When one thinks of classical music, the first names that come to mind are Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven. They are the standard by which all other classical composers are judged.

Marcelo Bussiki, music director and conductor of our magnificent Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra, said, "I think that audiences in general love both Beethoven's and Mozart's work because it is simply great music ... music that speaks directly to the audience in a genuine manner, each of them, in their own ways, with a touch of genius and craftsmanship,"

This evening, area audiences will get to enjoy two of the most beloved compositions by Beethoven and Mozart, performed by our fantastic symphony.

Major Masterpieces will feature Mozart's Symphony No. 40, K. 550 in G minor and Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, Op. 55 in E-flat major, also known as Eroica. Last year, BBC Music Magazine surveyed 151 conductors around the world, who named Eroica the greatest symphony of all time. Interestingly, some critics at the world premiere of Eroica said it was too long and too "shrill." It wasn't long though until it was considered a masterpiece.

Major Masterpieces will be at 5 p.m. in Rudder Theatre on the campus of Texas A&M University. Tickets are $44 for adults and $16 for students, available at the MSC Box Office on the first floor of Rudder Tower.

Bussiki said, "Musicians love to perform these works because of the beauty and the diverse challenges that each one of them present.

"They are diametrically opposed in terms of demands: Mozart No. 40 requires an elegant, crystal touch, and formal clarity. While the Beethoven requires a balance between what I described for the Mozart, but with added outbursts and unexpected surprises."

Mozart wrote his Symphony No. 40 in 1788. It is one of only two symphonies Mozart composed in a minor key.

Eroica, the heroic symphony, was written by Beethoven primarily in 1803-1804. Beethoven originally dedicated the work to Napoleon, but later erased that reference in fear that he would lose his royal commission if the dedication remained.

As is usual, Ann Thompson will present a free talk on the composers and the music, beginning at 4 p.m. in the Rudder Theatre complex. After the concert, patrons are invited to a social hour at Napa Flats.

Today's concert is sponsored by Population and Survey Analysts. Official sponsor of the Symphony season is CHI St. Joseph Health.

Exhibitions

The holidays are a crazy time full of activities, parties and events. It is important to take a bit of time to withdraw from the madness and enjoy some "me" time. One of the best ways to do that is to visit area museums and tour the exciting exhibits they offer.

Here are some of the exhibits on display during the Christmas season:

The Legacy of Ranching: Preserving the Past, Embracing the Future, George Bush Presidential Library and Museum. What could be a more appropriate exhibit for a museum located near the headquarters of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, the premier agriculture service agency in the country? Legacy of Ranching chronicles the impact of ranching and livestock on Texas through more than 250 artifacts, videos and an historic chuck-wagon. The museum is open Mondays through Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. The exhibit will be on display through Jan. 8. For more information, go to bush41.org or call 979-691-4014.

Heirloom Genealogy: Tracing Your Family Treasures, Star of the Republic Museum at Wasington-0n-the-Brazos State Historic Site. Learn more about the people who created and settled this great state through lineage research. The exhibit will run through February. The museum is located between Navasota and Brenham off Texas 105. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students and children 6 and older. For more information, go to wheretexasbecametexas.org or www.starmuseum.org or call 936-878-2214.

Women Painting Women: In Ernest, J. Wayne Stark Galleries in the Memorial Student Center on the Texas A&M campus. Take a look at today's woman through the eyes of 30 female artists. The exhibit runs through Dec. 16. The gallery is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and admission is free. For more information, go to uart.tamu.edu.

Freedom Ain't Free, Brazos Valley African American Museum. The little-known history of the influence of African Americans on the development of the West is told through the award-winning watercolors and limited-edition prints of Texas artist Burl Washington. The exhibit runs through Dec. 30. Located at 500 E. Pruitt St. in Bryan, the museum is open Tuesdays through Fridays 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $2 for students. For more information, go to bvaam.org or call 979-775-3961.

Overtures

Nov. 28-29 -- Christmas Wonderland Holiday Spectacular, MSC OPAS, Rudder Auditorium, $23-$75. (boxoffice.tamu.edu)

• Nov. 30-Dec. 3 -- The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden and The Long Christmas Dinner, two plays by Thornton Wilder, Blinn College Bryan Campus Theatre Arts Program, $5 to $10. (blinn.edu/vpa)

Nov. 29-Dec. 3 -- The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Unity Theatre, 300 Church St. in Brenham. $10 to $15. (unitybrenham.org)

Nov. 30-Dec. 16 -- The Game's Afoot or Holmes for the Holidays, StageCenter, 201-B W. 26th St. in Downtown Bryan, above Mr. G's Pizza, $10 to $15. (stagecenter.net)

Dec. 1-9 -- Chaos at the North Pole, Brazos Valley TROUPE, 29th Street Studio, 3702 E. 29th St. in Bryan's Town & Country Center. (bvtroupe.com)

Dec. 1-17 -- She Loves Me, The Theatre Company, behind JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts in Bryan's Tejas Center, $7 to $20. (theatrecompany.com)

Dec. 1 -- Lennon: Through a Glass Onion, MSC OPAS, Rudder Theatre, 7:30 p.m., $55 to $60. (boxoffice.tamu.edu)

Dec. 2 -- Percussion Ensemble recital, Blinn College Brenham, Dr. W.W. O'Donnell Performing Arts Center, 7 p.m., free. (blinn.edu)

Dec. 3 -- Blinn College Band concert, Blinn College Brenham, Dr. W.W. O'Donnell Performing Arts Center, 5 p.m., free. (blinn.edu)

Dec. 5 -- Blinn College Jazz Ensemble concert, Blinn College Brenham, Dr. W.W. O'Donnell Performing Arts Center, 7 p.m., free. (blinn.edu)

Dec. 7-Dec. 17 -- A Tuna Christmas, Navasota Theatre Alliance, 104 W. Washington Ave. in downtown Navasota, $7 to $14. (navasotatheatre.org)

Dec. 9 -- 6th annual The Nutcracker Ballet, Ballet Brazos, Rudder Auditorium, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., $8 to $30. (balletbrazos.org)

Dec. 9 -- Christmas on the Brazos, Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site off Texas 105 between Navasota and Brenham, all day, culminating in Candlelight Christmas event at Barrington Living History Farm. (wheretexasbecametexas.org, 936-878-2214)

Dec. 10 -- BCS to Broadway and Back, documentary short on the life of the late Randy Wilson, longtime artistic director of The Theatre Company at its home behind JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts in Bryan's Tejas Center, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., suggested donation $15. (theatrecompany.com)

Dec. 10 -- Holiday Pops, Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra and guests, Christ United Methodist Church, 4201 Texas 6 S. in College Station, $10 to $25. (boxoffice.tamu.edu)

Dec. 15 and 16 -- Elf jr., Brenham Children's Chorus, Dr. W.W. O'Donnell Performing Arts Center on the Blinn College Brenham campus. (brenhamchildrenschorus.com)

Every Sunday -- Open mics and poetry slams sponsored by Mic Check Poetry, 8:30 p.m. Revolution Café in Downtown Bryan, (miccheckpoetry.com)

Items for Arts Watch should be emailed to robert.borden@theeagle.com. Deadline is noon Tuesday before the weekend you want it to run.

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