Beethoven's 9th Symphony
A Great Performance!
15-July-2010, Boston MA — Last night at the Hatch Shell, the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, and guest performers, truly honored Ludwig Von Beethoven with an excellent performance of his Symphony Number 9. The weather was terrible leading up to the event, with rain and overcast clouds, but as the concert progressed, the climate improved and blue skies peeked through this ceiling near the end of the concert. Beethoven's 9th is considered one of the greatest works of music ever composed, and is the anthem for the European Union. The audience greatly enjoyed the concert, and displayed a standing ovation while cheering in appreciation at its conclusion.
The concert began with American Fantasia by Victor Herbert and Overture to Consecration of the House by Beethoven, and then a brief intermission. Charles Ansbacher, Conductor and Benefactor, talked momentarily about Beethoven and his broad worldview in his time, a rarity, and then introduced the guest performers. Beethoven's 9th is divided into four movements, with a chorale or song with great harmonization, Ode to Joy, in the Fourth Movement.
The First Movement is called "Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestroso," which roughly translates from Italian into English, "Brisk but not too much, a little majestic." The Second Movement is called "Molto vivace" which translates to "Much lively one." The Second Movement is fugue-like with a scherzo (fast tempo with a waltz beat) using a vigorous string section and intermittent reed instruments. The Third Movement is called "Adagio molto e cantabile" which translates to "Very slow, lyrical in style." The famous Fourth Movement is merely called "Presto" which musically means "Very fast."
The concert was superb. Absent a giant bank of speakers that Rock & Roll bands utilize at the Hatch Shell, the sound quality was excellent. From the far side of the lawn, many of the instruments could be distinctly discerned. During the Second Movement, the vigorous, well-timed violin playing was excellent. Other instruments such as flutes harmonized well, with thundering timpani drums intervening during the movement.
Hugh Wolff was guest conductor, and was very enthusiastic. From a great distance in the audience, one could watch him direct certain sections of the orchestra to step up intensity in important segments. Mr. Wolff's body movement was quite animated, with the conductor leaning forward and listening to various orchestral sections, all the while greatly enjoying the music and almost dancing during parts of the concert.
Vocals were performed by Jayne West (soprano), Mary Westbrook-Geha (mezzo-soprano), Mathew DiBattista (tenor), and Robert Honeysucker (bass). The chorus was performed by New World Chorale, Holly Krafka, Director. During the Fourth Movement, Robert Honeysucker sang first, with his deep voice possibly being heard on the opposite side of Storrow Drive. The harmony was excellent between the four singers, and world-class. Jayne West reached the high notes near the finale, and the chorus was intense.
This editor observed most of the concert through a small lcd screen on a video camera, and thus by default listened intensely to the music. The concert was of the same caliber of several master recordings I have listened to over the years.
Please support the Boston Landmarks Orchestra. This institution allows any Boston resident, young or old, from any class, to listen to and enjoy Beethoven's 9th Symphony and other classic music, played by a superb orchestra, at no cost. Editorially, the Boston Brahmins that moved to the North Shore many years ago, and the trendy Euro-crowd from Newbury Street, were noticeably absent in the audience yesterday. This editor hopes they generously support such a fine orchestra that provides a valuable public service.
Contact Information & Address:
Boston Landmarks Orchestra (Hatch Shell Venue)
Storrow Drive & Mugar Way, Boston, MA