Beethoven Symphony No. 1 + Symphony No. 9

 Saturday, 16 June 2018

BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 1 in C Major

Conducted by Rune Bergmann
Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827)
This concert presents a welcome opportunity to hear how profoundly Beethoven’s role in the history of the symphony evolved between his first and last examples of the form: from a faithful disciple of the status quo that Haydn and Mozart had established, to music’s supreme innovative visionary. It wasn’t until 1799, several years after Haydn had composed his final symphonies, that Beethoven felt prepared to test those same creative waters. The premiere of No. 1 took place in Vienna in April 1800. He clearly did not intend it as a major or individual statement, but to display an understanding of the current style. It fulfills that modest ambition perfectly. The magnificent symphonic journey that would conclude more than 20 years later with the Ode to Joy begins with a brief, questioning introduction in slow tempo. The ensuing Allegro is sunny and athletic. What follows is not at all the soulful, dreamy slow movement typical of the later, Romantic era, but a relaxing interlude set at a brisk, ambling pace. He called the next movement a minuet, but it lies closer to the scherzo/village dance type of third movement in which he would later specialize, than it does to the courtly steps of the ballroom. The brief introduction to the finale presents little more than a call to attention. Then it’s off to the races for the joyous romp that concludes the symphony.

Programme notes by Don Anderson © 2018

BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 9 in D Minor “Choral”

Conducted by Rune Bergmann
Featured Artist: Yeree Suh, soprano; Marianne Beate Kielland, mezzo-soprano; John Tessier, tenor; John Relyea, baritone; Calgary Philharmonic Chorus and Spiritus Chamber Choir
Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra

Ludwig van Beethoven
The creation of this towering piece, one of the supreme achievements of western art, spanned more than three decades. Once Beethoven read Friedrich Schiller’s poem Ode to Joy in 1793, he determined one day to set it to music. By mid-1823 he had virtually completed Symphony No. 9. But when he came to feel that it cried out for words to express its goals more clearly, he decided that his long-delayed rendezvous with the Ode to Joy had finally arrived. Symphony No. 9 was heard for the first time on May 7, 1824, in Vienna. The performance, which had been allotted only two rehearsals, was at best a mediocre one, yet it still drew an enthusiastic response. The first movement begins quietly, yet it vibrates with the expectancy of drama. Throughout this tumultuous movement, interludes of repose crop up, but tension and turmoil stand squarely at center stage. The conclusion is, if anything, even bleaker than the beginning. The following scherzo raised this type of piece, formerly a simple jest or dance, to Olympian heights of drive and brilliance. At times, the energy level and driving rhythm push the music close to the diabolical. The prayer like slow movement at last brings a sense of repose. It consists of variations on two gloriously warm-hearted themes. What better way could there be to celebrate such hard-won contentment than by sharing it with the whole world? Yet Beethoven did not do so immediately. After the finale’s turbulent introduction, he proceeded to first review, then reject brief excerpts from the preceding movements. Cellos and basses quietly state the finale’s principal theme, a melody whose very lack of guile makes it completely appropriate to its function. It gathers momentum slowly, yet inexorably, until a reprise of the movement’s opening outburst set the scene for the baritone soloist’s entry — and a whole new era in music. Beethoven’s setting of the Ode to Joy contains a tremendous variety of incident. Its kaleidoscope of episodes, in fact, makes up an entire symphony in miniature. They include passages of almost frenzied choral celebration; a march like tenor solo spiked with Turkishstyle percussion; a brilliant fugue for orchestra alone; and the simple, affecting piety of the central call to faith in God.

