The East Texas Symphony opens its 2012-13 season tonight at the University of Texas at Tyler Cowan Center.
Lee said he feels the weight of being placed in such a position as he hits the ground running making this transition.
“It’s been fun. It’s been hard,” he said. “It’s been an adjustment for me to finally have, what’s the word, the final artistic veto over everything. I really do sense that responsibility when I get emails and phone calls and we have to consider what it is we’re going to do. This is the last conversation, this is what we’re going to do. It’s not just someone seeking out my opinion, it counts at the end. It’s a lot of fun and we’re all having a lot of fun.”
While the concert was not programmed by him, Lee said it will nonetheless provide a fittingly dynamic and lively opening for the season.
“The music of Beethoven is often very energetic, very boisterous. It changes,” Lee said. “That’s what makes Beethoven so great, it’s the ingenious way that he manages to really switch back and forth between moods and ideas and emotions without it sound too off-putting at all.”
The concert will open with a “less-known but structurally very brilliant” overture.“People might not know how much (Beethoven) loved Baroque music, how much he loved Handel, for example, the guy who wrote ‘Messiah.’ There is definitely a Handelian aspect to ‘The Consecration of the House,’” Lee said. “It’s very old-fashioned in a way. There are a lot of Baroque-style, Handelian-style (aspects) where things sort of dovetail on top of each other, so you will hear the same sort of melody or tune being tossed around theorchestra. That’s the way people wrote back then. ... But it’s typical Beethoven. It ends heroically. It ends with a bang.”
“This one has a more relaxed demeanor. ... It’s almost casual and is somewhat low key. It’s like, ‘Welcome to my living room, grab a seat on the couch and let’s watch some sports,’ or something. It’s very warm,” Lee said. “And then the second movement it’s very striking. It’s not like Mozart at all. It’s not this fluid, heavenly kind of music. It’s very profound and very creative. It’s one of the most fantastic pieces of music in the repertoire and I’m sure the pianist will as well.”
The “Eroika” symphony, however, Lee said is considered by many to be the composer’s “breakout moment.”
“This was his real first masterpiece where molds were broken and when he decided to take symphonies to a different place,” he said. “Critics at the time were saying, ‘This is the work of a crazy man who can’t control himself.’ That’s what they said. ‘It’s got some good stuff but he doesn’t know when to stop doing weird things.’ It really went beyond what anyone was used to at the time, especially harmonically. There were so many strange flourishes and changes, though now we appreciate them for what they are.”
Tickets may be purchased at the Cowan Center box office or by visiting www.cowancenter.org.