Beethoven’s Second Symphony - Morning


Thursday 2 November 2023, 11.00am

Perth Concert Hall

West Australian Symphony Orchestra respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and Elders of Country throughout Western Australia, and the Whadjuk Noongar people on whose lands we work and share music.

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Beethoven’s Second Symphony - Morning

Franz SCHUBERT Rosamunde: Overture (10 mins)

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART Don Giovanni: Overture (6 mins)

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN Symphony No.2 (34 mins)

Adagio molto–Allegro con brio
Scherzo (Allegro) and Trio
Allegro molto

Umberto Clerici conductor

Wesfarmers Arts Pre-concert Talk

Find out more about the music in the concert with this week’s speaker Yvonne Frindle. The Pre-concert Talk will take place at 9.40am in the Main Auditorium.

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This performance is recorded for broadcast on ABC Classic.
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Did you know?

Schubert wrote no specific overture for the play Rosamunde. Instead, he dusted off an overture to the unperformed 1820 opera Alfonso und Estrella for the opening night of the play.

When the Rosamunde manuscript was published in 1891, a different overture was included, one that Schubert had composed in 1820 for The Magic Harp. This is the music now referred to as the Rosamunde Overture, which WASO will perform in this concert.

The overture of Don Giovanni was the first overture Mozart composed that referenced part of the opera (rather than just being a pleasant, attention-grabbing piece of music to start the performance). This format was received so well, that he continued to compose his overtures like this in subsequent operas.

Mozart famously wrote Don Giovanni's overture the night before the first performance - the orchestra saw the parts for the first time on opening night!

Beethoven wrote his Second Symphony during his stay at Heiligenstadt (outside Vienna), where he was on doctor's orders to rest and try to restore his failing hearing. Unfortunately, it was during this period that the composer realised his deafness was progressive and uncurable.

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Don Giovanni, K527: Overture

It was the librettist, Lorenzo da Ponte, who suggested the theme to Mozart: the well-known tale of Don Juan, the libertine who seduces woman after woman until, having killed the father of one of his conquests, he is finally dragged off to hell by a stone statue of the dead man.

Mozart’s opera, however, is more than a simple morality play. Indeed, there is some question as to exactly how it should be described. Mozart in his thematic catalogue called it an opera buffa (‘comic opera’), but the score and the libretto both describe it as a dramma giocoso or ‘playful drama’ – a term which some take to be a simple alternative to the term ‘opera buffa’ but which had also been used to describe the blend of serious and comic characters and turns of plot, in a realistic narrative style, pioneered by librettist Carlo Goldoni from around 1750. Certainly, despite the sober ending and moral epilogue, there are plenty of comic elements and the Overture establishes this from the start, as the slow and imposing introduction, with its crashing chords and whisperings and murmurings from the violins, emerges into a bright and energetic Allegro.

Legend would have us believe that Mozart procrastinated so much about the composition of this overture that on the eve of the opera’s premiere he had still not composed it. Whatever the case, the overture made it in time for the raising of the curtain on the opera’s first performance on 29 October 1787.

Symphony Australia © 2004

First Performance:
29 October 1787, National Theatre, Prague.

First WASO Performance:
12 June 1945. Ernest MacMillan, conductor.

Most Recent WASO Performance:
3 November 2018.
Christopher Dragon, conductor (Kalgoorlie).

two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, timpani, strings.


Allegro – Italian performance/tempo indication meaning fast and lively. A movement or section of music in this style.

Libretto – the words of an opera or oratorio.

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If you enjoyed tonight's concert, we think you'll love:

Radiant Rachmaninov - Morning

Symphonic Dances was Rachmaninov’s last major work, written as the composer grappled with the exile from his homeland. Paying homage to the rich romanticism of his earlier music, the vital energy and lingering melodies will dance across the Perth Concert Hall stage.

Asher Fisch appears courtesy of Wesfarmers Arts.

Fri 3 & Sat 4 November 2023, 7.30pm
Perth Concert Hall


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