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On the Upbeat OCTOBER 2010 • VOLUME 4, EDITION 1

The Santa Barbara Symphony

Nir’s Notes

2 0 1 0 - 2 0 11 S E A S O N

October 16-17, 2010

Dear Symphony Friends: Happy New Symphony Season! I cannot express my great excitement in being able to conduct the wide variety of programs being offered this season. To open the season with the powerful Ninth Symphony by Beethoven is a great honor and privilege for any conductor and I am most grateful to the Santa Barbara Symphony Association and the community for allowing us the opportunity to present this amazing work. Performing this monumental work is never simply a “regular” concert. Beethoven set new musical standards with this masterpiece and lifted symphonic literature to new heights. Beyond the power of his music, his innovative and brilliant idea to incorporate an ethical, humanitarian message, “All men will become brothers” continues to create an unforgettable moment upon hearing the Symphony No. 9 nearly 200 years later. For this extraordinary event, I am delighted to have three of our community’s premiere choruses join forces for the first time in this electrifying performance: Santa Barbara Choral Society, Quire of Voyces and Westmont College Choir. Standing in front of the orchestra and choir are four stellar soloists: Susanna Phillips (soprano), Elise Quagliata (mezzosoprano), Bryan Griffin (tenor) and Jason Grant (bass-baritone). You may remember Susanna from my debut season when she performed a most exquisite solo in Brahms’ Requiem. I look forward to her return and to working with these fine artists. We will warm-up your musical taste buds with a performance of Beethoven’s noble Consecration of the House Overture to open the program. I have chosen to pair this work with the Ninth to recreate a celebratory atmosphere for our opening weekend as this historically note-worthy work by Beethoven was also performed on the same night as when the Ninth symphony was premiered in Vienna. My newborn son Adam has stayed up very late with me (often as late as 3am!) to review the score and I am eager to have our wonderful orchestra and singers in front of me. I guarantee this will be one of the most exhilarating performances you’ll hear in The Granada. Musically yours,

Nir Kabaretti, conductor

Susanna Phillips, soprano Elise Quagliata, mezzo-soprano Bryan Griffin, tenor Jason Grant, bass-baritone Santa Barbara Choral Society Jo Anne Wasserman, Director Westmont College Choir Michael Shasberger, Director Quire of Voyces Nathan Kreitzer, Director BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)

The Consecration of the House Overture, Op. 124

BEETHOVEN

Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, “Choral”

Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso Molto vivace — Presto — Molto vivace Adagio molto e cantabile Finale, with soloists and chorus: Presto — Allegro ma non troppo — Vivace — Adagio cantabile — Allegro — Allegro assai

CONCERT SPONSOR

MEDIA SPONSORS

DICK & MARILYN MAZESS SANTA BARBARA CHORAL SOCIETY SPONSOR

Nir Kabaretti

Opening Weekend Champagne donated by Marilynn L. Sullivan on behalf of the

Santa Barbara Symphony League

Join Ramón Araïza for “Music Behind the Music” beginning one hour before each concert!

Sponsored by Marlyn Bernard Bernstein


Susanna Phillips soprano

Alabama native Susanna Phillips has attracted special recognition for a voice of striking beauty and sophistication. Recipient of the Metropolitan Opera’s 2010 Beverly Sills Artist Award, she appears at the Met this season as Pamina in Julie Taymor’s celebrated production of The Magic Flute, and as Musetta in La bohème, the role with which she made her debut in 2008. She also portrays Musetta on the Met’s Japan tour in June in a cast that includes Anna Netrebko and Joseph Calleja. This past summer she was a featured artist in the Met’s Summer Recital Series in Central Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park, and a resident artist at the Marlboro Music Festival. Susanna Phillips begins her 2010/11 season as Euridice in Minnesota Opera’s Orfeo ed Euridice with David Daniels, under Harry Bicket, before her Metropolitan Opera engagements. Additionally in opera she performs her first staged Lucia di Lammermoor with Opera Birmingham, and sings Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Boston Lyric Opera. Concert highlights include the Marilyn Horne Foundation gala at Carnegie Hall, and a solo recital in Chicago. Last season Susanna Phillips returned to the Met as Pamina with conductor Bernard Labadie. An alumnus of The Juilliard School, she made her New York solo recital debut at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall as recipient of the Alice Tully Vocal Arts Debut Recital Award. Following her Baltimore Symphony debut under Marin Alsop, the Baltimore Sun proclaimed, “She’s the real deal.” Susanna Phillips also appeared with the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Adina in L’Elisir d’Amore, and with Opera Birmingham as the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro. In May she garnered rave reviews for her debut at the Fort Worth Opera Festival as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni.

