So far more than 10,000 people tuned in to the new HomeStream Your Helena Symphony presented by AARP Montana LIVE on YouTube, including audiences from throughout Montana, the United States, Asia, South America, and Europe.
The Helena Symphony continues its live broadcasts on YouTube Saturday, November 14 at 7:30 p.m. with a special Mozart by Candlelight. Last season’s Mozart by Candlelight sold out weeks in advance. This year, the Helena Symphony Orchestra performs the music of Mozart’s popular Overture to The Marriage of Figaro and his exciting Linz Symphony. Then HSO Concertmaster Stephen Cepeda performs Beethoven’s sublime Violin Concerto as part of the Symphony’s Beethoven 250 – and all by candlelight. Tune in and experience your Helena Symphony Orchestra.
“It’s time to celebrate the healing power of music,” explains Music Director Allan R. Scott. “We are not trying to duplicate or replicate the concert hall experience but innovate the experience of our music-making. The Helena Symphony was created for these very difficult times. Our music-making exists to literally save lives and to promote the spiritual and emotional well-being of our people. Despite the very different format, we will strive to continue to make lives better through music.”
The Helena Symphony announced a revised 2020-2021 Season – Season 66 – Part One: Reimagined and Streaming ONline. Branded as “It’s ON!” the Helena Symphony is proud to bring music to the community and throughout the state. Following months of collaboration with the County health officials and reviewing international studies on the impacts of instrumental performance and singing, we decided that offering a livestream into people’s homes is the ideal way to bring our music-making into the lives of our community in an innovative and safe way.
Mozart by Candlelight
As a child prodigy, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was immediately recognized as an unprecedented musical genius in every way. In nearly 36 years of life, Mozart composed well over 600 works. Born into the Age of Enlightenment, the era of the American and French Revolutions, and when liberty and fraternity were the centers of thought, Mozart’s scores exhibit an order, balance, and structure associated with the Classical era that was led and fathered by composer Franz Joseph Haydn. The Marriage of Figaro is no exception. From the opening moments of the overture, Mozart establishes this charming and witty work using the Classical structures of melody, dynamic balance, and harmony that draw the listener into an engaging story of comedy and intrigue.
Moreover, no opera composed before Figaro can be compared with it for development of ensemble, charm and novelty of melody, richness and variety of orchestration, and yet Mozart did this in a month’s time. The result is a comedy, yes, but more importantly a work with such musical prose that the sparkle of the comedy alternates with deeper sentiments of affection.
When Mozart was newly married to Constance Weber, the couple stayed over in Linz, Austria’s third largest city. There they received a wonderful welcome, and a concert was arranged for Mozart to present his works. Mozart immediately began composing a new work with furious inspiration, and within five days (an incredibly short amount of time even for Mozart), he created his Symphony No. 36.
“While the Linz Symphony was an incredible feat of quick creativity, the work is some of Mozart’s most finely polished writing and his longest symphony at the time,” explains Maestro Scott. “The work also proved to be a nice respite from the disappointing visit with his father. More importantly, Mozart proved to himself and his father his stature as an artist.”
As part of the Helena Symphony’s Beethoven 250 celebrating Ludwig van Beethoven’s 250th birthday this year, the special Mozart by Candlelight concert also includes Beethoven’s only Violin Concerto – and one that is considered one of the greatest works for solo violin of all time. Composed for a twenty-six-year-old virtuoso violinist, Beethoven barely finished the Violin Concerto in time for the performance, with the soloist practically sight-reading the solo violin part.
While most of Beethoven’s previous concertos were composed in the style of Mozart, Beethoven’s Violin Concerto was clearly making a new path. Beethoven transformed the concerto from a work of mere showmanship to a masterwork that requires the soloist to demonstrate the expected virtuosity with sensitivity, depth, restraint, and the highest craftsmanship of musicality. As is the case with Beethoven’s nine symphonies, no other composer dared to compose a violin concerto of similar character and proportions until Brahms produced his own violin concerto more than seventy years later. Most importantly, it was Beethoven’s vision for his Violin Concerto that gives the work its hallmark. Like his Romantic symphonies, Beethoven allows art, virtuosity, and larger-than-life ideas to dominate, and the result is one of the best-known violin concertos ever composed.
This Season also marks Violinist Stephen Cepeda’s fifteenth year as Concertmaster of the Helena Symphony Orchestra. He has appeared as soloist with the HSO on several occasions, including performances of violin concertos by Sibelius, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Britten, Korngold, and Tchaikovsky. Performing with Maestro Scott, Mr. Cepeda appeared as soloist with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra on multiple occasions, and performed with the Lamont Symphony Orchestra at Denver University. In the summer of 2009, he completed a tour throughout Southeast Asia performing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, including a recital at the United States Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam. Mr. Cepeda is a founding member of the award-winning Meritage String Quartet, which was featured on Emmy Award-winning television series 11th & Grant on PBS.
HomeStream Your Helena Symphony presented by AARP Montana
The Helena Symphony is especially grateful to AARP Montana, who secured the naming rights to the new HomeStream Your Helena Symphony. “AARP Montana is so excited to help bring the artistic excellence of the Helena Symphony’s music-making to people in the safety of their homes,” says Tim Summers, State Director of AARP Montana.
These live streams can be viewed on a smart phone, tablet, laptop and desktop computers, smart televisions, and televisions connected to the internet – or anywhere you have access to YouTube. Most televisions offer YouTube as an app or can be attached to another computing device to watch on the big screen. While nothing can replace the experience of attending a live performance, we feel that the live stream offers new and exciting way to enjoy a concert. Each stream will be shot by 6-7 cameras and the camera crew will be able to operate within the Orchestra, offering close-up shots of musicians and soloists, front-side views of Maestro Scott, and visuals that are not possible by sitting in the auditorium. We will also have a pre-concert host, and short backstage interviews prior to walking onstage or at intermission. We are excited to present the Helena Symphony in a more personal, up-close manner.
There is no charge for the HomeStream Your Helena Symphony presented by AARP Montana, which will be available on YouTube, the Helena Symphony’s website, and the Symphony’s Facebook page. There will be an option available online to make a donation to the Helena Symphony.
Subscribers will continue to receive Concert Watch Packs for each concert, as well as access to the Pre-Concert Conversations online with Maestro Scott and guest artists 45 minutes prior to most concerts, and The Art of Listening newsletter with information about the concert, including Maestro Scott’s program notes.