The Grand Classical Music Concerts at OSM

a person managing an orchestra
Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal – Kent Nagano

Have you ever been to the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal (OSM)? Since its founding in the 30’s, the OSM has distinguished itself as a leader in the orchestral life of Canada. Under the leadership of its actual Music Director, Kent Nagano, the OSM offers an innovative programming featuring orchestral concerts, recitals, chamber music, and special performances.

Earlier this week, we attended the Grand Concert Beethoven and Tchaikovsky which welcomed on stage the pianist Paul Lewis and the conductor Juanjo Mena. This program took us into the heart of the musical romanticism of the 19th century. The concert debuted with Weber’s opera Der Freischûtz which exploits the supernatural, the macabre, and the redemptive love of a woman. With all the characteristics of the romantic work, Beethoven’s concerto no 3 completed the first part of this concert. The second part was exclusively composed by Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique Symphony marked by a huge range of emotions, expressive intensity, and yearning melodies.

Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal

Der Freischûtz “Ouverture”, the third of Weber’s five complete operas, is considered as the first grand national German opera. In form, it descended from the Singspiel tradition where the stage works with passages of spoken German dialogue alternating with musical numbers but in content it could easily serves as the music to one of the Grimm fairy tales.

Weber selected the story from a collection of supernatural tales, the Gespensterbuch (Ghost Stories) of Apel and Laun. With a highly successful premiere in Berlin of the complete opera in 1821, the Ouverture was published separately under its own opus number. The Ouverture is a synthesis of the opera that follows, in which the forces of good and evil engage in a dramatic conflict. As in most fairy tales, good triumphs in the end.

Paul Lewis
Paul Lewis – © Josep Molina Harmonia Mundi

As Beethoven, most listeners consider the Piano concerto no 3 as the best of his first three piano concertos. Its premiere in Vienna in 1803 was hardly auspicious, the music was not appreciated, and Beethoven’s performance of the solo part received many critics.

Although laid out in the traditional three-movement format of fast-slow-fast, this concerto departs somewhat from previous concerto style, particularly in its emotional depth and drama, and in the intricacy of interaction between soloist and orchestra. The opening orchestral passage is the longest of any Beethoven concerto, and is outstanding for its urgency and sense of reserved power. For its first time at the OSM, the pianist Paul Lewis brilliantly interpreted this piano concerto.

a person seating on a table
Juanjo Mena – © Michal Novak

The Symphony no 6 “Pathétique” was the last symphony created by Tchaikovsky. He started working on this symphony in 1893 and conducted the first performance the same year in St. Petersburg. However, it was only mildly successful due to many factors. Nevertheless, he declared that it was “the best and especially the most sincere of my works. I love it as I have never loved any of my other musical creations.”

We are not that familiar with the technical terms used to qualify the classical music but one thing for sure you can definitely enjoy a concert without being an expert. We invite you to consult the programming of the ongoing season at The regular ticket price for the Grand Concert Series starts at 45$ and you can get discounted rates depending on your age. Grab a seat and enjoy!