COURTESY HONOLULU SYMPHONY
Julian Wachner is guest-conducting the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra this weekend.
Hear the music, and then listen
"Concert Conversations," the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra chatfest with music experts and performers, is now at a new time -- right after the concert, when the notes are still ringing in your ears. The free lectures/Q&A sessions, paired with the Halekulani MasterWorks concerts, were previously held prior to the concert, the period when you'd rather be sipping wine and checking out what others are wearing.
Honolulu Symphony Halekulani Masterworks
Beethoven's Mass in C, Haydn's "London" Symphony and Beethoven's Egmont Overture
In concert: 8 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday at the Hawaii Theatre
Tickets: $21 to $74, available at the theater box office
Call: 792-2000 or online at honolulusymphony.com and hawaiitheatre.com
And it's none too soon. This week's edition features a pair of works by "Great Masters" Joseph Haydn and Ludwig von Beethoven, whom, we can all agree, are no slouches in the symphonic masterworks department.
Haydn's Symphony No. 104, called the "London," was the Viennese master's last work, and was penned to please his new audiences in England while he spent some time there late in life. There are supposedly echoes of English street melodies and folk songs ghosting in the massive, cheerful swells of the symphony. It was a big success at the time, and still is.
When he wasn't knocking out symphonies for British and Austrian patrons, Haydn was tutoring Beethoven, by all accounts a difficult young student. He and Haydn didn't get along. Still, when Haydn died -- during one of Napoleon's assaults on Vienna -- it may have affected Beethoven, as did the tale of Count Egmont, as written by Goethe, in which Egmont led an underground resistance against Spanish invaders. The story resonated with those opposed to Napoleon's empire.
Beethoven's "Overture to the Tragedy, Egmont," composed to honor resistance fighters, is another of the symphony's offerings this week, and was composed in the midst of the Napoleonic Wars.
It's followed on the program by Beethoven's "Mass in C," composed a few years earlier, Beethoven's first foray into choral celebrations. Although the piece debuted in 1807, he kept the work private for several years until a German translation allowed it to also be performed in Protestant churches.
Composer-musical director Julian Wachner is guest-conducting the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra this weekend, with a quartet of established opera voices to lend power to Beethoven's "Mass" -- soprano Kendra Colton, mezzo-soprano Laura Vlasak Nolen, tenor John McVeigh and bass-baritone Philip Horst.