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Beethoven’s “Eroica” planned as centerpiece of BPO concert

Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony is stirring from start to finish. The expansive first movement opens, by weird coincidence, with a melody also written by the 12-year-old Mozart. The symphony’s “Funeral March” has come to be a comfort in the darkest times. It was played at the funeral of Felix Mendelssohn, and more than 100 years later, the Boston Symphony performed it after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The famous final movement of the “Eroica” is centered on an exhilarating theme Beethoven featured also in his overture “The Creatures of Prometheus” and in a set of thrilling piano variations.

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and guest conductor David Lockington are performing the “Eroica” at 8 p.m. Oct. 24 and 2:30 p.m. Oct. 25 in Kleinhans Music Hall. The concert also features a visit by the buzzed-about young pianist Conrad Tao. Tao has just released a new disc on Warner Classics featuring Moussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” and The News’ Jeff Simon called it brilliantly performed. For his BPO appearance, Tao will perform John Adams’ “Century Rolls.” Commissioned by Emmanuel Ax and written in 1997, it is a likable, whimsical piece, full of pep and percussion, that seeks to re-create the sound and atmosphere of a player piano. It has elements of jazz and ragtime, and orchestra and piano have to be in perfect sync to get the swing of it just right. With a bit of luck this piece should be a lot of fun.

Tickets are $39.50 to 89.50. Call 885-5000.

– Mary Kunz Goldman