Göteborgs Konserthus Beethoven’s Eroica

Event has already taken place. A masterpiece with the Oslo Philharmonic, conductor Manfred Honeck and pianist Martin Helmchen.

Concert length: 2 h incl. intermission Scene: Stora salen
370-530 SEK Student 185-265 SEK

Event has already taken place

Meet Ludwig van Beethoven’s timeless masterpiece the Eroica symphony, interpreted here by the Oslo Philharmonic and conductor Manfred Honeck!

Beethoven wrote his famous Heiligenstadt Testament in October 1802, which reflects his despair over his increasing deafness. In it he queried whether he would now be able to achieve the great deeds that he felt he had been born to achieve. His Symphony No. 3, the Eroica, showed that he would succeed. The story of how Beethoven tore out the title page from the score of the symphony, where the original dedication to Napoleon was supposed to have been written, is well known but has been told in many versions.

This evening’s programme also treats the audience to Robert Schumann’s sensitively balanced Piano Concerto, with Martin Helmchen as the soloist.

Manfred Honeck is Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, although he also conducts many other of the world’s most prestigious orchestras. He is a familiar name to many in Sweden after his years spent as chief conductor of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.


Explore the music.

Introduction to the concert

Take a seat in the Great Hall one hour before the concert begins and learn more about the music you will soon experience! This evening, Ingrid Røynesdal, CEO of the Oslo Philharmonic, and Sten Cranner, CEO of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, talk about the similarities and differences between the two orchestras, and how to collaborate across national borders. The introduction last for about 30 minutes, it is free and free seating in the hall. Warm welcome!


Schumann and the piano is a saga that was followed throughout life. At first with desire and joy, and then gradually with depression and physical (and psychological) challenges to a breaking point. In a famous essay from 1839, he fantasizes about where the piano concerto as a form should lead. Schumann wonders what genius it is that will be able to make the piano and the orchestra body not just a circus act, but a symbiosis of sonorous splendor. In the light of history, it can be said that Schumann was the one who became that genius, but it didn't come in handy as a one-shot. For more than 15 years, it was a single-minded exploration. The piano concerto's first form was in a one-movement fantasy, but somewhere in the mid-1840s, opus 54 was given a three-movement form. And already in the first note, it's as if we're hearing the next century's conclusion about what a piano concerto would become. After the orchestra's opening unison, the piano moves in downward cascades, surrounded by the orchestra, which then lowers itself to the sweet phrasing of the theme via alternating oboe and bassoon to piano and then in the melodic direction of the strings is carried further into the second theme. It is, in the year 2023, like for a moment opening centuries of music. Beethoven's Emperor Concerto (the fifth) strikes us, but equally we hear Tchaikovsky or, for that matter, echoes of Rachmaninov's Third Piano Concerto, not to mention our Nordic Grieg's A minor concerto... The great thing Schumann does with his piano concerto is to bring the orchestra and the piano together. They become part of a common sound. One is explored through the other, it is no longer just a virtuoso performance by the pianist, but a virtuoso performance by the composer, as a force that leads soloist and orchestra in not just dialogue, but in symbiosis. ESAIAS JÄRNEGÅRD

Intermission 25 min

Beethovens tredje symfoni från 1803 skakade den klassiska musikens grundvalar. Efter den wienklassiska första och den mer experimentella andra symfonin fann Beethoven med den tredje ett alldeles eget tonspråk. Den är expansiv, stor, och väjer inte för nya och oväntade effekter (mest tydliga är väl dissonanserna i förstasatsens inledning). Aldrig tidigare hade någon symfoni haft en så omfattande och musikaliskt utarbetad inledningssats, som samtidigt är fullödigt romantisk i uttrycket. Symfonins självsäkerhet och fulländning frapperar - likt ett skinande lok som ilar fram genom ett landskap där tidigare bara oxkärror passerat. Det visade sig i efterhand att symfonin var långt före sin tid. Mycket av Brahms symfonik kan exempelvis spåras till Eroican, vilket säger en del om dess epokgörande inflytande. The funeral march (which is said to have been composed a few years earlier for an Englishman of birth) is unique, a variation movement with a previously unheard of weight and emotional strength. Beethoven single-handedly expanded the dynamism of musical expression, making other symphonies of the same era appear puny by comparison. But it also meant that many listeners found the music bizarre, incomprehensible and terrifying. One wonders what the audience thought of Beethoven's loosening of the static meter in the scherzo where the phrases transcend and mess around with the three stroke, or the closing rondo which includes variations, transitions and quick motif visits from the other movements, for example the funeral march. Presumably listeners found a point of rest in the Viennese second theme (foreshadowing Schubert) which confidently and reliably returns at regular intervals. STEFAN NÄVERMYR

