Sunday, June 12, 2011

Evgeny Kissin: Beethoven's Turkish March

This is from a performance at London's Royal Albert Hall on August 10, 1997, part of a summer concert series called the BBC Proms. Here Evgeny Kissin, then 25, plays Beethoven's Turkish March, the first of seven encores he played that sweltering afternoon in August.

The documentary Evgeny Kissin at the Royal Albert Hall sets the scene: "It was a Sunday afternoon in the second hottest August since records began, but Kissin nevertheless drew the biggest Prom audience in all of those 103 years. As if that were not enough, Kissin ended his recital with the longest succession of encores in the entire history of the Proms."

Kissin's performance, the documentary says, "was the first Prom in the 103-year history of the Promenade Concerts to be given by a solo recitalist. . . . A leading London manager described it as having generated more enthusiasm than any other London recital during the past fifty years."


The Turkish March, the first encore of that hot Sunday in August, has its own interesting history, reports Wikipedia:
The theme was first used in Beethoven's "6 Variations on an Original Theme", Op. 76, of 1809. In 1811 Beethoven wrote an overture and incidental music to a play by August von Kotzebue called The Ruins of Athens (Op. 113), which premiered in Pest in 1812. The Turkish March appears as item No. 4 of the incidental music. Many music lovers associate the theme with The Ruins of Athens, although that was not its original appearance.
Even so, that is the chief association of this piece. Anton Rubinstein [1829-1894] arranged a popular piano version of the march in B flat major, tempo allegretto in 1868, with further arrangement by Sergei Rachmaninoff. The score notes as its source, The Ruins of Athens.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment Policy:

All comments will be moderated; and bear in mind that anonymous, hostile, vulgar and off-topic comments will not be published. Thoughtful, reasonable and clear comments, bearing your real name, will be. All comments must be in English.