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Whether you’re an avid fan of the orchestra, or you’ve never been to see one before, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard Beethoven. What is perhaps one of the most famous and greatest orchestral symphonies of all time, Beethoven’s Symphony No.9., is being performed by the Alabama Symphony Orchestra in Birmingham this weekend (May 31, June 1). Bham Now spoke with ASO Music Director, Carlos Izcaray, to find out why this piece of music is so special.
It’s not too late to get tickets! A limited amount remain.
The Ode to Joy: Beethoven’s Ninth, is the final complete symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven, first performed in Vienna on May 7, 1824.
Although Beethoven was almost entirely deaf by this time, he wanted to be part of the performance and was on stage in Vienna to indicate the tempos. It’s said that the orchestra had two conductors to follow on stage that evening.
This weekend in Birmingham, Carlos Izcaray, Music Director of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, will be responsible for conducting Beethoven’s triumphant ninth symphony, featuring the ASO Chorus and Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church Choir. It will be a performance you’ll not want to miss!
Carlos Izcaray on Beethoven’s Ninth
I spoke with Carlos to find out more about Beethoven, and here’s what he had to say:
Bham Now: What makes Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony so special?
Carlos Izcaray: Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is a monumental work with a special universal message of brotherhood, friendship, and of joy. It’s an opportunity to have the most gorgeous music performed and bringing everybody together as one community.
Bham Now: This symphony has a massive choral finale – what’s that been like to work with?
Carlos Izcaray: The beauty of the Ninth Symphony is that no matter how many times you play it, no matter how many times you hear it, every time that it happens it’s a special event. The fact that the voices come in at the very finale’, this is something special that had never been done historically. When the voices come in it’s always magical and has a big impact on everybody. That’s why it’s such a popular piece.
Bham Now: You began the Beethoven cycle in January. Tell us about the journey.
Carlos Izcaray: This has been a very rewarding marathon for the ASO and for our audience. Many people have attended all of them, or a good number of them. This has been an opportunity to explore a fantastic repertoire of some of the best music ever written. The fact that it was written by one person makes it even more remarkable. This was also an opportunity to explore other works that have some sort of tie, or are inspired by Beethoven, or pieces that inspired him. So we have been able to explore his epic life; all of the political things that happened during his lifetime, his struggle with losing his hearing, his spiritual side, and his love for nature.
Bham Now: What is coming up for the Alabama Symphony Orchestra to round off the season?
Carlos Izcaray: We have our final gift for the community as we wrap up our season with the three FREE concerts Symphony in the Summer at Railroad Park (June 7,8, and 9, sponsored by Regions Bank). We get to play outdoors and share music with the community in a very informal and fun atmosphere. Details are available from www.alabamasymphony.org and we hope to see lots of you there.
See the Alabama Symphony Orchestra perform The Ode to Joy: Beethoven’s Ninth
When: Friday, May 31, and Saturday, June 1. 7.00pm
Program to Include: Ludwig van Beethoven: Great Fague, Johannes Brahms: Haydn Variations, Ludwig Van Beethoven: Symphony No.9