Concert of July 5, 2016

Curiosities

 

The Ninth Symphony premiered at the Carinthian Gate Theatre on May 7, 1824. Though already totally deaf, the composer decided to conduct the orchestra one more time. Upon seeing Beethoven standing still and bent over the score at the end of the performance, the mezzo-soprano soloist Caroline Unger took the Maestro by the shoulders and turned him around so that he could see the thrilled reaction of the crowd who were waving hats and white handkerchiefs.

 

Memory of the world  

The UNESCO entered the Ninth Symphony in the Memory of the World register, as the universal hymn of brotherhood, thus including the world-famous composition in the Documentary heritage of humanity.

 

The Ninth according to Klimt

The Beethoven Frieze, based on the Ninth Symphony, was created by Gustav Klimt for the Fourteenth Exhibition of the Viennese Secession in 1902.  The Frieze is a sequence of allegorical images and covers three walls of the room specifically designed by Joseph Hoffmann. Created by Max Klinger, Beethoven’s statue stands at the centre of the room.

 

Beethoven's quotes


From Beethoven's letters

"to me there is no greater pleasure than to practice and exercise my art"

"I shall seize Fate by the throat; it shall certainly not bend and crush me completely."

"Oh, how beautiful it is to live - and live a thousand times over! I feel that I am not made for a quiet life."

 

The fall of the Berlin Wall

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 has marked crucial moments of Western World's history, such as the fall of the Berlin Wall. On December 25, 1989 this event was celebrated with an extraordinary concert in front of the Brandenburg Gate: Leonard Bernstein conducted Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. The orchestra and chorus were made up of musicians from both Germanies, the United Kingdom, the United States, Russia and France. On this occasion, the word Freude (joy) from Schiller’s “Ode to Joy”, was replaced by the word Freiheit (freedom). The event was broadcast live in more than twenty countries, reaching an audience of 100 million people.

 

Beethoven on the Web

The official website dedicated to Beethoven offers an almost complete overview of everything related to the composer: from scores to autographs, from paintings to books, from CDs to DVDs, everything can be viewed through an eye-catching video-guide of the different spaces of "Beethoven's House". The corner dedicated to children is captivating and well done; thanks to an animation worthy of a cartoon, children can learn more about all topics on the website.

 

In Stanley Kubrick's “A Clockwork Orange”, besides his passion for ultra-violence, the main character (Alex, the bully-boy played by Malcom McDowell), also has an uncontrollable passion for the Ninth Symphony. During the film, Alex goes through a reformation programme based on uninterruptedly listening to this Symphony.  Besides the Ninth Symphony, in the most important scenes of this movie, Kubric also uses works by Rossini (The Thieving Magpie and William Tell) who was considered to be Beethoven’s fiercest rival in nineteenth century Vienna.

 

Beethoven with his friends

What luck to have been friends of Beethoven, especially when he let them hear his compositions, as evidenced by the painting of Albert Graefle portraying the Master while he plays for his close friends.

 

Beethoven at the cinema

The movie business has always liked Beethoven: the first film, Eroica directed by Walter Kolm-Veltée, is dated 1949; in 1962, Walt Disney created a fiction on the life of Beethoven titled The Magnificent Rebel and in 1994 the film written and directed by Bernard Rose was released, with Gary Oldman playing the famous composer: Immortal Beloved.

 

Ode to Joy

Here is how Beethoven introduced Ode to Joy: «Oh friends, not these sounds! Let us instead strike up more pleasing and more joyful ones! Joy!».

 

The European anthem

In 1972, the European Council adopted the theme of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” as its anthem. The world-renowned conductor Herbert von Karajan made three arrangements: for solo piano, for strings and for symphony orchestra. In 1985, the European heads of State and government adopted Ode to Joy as the official anthem of the European Union. There are no words to the anthem of the European Union: with the universal language of music, this anthem expresses the ideals of freedom, peace and solidarity for which Europe stands. It is not intended to replace the national anthems of the EU member states, but rather to celebrate the values they share and their unity in diversity.

 

By Giovanni Bietti

Watch the listening guide for the concert of July 5 (in Italian)

Pappanoinweb 2016

Watch the videomessage by Antonio Pappano