CULTURE

A slimmer Beethoven at the Athens Concert Hall

In what is a rather rare occurrence, the Athens Concert Hall has changed the program of its scheduled Beethoven tribute (March 26-29), featuring the London Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Kurt Masur. Originally, the tribute was to be composed of the entirety of Beethoven’s nine symphonic works, to be performed over the four nights. But, in response to callers’ requests for repetitions, the organizers have now scheduled just three symphonies to be played twice each over the four-night period from March 26 to 29, and have scheduled a new eight-concert cycle for fall of 2003 to include the composer’s entire symphonic opus, performed by the same orchestra under the same conductor’s direction. The first cycle, on March 26 and 27, will therefore be composed of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony No. 6 and Symphony No. 7, while the second cycle, on March 28 and 29, will feature Symphony No. 9 – one of the composer’s greatest works. This new program is a real treat for classical music aficionados, though they will have to wait a bit for the entire tribute, as it will be executed by one of the world’s leading orchestras under the baton of a truly great conductor, Kurt Masur, who has been the orchestra’s chief conductor since September 2000. In fact, Masur, former director of such eminent orchestras as the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig (a position formerly held by other great artists such as Felix Mendelssohn, Arthur Nickisch, Wilhelm Furtwangler and Bruno Walter) and the New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra (where Masur took over from Zubin Mehta) and currently director of the Orchestre National de France, is most noted for conducting performances of the German composers. Tickets should be booked in advance. Information from Athens Concert Hall, 1 Kokkali and Vassilis Sophias, tel 010.728.2000, www.megaron.gr