100 Things: Beethoven’s Ninth

Number 74 on my list of 100 fun things to do for no particular reason is “See Beethoven’s Ninth in concert.” Check. Done.

Last night I went to the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam (related item on the list — #70: see a concert in the Concertgebouw) where the Orkest van het Oosten performed Beethoven’s choral symphony. And by the beard of Wodan, how epic was that? Well, imagine seeing something incredibly epic, triple that, add an additional dose of awesome and then you’re halfway there.

And while I am so totally not downplaying the first three movement—they are completely awesome—how totally off the charts is it when in the fourth movement everything just stops, and a single voice implores you not to sing those tones, but rather something more joyous? And then, another voice starts Schiller’s An die Freude, an ode to joy:

Freude, schöner Götterfunken,
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische, dein Heiligthum!
Deine Zauber binden wieder,
Was die Mode streng geteilt;
Alle Menschen werden Brüder,
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.

Try stop whistling that. I dare you. I’ve got several parts of that stuck in my head, on repeat. There are worse things to have there.

Ode to Joy. Awesome in every way.

This was such an excellent experience, that I might just need to do that again someday.

Incidentally, last night’s concert was broadcasted live on Radio 4, and is available for streaming.

Seen Live
Orkest van het Oosten, Consensus Vocalis, Jan Willem de Vriend (conductor), Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano), Annemarie Kremer (soprano), Wilke te Brummelstroete (alto), Marcel Reijans (tenor) and Geert Smits (bass) at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam on July 19, 2011
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Piano Concerto No. 17 in G major, KV. 453
Ludwig Van Beethoven – Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125