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San Francisco Symphony


Variations on a Theme of Joseph Haydn

Johannes Brahms

Piano Concerto No. 2
The MAX Concerto
[San Francisco Symphony Commission and World Premiere]

Anders Hillborg

Symphony No. 2

Ludwig van Beethoven


Davies Symphony Hall

Thu, Oct 12, 2023 at 7:30PM

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Davies Symphony Hall

Fri, Oct 13, 2023 at 7:30PM

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Davies Symphony Hall

Sat, Oct 14, 2023 at 7:30PM

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Event Description

In Variations on a Theme of Joseph Haydn, Brahms travels in time, using ancient musical forms to explore possible futures. In Beethoven’s Second Symphony, anarchic glee subverts Classical elegance. Between the two big Bs, precisely in the present, Esa-Pekka Salonen debuts his longtime friend Anders Hillborg’s witty and colorful new Piano Concerto, performed with genial sophistication by soloist Emanuel Ax.

Anders Hillborg’s Piano Concerto was commissioned for Emanuel Ax by the San Francisco Symphony with the generous support of John Kongsgaard.

Open rehearsals are endowed by a bequest from The Estate of Katharine Hanrahan.

At A Glance

Johannes Brahms’s Variations on a Theme by Haydn is based on the “Chorale St. Antoni,” an 18th-century wind-band movement with disputed origins. Brahms takes it through eight wonderfully inventive transformations before an elaborate finale on a ground bass.
The title of Anders Hillborg’s Piano Concerto No. 2, The MAX Concerto is a riff on the name of its inaugural soloist, Emanuel “Manny” Ax. Its contrasting sections evoke different styles of piano playing—“Grand Piano,” “Toy Piano,” “Hard Piano,” “Ascending Piano,” and more.
In his Symphony No. 2, Ludwig van Beethoven hadn’t moved far beyond the model of his teacher, Haydn, but the strength of his voice is still unmistakable. His later symphonies get all the glory, but at least one commen- tator found the Second “the most interesting of the nine.”

Concert Extras

Thursday, October 12 from 6:30pm–7:00 pm: A preconcert Q&A with composer Anders Hillborg and hosted by Phillippa Cole will be presented from the stage. Free to all ticketholders.

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