RNS Sessions: Kristina Arakelyan - 'Fantasia on a Theme by Luwdig van Beethoven' with Lars Vogt
Royal Northern Sinfonia perform the world premiere of ‘Fantasia on a Theme by Ludwig van Beethoven’ by Kristina Arakelyan conducted by Lars Vogt.
Inspired by his Waldstein Sonata, Kristina’s piece is a theme and variation in reverse. The music searches and fails to find Beethoven’s theme, before a euphoric discovery at the end.
As well as being inspired by Beethoven musically, Kristina discusses Beethoven’s ability to overcome challenges in his life – reflected in the unprecedented times we are living in now – and the music has a message of hope to collectively overcome our difficulties.
Kristina Arakelyan was commissioned by Sage Gateshead to write the ‘Fantasia’ as part of the RNS Young Composers’ Competition.
Performed live by Royal Northern Sinfonia, conducted by Lars Vogt, on Friday 30 November 2020 at Sage Gateshead.
About the music
Kristina Arakelyan (b. 1994) writes: ‘Fantasia on a Theme By Ludwig van Beethoven was inspired by the rondo theme from the third movement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s ‘Waldstein’ sonata, Op.53. Fantasia is in reverse-variation form, with several glimpses of the main theme throughout the composition and an explosive fanfare at the end where the theme is finally heard in its full glory. Inspired by Beethoven’s music, it is a fiery composition, with frequent and sudden changes in character.
The choice of the theme from ‘Waldstein’ sonata is deliberate as it encapsulates Beethoven’s philosophical ideas about kindness towards one another and has a euphoric feeling, characteristic of melodies expressing Beethoven’s humanitarian intentions. Written one year after the Heiligenstadt Testament, a heart-wrenching glimpse of the composer’s most painful period, the sonata ends with a glittering C major theme, which appears as the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’.
Fantasia seeks to be a positive message to its audience, not only on a personal level of overcoming hardship but also as a Beethovenian message of goodwill and friendship between all people, encouraging us to overcome our differences just as the music overcomes its struggles and arrives at Beethoven’s melody.’