The Beethoven Club capped its yearlong 125th anniversary celebration with, naturally, Beethoven.
The city’s oldest arts organization presented a performance by the Memphis Repertory Orchestra Saturday night at the Buckman Performing Arts Center. The centerpiece was Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with violinist Gregory Maytan soloing.
Maytan and the orchestra did justice to the piece and to the legacy of the club that has changed with the times. For decades, it was a society club and brought to Memphis some of the world’s extraordinary talent, including Enrico Caruso, Pablo Casals, the New York Philharmonic and Isaac Stern.
As times changed, so did the mission of the Beethoven Club. Now it works with other arts organizations and serves to nurture and support budding artists.
It is fitting, then, that the Memphis Repertory Orchestra did the honors for the evening, as it is a young organization made up largely of young players and led by 23-year-old William R. Langley.
The evening opened with Mendelssohn’s pleasant Hebrides Overture as a warm-up. Maytan then came out and delivered a solid and deliberate version of Beethoven’s violin work. In its day (1806), the concerto was received with a collective “meh,” but later found favor and nowadays gets some good workouts.
Maytan played with plenty of confidence but really knocked it out of the park with the first movement’s cadenza. His vigorous and intelligent interpretation was beautifully expressed and nuanced.
The orchestra did good work, with minor intonation issues in the violins and an occasional rough spot, but overall giving a worthwhile performance.