Beethoven 2

Beethoven 2 in Concert

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Beethoven 2: Romance

Calgary Phil launched the The Year of Beethoven concert series in 2020 to pay tribute to the greatest symphonic composer of all time in celebration of his 250th birthday. The second performance took place on 15 February 2020 and featured Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2, which he was composing at the time he realized his hearing loss was inevitable, paired with his Piano Concerto No. 2 performed by Krzysztof Jabłoński, and Violin Romance No. 2 performed by Yesong Sophie Lee. The concert opened with Innenohr (Inner Ear), a new commission by composer Barbara Croall inspired by Beethoven’s second symphony.

This concert is presented in partnership with Morningside Music Bridge.

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Beethoven 2: Romance in Concert

Calgary Phil’s The Year of Beethoven concert series continues, paying tribute to the greatest symphonic composer of all time in celebration of his 250th birthday. The second performance features Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2, which he was composing at the same time he realized his hearing loss was inevitable, paired with his Piano Concerto No. 2 performed by Krzysztof Jabłoński and Violin Romance No. 2 performed by Yesong Sophie Lee. The concert opens with Innenohr (Inner Ear), a new commission by composer Barbara Croall inspired by Beethoven’s second symphony.

This concert is presented in partnership with Morningside Music Bridge.

Sponsors + Supporters


Barbara Croall: Innenohr (Inner Ear)

Beethoven: Violin Romance No. 2 in F Major, Op. 50

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 19

Beethoven: Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 36

Learn more about the Program

Rune Bergmann Conductor
Barbara Croall Composer
Yesong Sophie Lee
Krzysztof Jabłoński Piano

Barbara Croall Innenohr (Inner Ear) 8’
Beethoven Romance No. 2 in F Major for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 50 9′
  Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 19 28′
  I. Allegro con brio

II. Adagio

III. Rondo: Molto allegro

Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 36 32′
  I. Adagio molto — Allegro con brio

II. Larghetto

III. Scherzo: Allegro

IV. Allegro Molto


This concert features the debut of a new work by Canadian composer Barbara Croall, co-commissioned by the Calgary Phil and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. She has provided the following program note:

Innenohr (Inner Ear) 

Barbara Croall
(b. 1966)

When I was asked to compose a work inspired by Beethoven’s second symphony, I thought about the inner turmoil in his life during the time he was creating this work. His hearing difficulties had become impossible to ignore. The panic and confusion must have been overwhelming. I wondered about the memory involved in musical composition, and how Beethoven’s creative impulses were so concretely formed in his imagination. I also wondered about the actual workings of the inner ear, a complex and tiny network of canals — not unlike a conch shell in some ways, and the branches of a tree in others. What are the links between perceiving sound and conceiving of musical ideas, especially when the sense of hearing is distorted or absent? And what were the workings of Beethoven’s imagination in his own inner ear. I’ve questioned how it affected him psychologically and emotionally when his hearing started to fail, and how it informed and shaped his creative musical path. My new work considers these questions with empathy for his dilemma, and for all people experiencing loss of hearing. In other ways, it is symbolic of how hearing and listening can be a source of trauma or re-trauma — from mundane sounds of everyday life, to cries of suffering or joy — and how we cope with this kind of response.


Romance No. 2 in F Major for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 50

Ludwig van Beethoven
(1770 to 1827)

Little is known about the creation of Beethoven’s two romances, save that they date from the early years of the 19th century. Some writers believe he composed them as possible continuations of an earlier concerto, of which only the first movement has survived. Others see them as ‘dry runs’ for the slow movement of the masterful, full‑scale Concerto in D Major (1806). Whatever the case, they are charming and gracious works.


Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 19

Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven won his first fame in Vienna as a pianist. He gradually made a name for himself through his outgoing performing style and through solo piano works that he composed for his own performance. He revised certain of his existing creations as well, including the Piano Concerto No. 2, his first work of this kind. In order to retain the performing rights, he delayed its publication until 1801. This explains why it’s numbered higher than Concerto No. 1, which he composed in 1796 and 1797, but was printed just nine months earlier than No. 2.


Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 36

Ludwig van Beethoven

Catastrophe struck while Beethoven was working on his second symphony during the summer and autumn of 1802. There had been signs of growing deafness for some time, which he had done his best to ignore and conceal, but it deteriorated to the point where he came to realize he would probably lose his hearing. He was emotionally devastated, terrified, and deeply ashamed. He wrote a highly emotional letter, intended for his brothers, in which he vented to his feelings. This ‘Heiligenstadt Testament’ (named after the district of Vienna where he was living) may have served as a kind of emotional release, since the symphony he composed bears no trace of the dark emotions at play within him. It also represented a considerable advance in many ways over its predecessor, duration and substance being the most obvious examples. The highly successful first performance took place in Vienna on April 5, 1803.

