This month, Nicola Benedetti makes her orchestral debut with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment for a UK concert tour with conductor Marin Alsop. The all-Beethoven programme can be heard first in Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre (3 February) with additional concerts in London (4 February), Birmingham (6 February), Basingstoke (8 February) and Saffron-Walden (9 February).
Nicola and the orchestra will then travel to the US for further performances in Costa Mesa (12 February), Santa Barbara (13 February), Oakland (14 February) and Rochester (16 February). The tour will end with Nicola’s debut performance at the Abu Dhabi Music Festival on 19 February.
These concerts are a chance to hear a new arrangement of the cadenza to Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, one which Nicola wrote with close friend and pianist Petr Limonov after much historical research. In this arrangement, you will hear a blend of direct quotation from Beethoven’s piano version of the cadenza as well as new composition by the duo, referencing the original thematic material and harmonic structure, to result in an authentic yet daring finale.
In his programme notes for the performances, Petr says: “Working on the cadenza together with Nicola has been a fascinating journey, which started about three months ago. We were immediately confronted with a unique set of compositional and structural problems. Beethoven himself only wrote a cadenza for a piano version of this concerto (op. 61a), and he approached it in a truly revolutionary way by incorporating timpani part into the texture, turning his cadenza into a dialogue between the pianist and the timpanist. However, to our mind, previous attempts to transcribe Beethoven’s bravura broken octaves and chromatic scales for violin in a literal way sounded too forceful for the otherwise lyrical and inward-looking nature of the piece. As Nicola was researching Beethoven’s autographs, drafts, and first editions, looking for possible clues in his other, perhaps discarded, ideas, it gradually became clear that we needed to rewrite the cadenza, being true to Beethoven’s spirit, but not necessarily the letter.”
View US and Abu Dhabi tour details
3 February 2018: Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, UK
4 February 2018: Royal Festival Hall, London, UK
6 February 2018: Symphony Hall, Birmingham, UK
8 February 2018: The Anvil, Basingstoke, UK
9 February 2018: Saffron Hall, Saffron-Walden, UK
12 February 2018: Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa, CA
13 February 2018: Granada Theatre, Santa Barbara, CA
14 February 2018: Paramount Theatre, Oakland, CA
16 February 2018: Kodak Hall, Rochester, NY
19 February 2018: Emirates Palace Auditorium, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.