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December 3, 2011

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Music to celebrate the new year

TWO classical music concerts and one piano recital, all by noted Europeans, will be staged in Shanghai to celebrate the new year.

On January 1, French pianist Richard Clayderman will perform at the Shanghai Grand Stage; on January 3, the Beethoven Orchestra of Bonn will perform at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center; on January 4 the Kammer Phiharmonic Orchestra of Leipzig will also perform at the center.

The highlight is expected to be the Beethoven Orchestra performing Beethoven's Symphony No. 8, his Triple Concerto and Strauss' "Tik-Tak Polka."

The 114-year-old orchestra under the baton of Swedish conductor Stefan Blunier will cooperate in the Triple Concerto with Chinese cellist Trey Lee, Finnish violinist Elina Vahala and German pianist Hinrich Alpers.

"Beethoven suffered a lot of physical and emotional pain but was still able to create music that has brought joy to millions of people around the world," says cellist Lee.

"That shows a truly hopeful side to humanity."

Though Beethoven is better known for his symphonies and piano concertos, Lee says the Triple Concerto showcases the cello and is very uplifting.

Beethoven did not compose many works for the cello but he realized the possibilities of the instrument. "In some cello sonatas and chamber music there are passages where he allows the cello to show its best asset - the ability to sing like a human voice."

The Triple Concerto was composed in 1803 when a nobleman student of Beethoven's asked him to write a work he could play for special occasions. Though he had studied for around 20 years, the duke was not able to play with considerable technical skill. To help him conceal his limitations, the Beethoven added the violin and cello, which play the difficult passages. The piano plays the melody.

The concerto has been played by many virtuosos, including Richter, Oistrakh and Rostropovich. Herbert von Karajan's version with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra is considered the classic.

The Beethoven Orchestra of Bonn is considered an ambassador of Bonn's culture.

Bonn is filled with the spirit of Beethoven, with many streets, monuments and other historical buildings named after him. "When I told a taxi driver I wanted to go see Beethoven's home, he told me the whole city is Beethoven's home. I hope to bring this spirit of Beethoven to Shanghai," Lee says.

Pianist Richard Clayderman has performed numerous times in China for around 20 years and he helped popularize the piano.

His adaptation and interpretation of both traditional Chinese music and pop won him many fans. He is expected to perform the famous traditional music "A Broad River" and "Butterfly River" and pop music such "Love Like a Tide."

The Kammer Phiharmonic Orchestra of Leipzig conducted by Elahiu von Erlenbach will present around 15 works, including Bizet's Carmen Suite, Strauss' "Blue Danube Waltz", Suppe's "Light Cavalry Overture" and selections from Leonard Bernstein's "West Side Story." Chinese selections will also be performed.

Richard Clayderman recital

Date: January 1, 7:30pm

Venue: Shanghai Grand Stage

Address: 1111 Caoxi Rd N.

Beethoven Orchestra of Bonn concert

Date: January 3, 7:30pm

Kammer Philharmonic Orchestra of Leipzig concert

Date: January 4, 7:30pm

Venue: Shanghai Oriental Art Center

Address: 425 Dingxiang Rd, Pudong

Tickets: 280-1280 yuan (US$44-200)

Tel: 6217-2426, 6217-3055


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