Elise Quagliata mezzo-soprano

Elise Quagliata has recently garnered notice for her dynamic stage presence, theatrical range and musical intelligence. Ms. Quagliata was heard at Florida Grand Opera as Cornelia in Guilio Cesare and Carmen in La Tragedie de Carmen with Opera Omaha. Her performance of Carmen with Pensacola Opera captivated the critics, one of whom pronounced her “one of the finest Carmens I have ever seen” (Mobile Register) and another “simply riveting” (Pensacola News Journal). Her “striking, bold tone, superb diction and excellent acting” (Des Moines Register) was also noted in her performance of Nicklausse in Les contes d’Hoffmann for Des Moines Metro Opera. Ms. Quagliata’s solo orchestral credits include performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and Mahler’s Rückert Lieder with the Reno Philharmonic. Other performances have included the New York premiere of Henry Cowell’s Atlantis with the American Symphony Orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall, DeFalla’s Sombrero Tres Picos with Virginia Symphony, Verdi’s Requiem with Westfield Symphony, Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody and Mozart’s Solemn Vespers with the Buffalo Philharmonic, Montsalvatge’s Cinco Canciones Negras with the Pensacola Symphony, DeFalla’s El Amor Brujo with the New Hampshire Symphony, and Mahler’s Rückert Lieder with the University of Connecticut Orchestra. Additional credits include solo work in Bach, Handel, and Gluck. An impressive recitalist, the New York Times recently noted Ms. Quagliata’s “rich, expressive voice and passionate delivery” for her collaboration with Jake Heggie and Carol Wincenc in The Deepest Desire at Merkin Hall. She has performed recitals in Basel, Kreuzlingen, Siena, Miami, New York, Pensacola (where she welcomed the King and Queen of Spain with DeFalla and Obradors) and as a guest alumni recitalist at the University of Connecticut. Adept in a variety of repertoire from contemporary to early music to jazz and cabaret, Ms. Quagliata has been especially lauded for her exceptional performances of American, Czech, German and Spanish works, and praised for the “glorious grace” which has characterized her Cole Porter and Richard Rodgers.


Bryan Griffin tenor

Tenor Bryan Griffin recently graduated as a member of the Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. He made his Lyric Opera debut as Edmondo in Olivier Tambosi’s new production of Manon Lescaut with Maestro Bruno Bartoletti, opposite Karita Mattila and Vladimir Galouzine. Bryan Griffin’s other roles at the Lyric Opera of Chicago have been Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Fenton in Falstaff, and Tybalt in Roméo et Juliette. During the summer of 2010 Mr. Griffin appears with Carlos Kalmar at the Grant Park Music Festival for Beethoven’s Mass in C and with Opera North as Rodolfo in La Bohème. During 2010/11 he sings Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the New Jersey Symphony and Jacques Lacombe, the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica with Giancarlo Guerrero and the Santa Barbara Symphony; and he returns to the Nashville Symphony for Handel’s Messiah. Operatic appearances will include La Traviata for Toldedo Opera and Pong in Turandot for Arizona Opera. Concert engagements in the 2009/10 season included Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Ivor Bolton and the Mozarteum Orchestra of Salzburg, presented by the Philharmonic Society of Orange County; the Austin Symphony premiere of Cary Ratcliff’s Ode To Common Things; Rachmaninoff’s The Bells with the Nashville Symphony and Giancarlo Guerrero; and the Mozart Requiem with Phoenix Symphony led by Michael Christie. Griffin also appeared as Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore with Toledo Opera. Recent operatic engagements have included Faust with Opera Grand Rapids, Gerald in Lakmé with Florida Grand Opera and Malcolm in Macbeth at Glyndebourne. In concert, Mr. Griffin has performed Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Sacred Music in a Sacred Space under Kent Tritle, Rachmaninoff’s The Bells and the world premiere of Michael Torke’s Parks with the Grant Park Music Festival, and New York City Ballet’s presentation of Stravinsky’s Les Noces at Lincoln Center. Bryan Griffin received his undergraduate degree from The Juilliard School. He was an apprentice artist at the Santa Fe Opera and a member of the young-artist program of Florida Grand Opera, where he appeared in performances of Paul Bunyan, Die Zauberflöte, and Lucia di Lammermoor.

