URBANA — Sinfonia da Camera, the chamber orchestra in residence at the University of Illinois, begins its new season Saturday night at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Urbana.
This concert will feature music director Ian Hobson at the podium and behind the keyboard as the soloist in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor.
Illinois Newsroom’s Brian Moline spoke with Hobson about Saturday night’s program, which also includes Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 in C major, known as “The Great,” and opens with Rossini’s “William Tell Overture.”
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Hobson on the William Tell Overture:
“This is a great overture to a great opera. Of course, everybody knows the end of it, which is the western, Roy Rogers kind of stuff, but the beginning of the (overture) is really quite interesting. It opens with five solo cellos, and when Rossini wrote this for the opera in Paris, they didn’t have five good cellos, so he had to rearrange it to put a couple of violas in that. But we won’t do that. We will use our wonderful cellos.”
Hobson on conducting while also serving as piano soloist:
“It is challenging, but at the same time exhilarating. In a way, when you conduct these pieces, you have to worry about what the pianist is going to do. Is he going to slow down? Is he going to stop? Go fast? When I’m doing both roles, I can just give an eye contact to the orchestra, and we’re there.”
Hobson on Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 in C major:
“This piece, it comes at the very end of his life. It was never performed in his lifetime. It’s a kind of heavenly piece. How did he manage to write this in the face of all the tribulations he had? He was not in good health. He was never going to hear this piece. It’s spectacularly written. It’s profound in every way, but it has great humor, great humanity, and the more I study it, the more I learn from it. It’s one of those pieces.”
Brian Moline is Illinois Public Media’s host of Morning Edition and the 217 Today podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BrianMolineWILL.