CSO: Beethoven's 5th

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Vasily Petrenko, conductor
Simon Trpčeski, piano

Saturday, August 4, 2018
4:30 PM
Donor Gates Open
5:00 PM
Public Gates Open
7:30 PM
Concert Starts

Tickets: $75 / $25
Lawn: $10

Dining Availablity For Tonight: Ravinia Market, Lawn BarTree Top and Park View are all open tonight.


Strauss:   Don Juan
Grieg:   Piano Concerto
Beethoven:   Symphony No. 5

About The Artist

Program Notes

  • Don Juan was Richard Strauss’s first unquestioned hit score, separating himself from the waltz-master Strausses (to whom he has no relation) and revealing his talent for telling a story through music alone, especially in his other such “tone poems” like Also sprach Zarathustra.
  • Rather than the guiltless pick-up artist depicted in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Richard Strauss makes his Don Juan out as a larger-than-life legend of love, tracing three affairs de coeur before his duel to a willing death, weary of his womanizing ways.


  • Vasily Petrenko was named Gramophone’s Artist of the Year for 2017, exactly a decade after he was named its Young Artist of the Year. Petrenko and Simon Trpčeski are frequent performing partners, having recorded the complete piano concertos of Rachmaninoff and Shostakovich, the first and second of Tchaikovsky, and the first and third of Prokofiev. Petrenko is also in the midst of recording Strauss’s complete tone poems with his Oslo Philharmonic.
  • Already the most famous four notes in classical music, the opening moment of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony took on additional significance during the Second World War because of its short–short–short–long rhythm, which is the Morse code for the letter V, the unifying idiom of the Allied Powers’ “V for Victory” campaign (as well as the Roman numeral for five). That musical motif is often said to represent “Fate knocking at the door.”
  • Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony has been unfailingly popular since its first performance 210 years ago, inspiring numerous later artists’ work. Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky fashioned his own “Fate” motif to similarly be the central focus of his Fourth Symphony, and, more recently, one of the most popular hits of the disco era, “A Fifth of Beethoven,” featured in the seminal film Saturday Night Fever, was an adaptation of the first movement of the symphony.
  • The musical key of C minor was the palette for several of Ludwig van Beethoven’s most emotionally “stormy” or “heroic” works, most notably the Fifth Symphony but also the “Pathétique” Sonata, the “funeral march” in the Third Symphony, and the Choral Fantasy.
  • Later in his life, Edvard Grieg often spoke with disdain of the Leipzig Conservatory, where he studied piano and composition in his teens, but one bright spot for him there was getting immersed in the music of Robert Schumann: learning from one of the composer’s close friends and even hearing his widow, Clara, playing his Piano Concerto. The influence ran so deep that Grieg wrote his own Piano Concerto in the same key and similarly gave the soloist the sole focus, creating one of the most powerful opening lines of all piano concertos in history.
  • When Edvard Grieg first met Franz Liszt, about a year after his Piano Concerto was premiered, the prolific composer-pianist played the solo part for a gathering of friends and musicians at his home, declaring to all his admiration for Grieg’s talent—high praise from classical music’s first superstar.

Park Details

Experience Ravinia's KidsLawn
at today’s concert!

For select concerts, including today’s, our new interactive, family-friendly space on the north lawn will be open for you to experience with your children. Today's KidsLawn features our large-scale percussion instruments on the lawn that will be open to kids of all ages.  See a full listing of KidsLawn dates.

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