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The University of Illinois numbers many illustrious virtuosi on its faculty who often perform on campus, such as the resident Sinfonia da Camera, who performed Beethoven's seventh and eighth symphonies with verve and panache on 3 May 2003 under their conductor Ian Hobson, also well-known as a pianist. Indeed, designed by the same architects as New York's Lincoln Centre, the Krannert Centre attracts leading international artists and orchestras for splendid concert series and is one of the major venues in the Mid-West, outside Chicago, and, alongside the University's museums and art galleries, well worth a visit.

Ian Hobson on the main green of the University of Illinois campus.
Ian Hobson on the main green of the University of Illinois campus.

Amongst the other performance events surrounding the conference was a notable lecture recital in two parts. Firstly an illustrated talk on 'The Evolution of Beethoven's Structural Models: The "Waldstein" and Beyond' by Steven Lubin of Purchase College, SUNY, a noted concert pianist whose lively reading of the piece was complemented by some witty explication of the work's teleological tonal logic. His unconventional use of a circular bread roll to highlight a Taurus-like arrangement of key sequences was an imaginative example of 'Bagelian' aesthetics. In the second part a talk by Erik Horak-Hult on 'Beethoven's Song reworkings and the "Distant Beloved"' was followed by an intriguing performance of Beethoven songs in different versions, firstly Sehnsucht WoO 134, a song in four versions, secondly An die Hoffnung, set as both Op 32 and Op 94, which had been the subject of a lively paper by the British scholar Philip Weller (Nottingham University), performed here by soprano Dione Bennett with Jeffrey Peterson. The concert concluded with an expressive, artfully shaped account of An die ferne Geliebte by the tenor Jerold Siena, Professor of Voice at Illinois University.

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Copyright © 7 August 2003 Malcolm Miller, London, UK


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