Thursday 26 Feb 2015, 7.30pmNational Concert Hall, Taipei

Esa-Pekka Salonen conductor

Sibelius Finlandia

Beethoven Symphony No. 3, Eroica

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Sibelius Symphony No. 5

Beethoven was just putting the finishing touches to his Third Symphony when his hero, Napoleon, declared himself ‘emperor’ and so, in Beethoven’s eyes, became ‘just another tyrant’ – Napoleon’s front page dedication was duly scored out and instead, ‘Eroica’ put in its place. The symphony itself is fuelled with drama, with brutal sforzandos rammed home, harmonic dissonances revelled in as never before, and fizzing virtuosity demanded of the players at every turn. In the second half, Sibelius's Fifth Symphony, which was completed just in time for his fiftieth birthday celebrations and climaxes in the finale’s indelible horn calls, was likened by one musicologist to Thor smashing down his hammer.