Jason Grant

bass-baritone

A native of Los Angeles, bass-baritone Jason Grant has won acclaim for his elegantly expressive, richly hued voice. This season Mr. Grant sings Beethoven Symphony No. 9 with Leonard Slatkin and the Detroit Symphony, Jacques Lacombe and the New Jersey Symphony, and Nir Kabaretti and the Santa Barbara Symphony. He returns to the Alabama Symphony for Handel’s Messiah with Neal Gittleman and to the Buffalo Philharmonic for Verdi’s Requiem with JoAnn Falletta. In the 2009/10 season, Mr. Grant sang Beethoven Symphony No. 9 with the Houston Symphony and Louis Langrée, the Brahms German Requiem with JoAnn Falletta at both the Virginia Symphony and the Buffalo Philharmonic, and Mendelssohn’s Die erste Walpurgisnacht with Justin Brown and the Alabama Symphony. He joined Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony for Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol in Atlanta and on the road at the University of Georgia and at Carnegie Hall; sang the Mozart Requiem with Jahja Ling and the San Diego Symphony and with Hans Graf and the Houston Symphony, and both the Mozart Requiem and Zemlinsky’s Frühlingsbegrabnis with Michael Christie and the Phoenix Symphony.  He also appeared with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, led by Roberto Abbado, for Stravinsky’s Pulcinella. Other recent highlights include Mahler Symphony No. 8 for Lorin Maazel’s final concerts as music director of the New York Philharmonic, following concert performances of Tosca led by Maestro Maazel and a debut in the Bach St. Matthew Passion led by Kurt Masur; Mozart’s Mass in C Minor at the Mostly Mozart Festival, led by Louis Langrée; Don Fernando in Fidelio with the Saint Louis Symphony, led by David Robertson; the Bach Mass in B Minor with Andreas Delfs and the Milwaukee


Symphony; and Beethoven Symphony No. 9 with the Grant Park Music Festival led by Carlos Kalmar. Mr. Grant’s many performances with the New York City Opera include Pooh-Bah in Jonathan Miller’s production of The Mikado, Dulcamara in Miller’s new production of L’elisir d’amore, Leporello in Don Giovanni, and Don Profondo in Il viaggio a Reims. Career highlights include Angelotti in Tosca and Monterone in Rigoletto with the Seattle Opera; Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro and Colline in La Bohème with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra; Antonio in Le Nozze di Figaro and student performances of Leporello in Don Giovanni and the Four Villains in Les contes d’Hoffmann with the Dallas Opera; Kurt Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins under Keith Lockhart with the Utah Symphony and Opera; Olin Blitch in Susannah led by James Conlon; Henry Kissinger in The Nixon Tapes led by John Adams at the Aspen Music Festival; Salieri in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Mozart and Salieri and the Mozart Requiem with the Virginia Symphony; and many appearances with the Opera Orchestra of New York, including Duglas in Rossini’s La donna del Lago at Carnegie Hall and his debut as Maurevert in Les Huguenots, acclaimed by the New York Times as “elegant and expressive.” An alumnus of the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program, the Merola Program of the San Francisco Opera and the Steans Institute at Ravinia, Mr. Grant was the First Place winner of the 2000 Palm Beach Opera/Anton Guadagno Vocal Competition and the 1998 Dr. Loren Zachary Society Competition. Mr. Grant attended the Juilliard School and the Eastman School of Music, where he received the Performer’s Certificate.

