Unheard Beethoven Pieces Performed in Italy

Last February a number of unheard Beethoven pieces were performed by the Orchestra Sinfonica del Lario, conducted by the inspirational Pierangelo Gelmini. It took place on 23 February, 2013, in Como, Italy, at Cantù – Teatro Comunale San Teodoro.

Here is the programme

Among the highlights:
The “Jena” Symphony, attributed to Beethoven and catalogued as WoO Anhang 1, but actually by Friedrich Witt
Violin Concerto in C, WoO 5 (only the first part of the first movement survives)
Macbeth Overture, Biamonti 454, in the realization by our own Willem
Symphony nr. 10, Biamonti 838

[Incidentally, the sketches for the 10th, and a realization of the Scherzo can be found here and one entire symphony based on Beethoven’s sketches by Adrian Gagiu is found here and another one by Hideaki Shichida can be found here.]

Pierangelo Gelmini

Maestro Gelmini astutely observes that

The (Macbeth) overture, […] , is directly connected with the fantasy world of Shakespeare, in which human events and the power of the unconscious nourish a world of expression that Beethoven knew to transform in a way no other composer could.”

Our Italian correspondent, Armando Orlandi, who was present at the concert, reports the following :

In the Macbeth Overture, the Orchestra of Lario and its director, Pierangelo Gelmini, show how much potential they have. Every detail is lively, and the sound has a dolorous quality. It was a very good choice to start playing piano, maybe even pianissimo. The music seems to arise from the night. The reader who listens to the annexed musical file, will understand how much work has been invested in our musical score. Excellent quality of the horns, and also of the flute soloist, who in the overture renders a rather difficult passage very well. Maybe, in the forte sections, the brass instruments had a tendency to drown somewhat the strings, but given the small dimensions of the theater (which is however very well restored and should be considered as a jewel) this detail is really insignificant.

Used as we were to listen to the Tenth Symphony (Biamonti 838) with an eye on the score prepared by Barry Cooper, we were surprised to find ourselves in a world completely different from what we expected. We have noted that this version of the Tenth Symphony, from the hand of Hideaki Shichida , is totally different from the former realizations, included those most recently recorded on disk (among which that of 2011 by Pardubice deserves special mention).

Insofar as the performance is concerned, the orchestra was not completely at ease with this piece, especially with the initial Andante, albeit it did somewhat better with the Allegro. I am not blaming this on the very competent musicians, but consider it a consequence of a musical score that is conceptually rather different from the former reconstructions and one that presents serious difficulties.”