Beethoven and Music of the Dance
Violin and director Christopher Jones
Viola Kay Stephen
Jennifer Higdon Dance Card (movements)
Mozart Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola
Beethoven Symphony No. 7
Saturday 4 May 2024 7.30pm
The King’s School, Macclesfield
Tickets: £27.00 | Under 30s £17 | Full Time Students and Under 18s Free
If nature inspires our February concert, dance inspires this one. Wagner proclaimed Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony as ‘the Apotheosis of the Dance; the Dance in its highest condition; the happiest realisation of the movements of the body in an ideal form’. Beethoven himself cited his Grand Symphony in A as ‘one of my best works’. At the risk of hyperbole, the symphony’s rhythmic vitality, forward drive and sheer joy make it one of the finest creations of Western art music.
Music of the dance pervades the 21st century too. The contemporary American composer, Jennifer Higdon, wrote Dance Card in 2015. In her programme note she describes the piece as a celebration of the joy, lyricism and passion of a group of strings playing together, observing that each of the five movements can be performed as a separate work. The NCO plays a selection.
It is sometimes forgotten that Mozart was an outstanding violinist. His Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola is really a double concerto in which each instrument plays an equal part. Filled with drama more reminiscent of his operas, it is an astonishing achievement, not least because Mozart was only 23 when he composed it. Christopher Jones (violin) and Kay Stephen (viola) make a welcome return following their virtuosic performance of Lera Auerbach’s Sogno di Stabat Mater at St Michael’s Church last season. Christopher also directs the entire concert from the violin.