Santa Barbara Choral Society The Santa Barbara Choral Society is a nonprofit music organization, community-based in performance and education. The Santa Barbara Choral Society serves the public by performing choral music at the highest level and fostering musical development and appreciation within the Santa Barbara community. Jo Anne Wasserman is in her seventeenth season as conductor and artistic director of the Santa Barbara Choral Society. She has worked with an impressive list of outstanding choral and orchestral conductors, including John Alexander and Lawrence Christensen and was chosen to participate in master classes with Paul Salamunovich, the late Robert Shaw, and Roger Wagner. She has been Master Class Conductor of the Oregon Bach Festival, Chorus Master for Opera Santa Barbara, and has served on the faculty of California State University, Northridge. Ms. Wasserman’s dedication to music education, the development of emerging young artists, and her philosophy of increasing cultural awareness has enlivened the Santa Barbara Choral Society’s commitment to sharing excellence in choral music with the arts community locally, regionally, and internationally. In their frequent collaboration over the last decade, Ms. Wasserman has prepared choral works for the Santa Barbara Symphony, including Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and Symphony No. 9, Mahler’s Symphonies Nos. 2 & 3, Zemlinsky’s Der 23rd Psalm, the Verdi Stabat Mater and Requiem and the Bloch Sacred Service. Ms. Wasserman conducted the Choral Society and a collaborative community wide chorus in the televised September 11, 2002 Worldwide Rolling (Mozart) Requiem in commemoration of the first anniversary of 9/11. She conducted the Choral Society and Orchestra in the Mozart Requiem on its 2005 Eastern European tour, with concerts in Prague, Vienna, Budapest, and Czesky Krumlov. Her international credits also include conducting the Choral Society on its 2007 Tour d’Italia e Bavaria in mass performances at St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican and in Greve, Italy, as well as in concerts of the Haydn Theresienmesse and Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna with Rome-based Nova Amadeus Orchestra in Rome and Florence, Italy and with the Suddeutsche Kammer Philharmonie at the acclaimed Musiksommer Festival in Ehingen, Germany. In May 2008, she conducted the Choral Society and Orchestra in a World Premier collaboration with State Street Ballet of Orff’s Carmina Burana at The Granada.


Westmont College Choir The College Choir is Westmont’s principal choral ensemble. This 50 voice student ensemble is under the direction of Dr. Michael Shasberger. The choir performs the classic repertoire of the past five centuries, along with spirituals, folk song arrangements, and music of other cultures. The ensemble presents several local concerts each year including a major work with orchestra, appears frequently at Westmont events, performs for Campus Chapel services, ministers in local church services, and participates in regional choral festivals. Recent tours have included the Choir’s 2010 tour to Seattle where the choir was featured in concert in the Oregon State Capitol and for a live television audience singing the Canadian and U.S. national anthems for the Seattle Mariners, the 2008 tour to Costa Rica and Guatemala, and annual spring tours that have included Hawaii, Colorado, Oregon, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, California and New Mexico. The Choir has been featured in recent years with the Santa Barbara Symphony in performances of Brahms’ Requiem, and with the Westmont Orchestra in the world premiere of Steve Butler’s Resurrection Oratorio and Bach’s St. John Passion. In a review of a recent performance the distinguished American conductor Eph Ely wrote: “Just an outstanding performance. I thoroughly enjoyed every captivating measure of your presentation. God bless and forever spread the Spirit.” The College Choir’s season this coming year includes its appearance for the grand finale of the Santa Barbara Fall Choral Festival at 7:00 P.M. on October 29, the Westmont Christmas Festival on December 3 - 5 at, performances of the Mozart Requiem with the Westmont Orchestra on March 25 and 27 (all at 1st Presbyterian Church in Santa Barbara), and a season ending tour to Scotland and England, for which the choir welcomes donations! For more information please call the Westmont music office at 805-565-6280.

