Ludwig van Beethoven

As Beethoven set about composing his Third Symphony, his hearing was failing and he felt certain his life was about to get worse. That it was born in a moment of despair may help explain why the finished work, for all its grandeur, is extremely odd — employing devices that are by turns aggressive and mundane, somber and practically danceable.

This Sunday at 1 pm it's a re-broadcast of the 2013/204 season-opening concert from the end of September, featuring Beethoven's awe-inspiring Ninth Symphony. With its universal message of freedom and brotherhood, the Ninth is the crowning achievement of Beethoven’s revolutionary works, its famous “Ode to Joy” serving as a message of hope for all mankind. Showcasing the Westminster Symphonic Choir, and conducted by Music Director Yannick Nezet-Seguin, this performance launched a two-year cycle of all nine Beethoven symphonies.

The Choir will also appear in Beethoven’s rarely heard setting of Goethe’s Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage, as well as the world premiere of the young American composer Nico Muhly’s newly orchestrated Bright Mass with Canons for chorus, orchestra, and featuring the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ.

During intermission, WRTI's Susan Lewis speaks with Yannick about the program, and the new season, and WRTI's Jim Cotter sits down with both tenor Christian Elsner and bass-baritone Shenyang, both of whom play very important roles in this concert.

Not to be missed!  That's this Sunday, July 13 from 1 to 3 pm on WRTI.

Program notes

PROGRAM

BEETHOVEN:  Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage, for chorus and orchestra

MUHLY: Bright Mass with Canons

BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 9 ("Choral")
 

Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor

Twyla Robinson, soprano

Mihoko Fujimura, mezzo-soprano

Christian Elsner, tenor

Shenyang, bass-baritone

The Westminster Symphonic Choir -Mixed chorus

Joe Miller, director

Marco Borggreve

The Philadelphia Orchestra is performing a two-year cycle of Beethoven’s symphonies. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, although known to generations of music lovers, these great works continue to provide insights into Western musical heritage.

This week's Center Stage from Wolf Trap features Beethoven's second string quartet followed by two works which bring a real Brazilian flavor to the broadcast - just in time for the World Cup!  Bill McGlaughlin and Rich Kleinfeldt are your hosts on Sunday, June 15th at 4 PM.

Program:

Ludwig van Beethoven: - String Quartet in G Major, Op. 18, No. 2

  • Jerusalem String Quartet

Dorival Caymmi/Tiago Costa: Só Louco  

Stefan Malzkorn

Christoph von Dohnányi returns to the podium to conduct the Philadelphia Orchestra in a program of German masterpieces performed this past April at Verizon Hall, culminating in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, one of the most perfectly crafted works ever written!

Also on the program, Brahms’s Haydn Variations; which almost certainly gave Brahms the confidence to complete his long-awaited First Symphony.  In it, Brahms transforms a simple, lilting melody into a tour-de-force for orchestra.

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) wrote his seventh symphony in the midst of Napoleon’s attempts to conquer Europe. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the work, and its second movement in particular, is a tribute to freedom. Here, the Israel Philharmonic conducted by Zubin Mehta, performs:

This season, The Philadelphia Orchestra juxtaposed Beethoven’s path-breaking symphonies and concertos with those of the great orchestral master of the 20th century Dmitri Shostakovich...we’ll be treated to such a pairing Sunday afternoon at 1 pm.

Violinist Nikolaj Znaider's Beethoven Odyssey

Jun 2, 2014

Ludwig van Beethoven tried certain musical forms only once. One opera, one violin concerto, was all he wrote.

Violinist Nikolaj Znaider says he spent years preparing to take on, what he says is, one of the most difficult pieces for his instrument. It took age, and its attendant personal and artistic growth, for him to get beyond what he describes as "mere graphical representation of the music, those black dots on white paper."

Marco Borggreve

Conductor Donald Runnicles will be back here in Philadelphia next week to conduct the Orchestra in works by Benjamin Britten, Arvo Part, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. We’ll look ahead to those performances by looking back this coming Sunday at 1 pm, as we bring you an archival broadcast from a concert in February of 2005, which saw Maestro Runnicles on the podium conducting the Orchestra in the year he made his debut with the Philadelphians, directing works by Beethoven and Elgar.

The 'Ode To Joy' As A Call To Action

Jan 14, 2014

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