Programme Notes for Beethoven by Don Anderson © 2019


The year 2020 marks Ludwig van Beethoven’s 250th birthday! To celebrate, orchestras all over the world are performing concerts and series honouring his life and work. The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra brings the festivities to this city by performing, throughout the year, the full cycle of Beethoven’s nine symphonies, as well as all of his piano concertos and some of his other beloved works. Beethoven’s music defies any one descriptor. At one moment it’s monumental and dramatic, the next intimate and heartfelt. It can be cerebral and mysterious, or lighthearted and fun. But one statement can be made in certainty: Beethoven’s music is unlike anything written before or since. Even now, 200 years after his lifetime, we look back at Beethoven as an artist whose creative genius was imaginative, uncompromising, and unprecedented. Here’s why I think Beethoven is a true Game Changer:

Beethoven changed the meaning of the word ‘symphony’

Today we think of a symphony as a monumental work, the ultimate test of a composer’s command of their craft and a supreme expression of their creativity. When we sit down to hear a symphony, whether by Brahms, Shostakovich, or Mahler, we are expecting a long, complex, sensational work. Mahler famously said, “a symphony must be like the world. It must contain everything.” But before Beethoven, the symphony was a fairly mundane genre, often produced quickly and in large quantities (Haydn wrote 107). Beethoven tapped the symphony’s potential in a way no one had before: his Symphony No. 3 (Eroica) in particular expanded our idea of what is possible in a symphony and, for that matter, in music. Not only was it longer — Eroica’s first movement alone was longer than many symphonies of the time — but it also pushed the boundaries in its form, harmonies, and emotional content. He continued to revolutionize, making the orchestra bigger (Beethoven’s fifth is the first symphony to use trombones) and eventually even including voices in his titanic ninth. His legacy in symphonic music is evident in the myth of “the curse of the ninth”: the superstition that a composer’s ninth symphony is destined to be his last (as nobody can surpass Beethoven).

Beethoven bridged the gap between the Classical and Romantic eras

Many of the composers we consider to be the ‘greats’ were great because they were experts who mastered their respective styles and built on the foundations of what came before to reach new levels of sophistication. Bach, for instance, is considered the greatest Baroque-era composer of all time, but he didn’t invent any of the conventions of Baroque music — he was simply extremely well trained in the Baroque tradition, a style of music that was considered old-fashioned by the end of his life. Mozart, similarly, is ‘great’ because although he wrote in the same style as everyone else composing at the time, he did it better.

Beethoven, however, is an example of a great composer who was on the cutting edge of music, who was the avant-garde of his time. Before Beethoven, there was no Romantic Era, but after him, few wanted to write in the Classical style any longer. You can trace the transition through the cycle of his nine symphonies, from the first two, which are modelled on those of Haydn and Mozart, through the innovation of his third and fifth symphonies, to the incredible scope and Romanticism of his ninth. But his music is not just famous for its newness: it is also incredibly profound, beautiful, and skillfully written. Extraordinarily, Beethoven did not just help invent a new style of music, he also perfected it.

Beethoven took a whole new approach to composing music

Romanticism was primarily a literary movement and it was already established when Beethoven became the first to take its ideals and apply them to the way he wrote music. Instead of the ‘naturalness’ or perfection of the Classical era, Romantic artists sought to express their authentic selves, to capture all the tragedy and comedy of the human experience. Structure and refinement gave way to emotion, and the inner world of the artist.

Most music of the earlier Classical era relied heavily on what we call ‘form,’ or a kind of musical structure. Audiences of the time were familiar with the way composers communicated their ideas and intentions — which keys were used where, systematic repetition of certain melodies, and the character and tempo of each movement.

Beethoven broke all these rules, and not simply for the sake of it: it was always in service of whatever he wanted to express, whether that was incredible drama or the most intimate, personal sentiments. Some of his later works, notably his late string quartets and piano sonatas, use almost no traditional form at all, and instead follow a stream of consciousness, passing from one idea to the next as quickly as they can be perceived, the way thoughts can melt away before we even fully think them.

This is the heart of what was revolutionary about Beethoven’s music: it was not about God or beauty or what the public wanted to hear; it was about what it was like to be Beethoven and therefore to be human.


This is an important year for classical music — 2020 signifies the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, a composer whose works have stood the test of time and influenced many who followed in his footsteps. However, for the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO), it also marks the year of five world premieres in as many months, all part of the Orchestra’s 2020: The Year of Beethoven celebrations.

“We decided to feature the first five Beethoven symphonies, paired with his five piano concertos,” says Vincent Ho, New Music Advisor for the CPO. But, he adds, they wanted to take it one step further and do something extra special. “We decided we should commission five composers from Canada to write concert openers for these five shows.”