Quire of Voyces The Santa Barbara Quire of Voyces was founded in 1993 to rediscover the sacred a capella choral music of the Renaissance and modern age. Director and Founder, Nathan Kreitzer, conducts twenty-five professional singers who volunteer their talents to present the highest quality of performance in historic settings. The Quire has collaborated with the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra to perform major works of the Baroque Era. Beyond Santa Barbara, they have performed internationally in over 10 countries and have accepted invitations to perform in England, Sweden, and Italy. In June 2010, the Quire toured Italy with a personal invitation to sing High Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The Quire and Westmont College reach out to hundreds of high school singers by hosting an annual choral festival to provide an opportunity to be immersed in a capella music, perform in historic venues, and work with highly respected choral leaders. Currently, the Quire of Voyces has six compact disc recordings available for purchase from Chaucer’s Bookstore, iTunes, and online at cdbaby.com/all/quireofvoyces. The newest release, Latin Mass II, has already received rave reviews. Nathan J. Kreitzer is founder and artistic director of the Quire of Voyces. Nathan began his career in music singing in the church. He later studied voice and conducting at California State University, Fresno, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance. He holds a Master’s degree in Choral Conducting from the University of California at Irvine. As a professional vocalist, he has appeared with the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, the Ventura Master Chorale, the Pacific Chorale of Orange County, the Irvine Camerata, as well as the Oregon Bach Festival Singers directed by Helmuth Rilling. He has studied under such conductors as Gary Unruh, John Alexander, and Robert Page. He has been singing and conducting professionally since 1989 and currently resides happily with his family in Santa Barbara where he is the Director of Choral and Vocal Activities at Santa Barbara City College and Director of Music at First United Methodist Church.


Notes LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)

The Consecration of the House Overture, Op. 124 Composed in 1822. Premiered on October 3, 1822 in Vienna, conducted by the composer. Woodwinds in pairs, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, timpani and strings. Approximately 11 minutes. Beethoven suffered increasing physical distress during his last decade from dropsy and severe intestinal inflammation, conditions exacerbated by his Type-A personality and his none-too-tidy lifestyle. He regularly sought (and ignored) advice from physicians, but he did believe in the restorative powers of mineral baths and water treatments, and many of his travels during those years were planned around extended stops at various German and Austrian spas. Early in September 1822, he installed himself in the town of Baden, a few miles south of Vienna (Constanze Mozart had been a regular patron there thirty years earlier in a barely successful attempt to preserve her health in the face of the constant pregnancy and worry that troubled the nine years of her marriage to Wolfgang), and he was immediately pounced upon by the enterprising theatrical impresario Carl Friedrich Hensler. Hensler, born in Würtemberg in 1759, had been involved in Viennese show business since 1803, when he became manager of the Leopoldstadt Theater, a small house just outside the city walls best known for its stagings of popular Austrian Singspiels. In 1817, he took over the management of the Theater-an-der-Wien, and four years later acquired the Josephstadt, which he completely renovated. The refurbished theater was to be reopened on October 3, 1822, the eve of the Emperor’s nameday, and for its inaugural performances Hensler invited Beethoven to resurrect The Ruins of Athens, a ceremonial play with incidental music that he had supplied for the opening of the National Theater in Budapest ten years before. The text was to be rewritten for the occasion by the Viennese poet Carl Meisl, but most of the Ruins music could be adapted for the Viennese spectacle, which would be appropriately titled The Consecration of the House. Beethoven, who was eager to renew his public presence in the city after having shut himself away for nearly two years to work on the monumental Missa Solemnis, agreed to supply a new overture and closing chorus, and to oversee the premiere. Beethoven fretted over the composition of the Overture, complaining in a letter from Baden late in September to his brother Johann, a prosperous pharmacist in Linz, that he was finding work on the piece “really very difficult to fit in with my water and bath cures.” Sometime during that month, Anton Schindler, the composer’s companion and eventual biographer, reported that “while walking with him and his nephew near Baden, he told us to go on in advance and join him at an appointed place. It was not long before he overtook us, remarking that he had written down two motives for the overture — one in free style and one in the strict [i.e., imitative] style of Handel. As well as his voice permitted, he sang the two motives, and then asked us which we liked better. The nephew decided in favor of both, while I expressed a desire to see the fugal theme worked out.” Beethoven agreed with Schindler, and built The Consecration of the House in a quasi-Baroque style recalling both the august French overture and the lively curtain-raisers of Handel. (Beethoven expressed great admiration for the older German masters during his later years, when he was much engrossed in the study and application of counterpoint and fugue. “Handel is the greatest composer who ever lived,” he posited in 1823. A gift of Handel’s collected works from the London harp maker J.A. Stumpff in that year became one of his most prized possessions. Around the time of The Consecration of the House, he also sketched a companion overture, never finished, on the name BACH, and shortly before his death, he told a friend that he was planning an oratorio based on the Handelian model.) The Consecration of the House was apparently written at lightning speed just before the October 3rd premiere; the parts, awash with copyist’s errors, were delivered to the orchestra only one day before the performance. Nominally, Beethoven, seated at a piano, conducted the rehearsal and the first performance, hoping to catch a few stray vibrations with his left ear, which still sometimes worked a little. In the interests of unanimity, however, all of the players’ eyes were fixed on Franz Gläser, the Josephstadt’s young house conductor, who stood behind the composer and gave signals at crucial moments. Beethoven’s appearance was greeted enthusiastically by the 400 members of the sold-out audience, though the Overture and Meisl’s literary rehash gained little favor. The Overture was played again, with somewhat more success, at a hospital benefit in Vienna the following month, and headed Beethoven’s memorable concert of May 7, 1824, at which the Ninth Symphony was unveiled, but the work did not enjoy much popularity during his lifetime. He


