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Beethoven's Great Ninth

5/16/2014 - 5/17/2014
Benjamin & Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center
1 West Second Street
Dayton, OH OH 45402
$9.00 - $59.00
Phone: (937) 228-7591


Beethoven's Great Ninth in Dayton

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Since the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra performed his first major orchestral composition, Júbilo, at Carnegie Hall in 1987, Puerto Rican composer Roberto Sierra’s works have been a repertoire mainstay for many classical orchestras. For a 1991 concert that featured Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Sierra—a professor of composition at Cornell University—wrote A Joyous Overture, using music from the Beethoven symphony for inspiration and similar orchestration.

Influenced by the music of Stravinsky, Bartók, and Ives, New Jersey native and composer Michael Schelle (pronounced "Shelley") played keyboards in various regional rock bands and also fell under the influence of Frank Zappa and John Cage. This stylistic duality pervades his composition Swashbuckler!, which Schelle himself characterizes as “action-packed.” In a posting on his Facebook page, he wrote, “The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra has programmed my action-packed SWASHBUCKLER (1984) ... Take THAT, Hans Zimmer, this is way pre-Hans Zimmer pirate music ... Rrrrrrrr.” (For this concert, Schuster Center ushers will check your swords at the door…)

Before 1824, no composer had ever used voices in a symphony. It is ironic that the first composer to do so could not hear the effect; he was almost totally deaf. But Ludwig van Beethoven had refused to let his physical impairment keep him from composing eight previous symphonies as part of an immense body of work. So, on May 7, 1824 in the Theater am Kärntnertor in Vienna, he sat in front of an orchestra, four vocal soloists, and a chorus—his first appearance on any stage in 12 years—and conducted a masterpiece. The music was his; the words came from Friedrich Schiller’s 1785 poem "Ode to Joy" with some additions from Beethoven himself.

On the stage with Beethoven, Michael Umlauf, the theatre's Kapellmeister, told the singers and musicians to ignore Beethoven, who gave the tempos for each movement, turned the pages of his score, beat time for the orchestra…and stood to see the audience applauding through five ovations.


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