life and development, and has championed the new music of its time. It gave the first performances of many important works including Dvorák’s Symphony No. 9, “From the New World”; Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3; and Gershwin’s Concerto in F.

Conductor Lorin Maazel, the New York Philharmonic’s music director since 2002, has led more than 150 orchestras in more than 5000 opera and concert performances. He also served as music director of the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra. He is an honorary member of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic, and is the recipient of the Hans von Bulow Silver Medal from the Berlin Philharmonic.

Posted on Tuesday, October 03, 2006

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