Programme notes by Don Anderson © 2018

Maestro Rune Bergmann

Soloists Yeree Suh, soprano; Marianne Beate Kielland, mezzo-soprano; John Tessier, tenor; John Relyea, baritone

Calgary Philharmonic Chorus 

Margaret Anderson, Jackie Annis, Jasmine Aslan, Brittany Bishop, Barbara Boland, Indrani Chatterjee, Tanya Chow, Bernie Constantin, Carol Cooper, Shirley Cumming, Janice Dahlberg, Ina Dobrinski, Gillian Forster, Hilary Gordon, Kay Harrison, Patricia Heitman, Amanda Holt, Briana Inlow, Helen Isaac, Heather Klassen, Kaitlin Krell, Catherine Lasuita, Lorrie Lipski, Barbara Mathies, Sue McNaughton, Susan Mendonca, Miruska Milanovic, Julia Millen, Patty Mino, Ivanna Odegard, Mara Osis, Karen Palmer, Anastasiya Petruk, Josee Robitaille, Anne Rodger, Monica Samper, Marian Žekulin, Archibald Adams, Nicholas Allen, Eric Bird, Timothy Cooke, Douglas Curley, Mitchell Curley, Kevin Di Filippo, Arthur Dick, Alan Dornian, Joshua Field, Ian Gibson, Allan Huber, Dylan Jones, Tyler Jones, Keith Odegard, Jackson Partridge, Dan Philips, Teddy Pope, Jerry Proppe, Alasdair Robinson, David Schey, Tom Van Hardeveld, Richard Wanner, Maxwell Webber, Jim Weisert, Keith Wyenberg, Timothy Ahrenholz, Dean Allatt, Tim Bell, Keevin Berg, Tristram Chivers, Lloyd Crosby, Barb Hogan, Jungsoo Kim, Oliver Munar, Peter Rilstone, Bryan Roces, Richard Seale, Joseph Stedman, Dennis Voth, Karin Baumgardner, Lindsay Bellemore, Ellen Borak, Michelle Bozynski, Leslie Bradshaw, Tricia Bray, Carolyn Byers, Christina Candra, Katherine Clarke, Sheila Cook, Gail Feltham, Lisa Fernandes, Ymene Fouli, Sue Galcher, Sim Galloway, Alison Gibson, Dale Hensley, Jessica How, Linda Janzen, Allison Johnson, Pat Knecht, Danielle Logan, Julie Miller, Hannah Pagenkopf, Ruthanna Penton, Gillian Posey, Colleen Potter, Kristen Seams, Lisa Sears-Walsh, Joan Simmins, Becky Standing, Chantelle Stevenson, Chandra Stromberg, Melissa Symanczyk, Norma Webb, Dianne Williams

Spiritus Chamber Choir

Dawn Coulter, Julie Crouch, Shari Derksen, Katie O’Brien, Jolene Rech, Kathleen Warke, Katherine Duncan, Kathy Hanna, Anne Heinemeyer, Julia Millen, Laura Paisley, Gabrielle Robson, Ari Agha, Dean Allatt, Volodymyr Amiot, Boyd Hansen, Keegan Janke, Paul Newman, Bryan Hryciw, Dave Latos, David Schey, Bob Serrano, Mitchell Stewart

Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra

John Lowry, David Lakirovich, Genevieve Micheletti, Erica Hudson, Bonnie Louie, Olga Kotova, Hojean Yoo, Hangyul Kim, Maria van der Sloot, Andrea Neumann, Lise Boutin, Eva Sztrain, Stephanie Soltice-Johnson, Min-Kyung Kwon, Craig Hutchenreuther, Steven Lubiarz, Jeremy Gabbert, Theresa Lane, Evgueni Alexeev, Jeanel Liang, Elisa Milner, Diane Lane, Laurent Grillet-Kim, Marcin Swoboda, Michael Bursey, Peter Blake, Arthur Bachmann, Daniel Stone, Carl Boychuk, Jeremy Bauman, Arnold Choi, Josue Valdepenas, Tom Mirhady, Karen Youngquist, David Morrissey, Janet Kuschak, Thomas Megee, Joan Kent, Sam Loeck, Matthew Heller, Patrick Staples, Graeme Mudd, Patricia Reid, Sheila Garrett, Sara Hahn, Gwen Klassen, Sarah Gieck, Jean Landa, David Sussman, Aura Pon, Steve Amsel, Jocelyn Colquhoun, Stan Climie, Christopher Sales, Michael Hope, John Feldberg, Robert McCosh, Jennifer Frank, William Hopson, Laurie Matiation, Heather Wootton, Miranda Canonico, Richard Scholz, James Scott, Michael Thomson, David Reid, Alex Cohen, Timothy Borton, Malcolm Lim, Sean Buckley

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