tried to peddle the score to publishers in Vienna, Paris, London, Leipzig and Berlin for nearly three years before it was issued at Mainz by B. Schott in July 1825. Though The Consecration of the House is the traditional musical vehicle for the inauguration of new concert halls around the world, it is one of Beethoven’s least-known orchestral works. It deserves a better fate. Sandwiched, as it is, immediately between the Missa Solemnis (Op. 123) and the Ninth Symphony (Op. 125), it is a product of Beethoven’s fullest maturity, his first important composition for orchestra after the even-less-familiar Namensfeier Overture of 1815. “If ever music was rich with mellow wisdom,” wrote Marion M. Scott, “it is this noble and strangely neglected work.” Sir Donald Tovey devoted sixteen fascinating and perceptive pages to its detailed analysis in his collected essays. The rarity of The Consecration of the House is almost certainly due less to any defects in its intrinsic merit than to its lack of overt drama, precisely the quality that has kept Egmont, Coriolan, Fidelio and Leonore No. 3 among Beethoven’s most frequently performed scores. The unusual form of The Consecration of the House (Tovey said that its structure is unique) is constructed of two separate, compact movements played without pause. The Overture opens with stentorian, full-orchestra chords separated by silences, a gesture reminiscent of that which begins the “Eroica” Symphony. There follows a broad woodwind melody whose phrases are punctuated by solemn harmonies from the trombones. The woodwind theme grows to heroic stature before giving way to rousing trumpet fanfares accompanied by chugging scales from the bassoons. Next comes a quiet, filigree paragraph of continuous rhythmic motion, similar to a passage in the first movement of the Nin-th Symphony, that reaches a climax before subsiding to make way for a halcyon strain of hymnal character. A faster rhythmic figure is introduced, quickly gains speed, and leads without pause into the second movement. (Beethoven used a similar technique in the Seventh Symphony to serve as a transition from the introduction to the main part of the first movement.) The remainder of the Overture is an extensive, spirited and masterful fugal working-out — in the Handelian manner heavily tempered, of course, by Beethoven’s own sensibilities — of the energetic theme presented by violins and high woodwinds. The Overture reaches an almost Dionysian frenzy in its second half through its rhythmic insistence, brilliant orchestration (though, curiously, the trombones are omitted entirely from the fugue movement) and soaring C-major optimism.

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)

Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, “Choral” Composed in 1822-1824. Premiered on May 7, 1824 in Vienna, conducted by Michael Umlauf under the composer’s supervision. Piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, contrabassoon, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, timpani, percussion and strings. Approximately 70 minutes. “I’ve got it! I’ve got it! Let us sing the song of the immortal Schiller!” shouted Beethoven to Anton Schindler, his companion and eventual biographer, as he burst from his workroom one afternoon in October 1823. This joyful announcement meant that the path to the completion of the Ninth Symphony — after a gestation of more than three decades — was finally clear. Friedrich Schiller published his poem An die Freude (“Ode to Joy”) in 1785 as a tribute to his friend Christian Gottfried Körner. By 1790, when he was twenty, Beethoven knew the poem, and as early as 1793 he considered making a musical setting of it. Schiller’s poem appears in his notes in 1798, but the earliest musical ideas for its setting are found among the sketches for the Seventh and Eighth Symphonies, composed simultaneously in 1811-1812. Though these sketches are unrelated to the finished Ode to Joy theme — that went through more than 200 revisions (!) before Beethoven was satisfied with it — they do show the composer’s continuing interest in the text and the gestating idea of setting it for chorus and orchestra. The Seventh and Eighth Symphonies were finished by 1812, and Beethoven immediately started making plans for his next composition in the genre, settling on the key of D minor, but getting no further. It was to be another dozen years before he could bring this vague vision to fulfillment. The first evidence of the musical material that was to figure in the finished Ninth Symphony appeared in 1815, when a sketch for the theme of the Scherzo emerged among Beethoven’s notes. He took up his draft again in 1817, and by the following year much of the Scherzo had been sketched. It was also in 1818 that he considered including a choral movement, but not as the finale: his tentative plan called for voices in the slow movement. With much still unsettled, Beethoven was forced to lay aside this rough symphonic scheme in 1818 because of ill health, the distressing court battle to secure custody of his nephew, and other composing projects, notably the monumental Missa Solemnis.


