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Beethoven Symphony No. 2
Wagner Wotan's Farewell and Magic Fire Music
Wagner Siegried's Funeral March
Wagner Die Meistersinger Prelude


Venezuela Symphony Orchestra
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The Beethoven 2nd is another of my favorite performances. This symphony is very much underrated. It amazes me that it is thought of as being so "classical". When I first "heard" this work in my head reading through the score without the bias of someone else's interpretation in the middle, I heard a symphony I had never heard before. It is full of a fiery, defiant humor. The long Codas of the first and last movements are already typically beethovenian in length and substance. The last movement is one of his wildest. I cannot understand why it is usually played with such classical restraint. It was wonderful to let it explode!

The Wagner excerpts were quite an experience to conduct. The sequence of these three pieces was designed to simulate a symphonic process, going from a tragic beginning (Wotan's Farewell), through a cathartic transformation (Siegfried's Funeral March), to a sense of liberation (Die Meistersinger Prelude). In this regard, the Prelude to Die Meistersinger has none of the "smell" of Nurnberg that many expect, but rather it is played as liberating music with no "program" attached.