The project was made possible thanks to the DeBoni New Works Programme, which was started by longtime supporters Irene and Walt DeBoni to contribute to the development and commissioning of new Canadian works. Ho says the CPO deliberately sought to collaborate with a diverse group of composers. “The challenge was trying to find five composers that have distinct, unique voices…. We wanted to select composers from across the nation, of differing backgrounds, and at different stages of their career, to ensure that we had a mosaic of voices that represent diversity.”

The five composers selected are Larysa Kuzmenko, Barbara Croall, Kelly-Marie Murphy, Jocelyn Morlock, and Dorothy Chang, whose works debut at the Beethoven 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 concerts, respectively. Croall’s composition was co-commissioned by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO). “Each composer was asked to write something that had some connection to the symphony and/or concerto that their works are programmed alongside,” Ho says. “They each have their own history with Beethoven and association with his music.”

The series of new works includes another tribute to the celebrated German composer — each composition features one of the Orchestra’s principal musicians in a solo. In concert order, they include a significant solo for oboe, flute, horn, bassoon, and cello. Ho says the idea was inspired by Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, which famously showcased the oboe in the first movement. “We thought we’d give an acknowledgement to that by having that similar concept put in place for each of these new pieces.”

The pieces are intentionally limited to about 10 minutes in length, which Ho says should improve their chances of being programmed in other concerts by other orchestras in the future. He feels strongly that seeking out and presenting new music is an essential responsibility of orchestras. “Culture is built on the expression of our identity through the arts — every generation of artists expresses our collective identity through their creative work,” he adds. “In the context of an orchestra, it’s important to feature the works of living composers in order for musical culture to grow, to give a voice for our generation as a musical response to relevant issues impacting our lives, and to provide future audiences with historical documentation of who we are in musical form.”

Fortunately, the CPO shares this sentiment, as evidenced by the DeBoni New Works Programme and this series of new commissions — and Ho feels incredibly grateful to be a part of it. “It’s just wonderful to be in a city where there is an orchestra that embraces new creations for an audience that is receptive to it.”

Artist Bios

Acclaimed Odawa composer/musician Barbara Croall (Mnidoo Mnissing, Giniw Dodem) has received world premieres and broadcasts of her works internationally since 1995. Performing and composing for pipigwan and voice in the Anishinaabeg way, Croall also holds degrees and diplomas from Centre Acanthes (France), the Musikhochschule in Munich, Germany, The Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto), and the University of Toronto where she was the recipient of the Glenn Gould Award in Composition (1989). The child of a residential school survivor, Croall is also the direct descendant of hereditary chiefs who signed the major treaties in Ontario and who fought in the Indian Wars and War of 1812. Recent projects include: Saia’tokenhti: Honouring Saint Kateri, a multimedia orchestral theatre and dance project in collaboration with the Mohawk communities of Akwesasne and Kahnawake — a Canada Council 150 ‘Next Chapter’ Project; a piano quartet for Ensemble Made in Canada’s ‘Mosaique’ Project; several choral works in the Odawa language (with texts also by Croall); and a concerto for timpani and chamber orchestra for timpanist Ed Reifel. Croall is currently Artist-in-Residence and Cultural Consultant with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra.

Krzysztof Jabłoński, who lives in Calgary, is Laureate of the F. Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw in 1985 and the Honens International Piano Competition in 1992. He has won numerous top prizes at international piano competitions in Milan, Palm Beach, Monza, Dublin, New York, and Calgary, as well as Gold Medal at the A. Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Tel Aviv. He has been performing as a soloist and with chamber ensembles and orchestras for more than 30 years, and is on the faculty of the Mount Royal University Conservatory and the Morningside Music Bridge programme.

Since winning the Menuhin Competition, Sophie has soloed with numerous orchestras, including the London Philharmonia Orchestra, Berlin’s Konzerthaus Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Milan’s Orchestre des Cameristi de la Scala, the Seattle Symphony, and the Detroit Symphony. She performed Bach’s Double Concerto with Joshua Bell and the Richmond Symphony, and also performed Duo Gemini with its composer, Henning Kraggereud, at Victoria Hall in Geneva. She has performed in festivals in Gstaad, Geneva, Kronberg, Warsaw, and in major U.S. cities from Honolulu to New York City. She also gave a concert tour of the U.K., where she played for Prince Charles.

In the 2019/2020 season, concerts include the Tchaikovsky Concerto with the Orchestre des Cameristi de la Scala de Milan, Beethoven Concerto with the Bremerton Symphony, the two Beethoven Romances with the Calgary Philharmonic, and recitals at the Gstaad Menuhin Festival, the Great Lakes Center for the Arts in Bay Harbor, Michigan, and the Resonance Masters’ Series in Seattle. Recently, she received Salon de Virtuosi’s ‘Charlotte White’ Career Grant and will be performing at the Salon’s Gala Awards Concert at The Kosciuszko Foundation.

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