Beethoven's fifth and ninth symphonies are the ones everyone knows, but his Symphony No. 3, "Eroica," ranks among his masterpieces. Most people know parts of it, especially the second movement that's often used in funerals, and it has been considered Beethoven's reflection on his increasing deafness. It also marks the beginning of Beethoven's most radically creative period.
It's a gorgeous piece of music, and i's the centerpiece of the Sarasota Orchestra's masterworks concert this weekend. The concert is scheduled to be performed three times, beginning Friday evening, at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota.
Besides "Eroica," the program includes Sibelius' "Violin Concerto in D minor" and the world premiere of a symphony by American composer Jerry Bilik titled "Symphony in M-L."
Perry So, a young conductor who's been getting a lot of attention in the global classical music scene, is at the helm for this program. The featured soloist for the Sibelius is violinist Leila Josefowicz.
So has conducted on five continents in recent years, and has just completed four years as associate conductor with Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Josefowicz made her Carnegie Hall debut in the mid-1990s and has become a star in the world of new music.
Bilik is known as much for his popular music as for his classical work. He arranges the music for the "Disney on Ice" shows, he works frequently on music for television, and the University of Michigan band usually plays his "M Fanfare" just before the university fight song.
Details: Dec. 4-6. Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Show times: 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $30-$90. Information: 941-953-3434 sarasotaorchestra.org.
-- Marty Clear