Works by Beethoven, Vivaldi, Smetana, and Dvořak

Sunday, October 22, 2023, 7:30 p.m.

Beethoven:  "Egmont" Overture
Vivaldi:  Concerto for Two Trumpets
Smetana:  "The Moldau"
Dvořak:  Symphony No. 9, "From the New World"

David Washburn, trumpet soloist
Wellington Lima, trumpet soloist
Joel Lish
, conductor
Maxim Kuzin, guest conductor

We welcome an outstanding guest conductor, Maxim Kuzin, who has led orchestras with success both locally and in his native Ukraine. We have found his rehearsals inspirational and think you will enjoy his conducting.

The program also showcases two top-flight trumpeters in a wonderful work of display from the Baroque era.

Admission is free; open seating

Palisades Lutheran Church
15905 Sunset Boulevard
Pacific Palisades,  California


Notes on the program

In 1810 Beethoven completed an overture and incidental music for Goethe's tragedy Egmont. This year was near the peak of the composer's "middle period," when he often sought to portray heroism in music. The "Egmont" overture was part of this effort, as Goethe's play depicts a hero of the Netherlands who dies in the defense of his country. The work resembles some other heroic Beethoven overtures (notably the four he wrote for his opera Fidelio) in that it ends in a dizzying final section that ups the tempo.

Vivaldi's Concerto for Two Trumpets is the only concerto he ever wrote for this instrument.  It is thought to have been composed in the 1720's. The work is flashy -- it is easy to hear the trumpeters as imitating dueling sopranos as they negotiate their rapid parallel passagework.

"The Moldau" (1894) is work of gentle patriotism, portraying the beauty of a river in Smetana's native land, now called Czechia. An extremely memorable section of this tone poem is the opening, which portrays the gathering together of rivulets to form a smooth-flowing river. Later sections give us a forest hunting scene, a peasant wedding, nymphs doing a round dance in the moonlight, the St. John's Rapids, the Moldau in its full breadth, and Vyšehrad Castle, a mighty fortress on the river just south of Prague.

Dvořak, too, was Czech and his music is likewise filled with national feeling and sentiment. But here his native voice appears only occasionally, for the New World Symphony (1893) was written during his  visit to America (1892-1895) and for its sources relies on Black and Native American materials. Dvořak's own roots do appear from time to time though, leading our imaginations to migrate back from America to Prague and Vienna. This work is justly considered a pillar of the symphonic literature and we are delighted to have a chance to perform it for you.