Beethoven & Brahms

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Brian Ganz

Brian Ganz is regarded internationally as one of the leading pianists of his generation. “One comes away from a Brian Ganz recital not only exhilarated by the power of the performance but also moved by his search for artistic truth.” Joan Reinthaler, Washington Post.

Mr. Ganz is a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory of Music where he studied with Leon Fleisher.  He also studied with Ylda Novik and the late Claire Deene.  A gifted teacher, he has been Artist-in-Residence at St. Mary’s College of Maryland since 1986, and in 2000 joined the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory.  He has been honored to serve on numerous competition juries, including the Long-Thibaud Competition.

Mr. Ganz deems himself “an active explorer of the many ways in which the study and performance of great music can remind us of the Spirit that unites all living things.”  He has donated numerous performances in benefit concerts and was a founding member of the Washington Chapter of Artists to End Hunger.

Mozart’s Overture to II Re Pastore K 208

Written in just six weeks for its March 1775 premiere, Il Re Pastore (The Shepherd King) is a youthful work whose dramatic insignificance earned it the name of “serenade”—a type of dramatic cantata. The richness of its orchestration, its inexhaustible melodic inspiration and its dazzlingly ingenious score wonderfully foreshadows the then-19-years-old composer’s future works. Despite flat characters and Metastasio’s somewhat outdated and rather incredible libretto, this exquisite bucolic tale brims with energy, spirit and enthusiasm. The appearance of a quartet of lovers of somewhat dubious fidelity automatically puts a modern audience in mind of Così fan tutte. The principal psychological theme of the opera is, however, the demands of love against the demands of kingship, as Aminta, the shepherd-king, tussles with his conscience, and in this Il re pastore is closer in theme to Idomeneo than any other of Mozart’s operas.

Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto

Beethoven’s piano concerto No. 5, otherwise known as the Emperor Concerto, premiered on January 13, 1811 in Leipzig, Germany. It has grown in popularity over the years, becoming mandatory for any professional pianist to play.  The name Emperor Concerto was given by the English publisher Johann Baptist Cramer. It is doubtful that Beethoven would have approved of the name due to his immense dislike of Napoleon Bonaparte who invaded Vienna in 1808 when Beethoven was working on the concerto.

The Emperor Concerto is the last complete piano concerto Beethoven wrote.




Brahms Symphony No. 1

Brahms Symphony No. 1 took nearly 15 years to complete. Brahms, like many composers of the era, felt the presence of Beethoven looming over him (even though Beethoven died six years before Brahms was born.) He made countless edits and revisions. Finally, at the urging of his friends and family he released it November 4, 1876 in Karlsruhe, Germany. The critics were instantly impressed, calling it Beethoven’s tenth. For Brahms, this was the highest praise he could have received.