Thursday 4 May 2023: The event ends at approx. 21.30


Oslo philharmonic orchestra In 1919, the orchestra was established under its current name, but the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra dates back to the 1870s when it collaborated with Edvard Grieg and Johan Svendsen. The orchestra gives 60-70 concerts annually in Oslo concert hall, several of which are broadcast by NRK, the Norwegian national broadcast. The programs have a high artistic profile and present many of the world's leading conductors and soloists. During Mariss Janson's long tenure as chief conductor (1979-2002), the orchestra grew in size and gained great international recognition. Other chief conductors who followed were André Previn, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Vasilij Petrenko. Since 2020, Klaus Mäkelä is chief conductor. Since the 1980s, the Oslo Philharmonic has recorded a number of internationally acclaimed records, including Tchaikovsky's six symphonies (Chandos) and Rachmaninov's three symphonies and four piano concertos (EMI) with Mariss Jansons and the pianist Leif Ove Andsnes. Other solo recordings have included cellist Daniel Müller-Schott, trombonist Christian Lindberg, and violinists Hilary Hahn and Frank Peter Zimmermann. Under Klaus Mäkelä's direction, the Oslo Philharmonic has recorded all of Sibelius' symphonies for Decca Classics.

Manfred Honeck has a long career as a leading conductor and during the 1990s had a close collaboration with the Gothenburg Symphony. Since 2008, he has been music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, a frequently touring orchestra. Guest appearances include Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, as well as the major venues in Europe and festivals such as the BBC Proms, Salzburg Festival, Musikfest Berlin, Lucerne Festival, Rheingau Music Festival, Beethovenfest Bonn and Grafenegg Festival. Manfred Honeck's successful work in Pittsburgh has resulted in recordings on the Reference Recordings label with works by Strauss, Beethoven, Bruckner and Tchaikovsky. The recording of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 and Barber's Adagio won the 2018 Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance. Born in Austria, Manfred Honeck received his musical education at the University of Music in Vienna. His many years of experience as a member of the viola section of the Vienna Philharmonic and Vienna State Opera have had a lasting influence on his work as a conductor. He began his conducting career as assistant to Claudio Abbado and as director of the Wiener Jeunesse Orchestra. He has been one of three principal conductors of the MDR Symphony Orchestra Leipzig, music director of the Norwegian National Opera, principal guest conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic. Manfred was chief conductor of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in the years 2000-2006.

From the beginning of his career, Martin Helmchen has performed with the world's most famous orchestras such as the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony and the New York Philharmonic as well as the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. In Scandinavia, he has appeared with the Oslo Philharmonic, the Royal Philharmonic in Stockholm and Danmarks Radio's orchestra. In 2020 he was awarded the prestigious Gramophone Music Award for his recording of Beethoven's complete piano concertos with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin conducted by Andrew Manze. Highlights of the 2022-2023 season include concerts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, WDR Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, NDR Radiophilharmonie, Orchester Philharmonique de Monte Carlo and DSO Berlin. Martin Helmchen records exclusively for Alpha Classics. His most recent release was piano works by Robert Schumann in March 2022. His previous releases have included Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, Messiaen's Vingt regards sur l'enfant-Jésus and a duo album with Marie-Elisabeth Hecker of works by Brahms and Schumann. Martin Helmchen was born in Berlin in 1982 and his career took off when he won the international piano competition in memory of Clara Haskil in 2001. In 2022, Martin Helmchen and his wife received the Kronberg Academy's Pablo Casals Award for their project to promote musical life in Rwanda. Tonight's guest performance is Martin Helmchen's debut in Gothenburg.

Questions? Contact the ticket office
Kontrabasisten Jenny Rydeberg spelar på sitt instrument i ett rött sammetsrum

Give your life concert magic!

A subscription to the Gothenburg Concert Hall gives you unforgettable experiences and a discounted ticket price. In addition, many others to share the experiences with.

Subscriptions 2023-2024