The awesome Missa dominated Beethoven’s life for over four years. By the end of 1822, the Missa was finished except for the scoring and some minor revisions, so Beethoven was again able to resume work on the symphony sketches. The chronology of these compositions — the great Mass preceding the Symphony — was vital to the creation of the Symphony, and is indispensable to understanding the last years of Beethoven’s creative life. The critic Irving Kolodin wrote, “The Ninth owes to the Missa Solemnis the philosophical framework, the ideological atmosphere, the psychological climate in which it breathes and has its existence.... Unlike the Missa, however, it is a celebration of life, of man’s earthly possibilities rather than his heavenly speculations.” The 1822 sketches show considerable progress on the Symphony’s first movement, little on the Scherzo, and, for the first time, some tentative ideas for a choral finale based on Schiller’s poem. At this point in the composition of the work, in November 1822, a commission from the London Philharmonic Society for a new symphony arrived. Beethoven accepted it. For several months thereafter, he envisioned two completely separate works: one for London, entirely instrumental, to include the sketched first movement and the nearly completed Scherzo; the other to use the proposed choral movement with a German text, which he considered inappropriate for an English audience. He took up the “English Symphony” first, and most of the opening movement was drafted during the early months of 1823. The Scherzo was finished in short score by August, eight years after Beethoven first conceived its thematic material; the third movement was sketched by October. With the first three movements nearing completion, Beethoven found himself without a finale. His thoughts turned to the choral setting of An die Freude lying unused among the sketches for the “German Symphony,” and he decided to incorporate it into the work for London, language not withstanding. The “English Symphony” and the “German Symphony” had merged. The Philharmonic Society eventually received the symphony it had commissioned — but not until a year after it had been heard in Vienna. Beethoven had one major obstacle to overcome before he could complete the Symphony: how to join together the instrumental and vocal movements. He pondered the matter during his summer stay in Baden in 1823, but had not resolved the problem when he returned to Vienna in October. It was only after more intense work that he finally hit upon the idea of a recitative as the connecting tissue. A recitative — the technique that had been used for generations to bridge from one operatic number to the next — that would be perfect, he decided. And the recitative could include fragments of themes from earlier movements — to unify the structure. “I’ve got it! I’ve got it!” he shouted triumphantly. Beethoven still had much work to do, as the sketches from the autumn of 1823 show, but he at last knew his goal. The composition was completed by the end of the year. When the final scoring was finished in February 1824, it had been nearly 35 years since Beethoven first considered setting Schiller’s poem. The Ninth Symphony begins with the interval of a barren open fifth, suggesting some awe-inspiring cosmic void. Thematic fragments sparkle and whirl into place to form the riveting main theme. A group of lyrical subordinate ideas follows. After a great climax, the open fifth intervals return to begin the highly concentrated development section. A complete recapitulation and an ominous coda arising from the depths of the orchestra bring this eloquent movement to a close. The form of the second movement is a combination of scherzo, fugue and sonata that exudes a lusty physical exuberance and a leaping energy; the central trio is more serene in character but forfeits none of the contrapuntal richness of the Scherzo. The Adagio is one of the most sublime pieces that Beethoven, or anyone else, ever wrote, and its solemn profundity is enhanced by being placed between two such extroverted movements as the Scherzo and the finale. Formally, this movement is a variation on two themes, almost like two separate kinds of music that alternate with each other. The majestic closing movement is divided into two large parts: the first instrumental, the second with chorus and soloists. Beethoven chose to set about one-third of the original 96 lines of Schiller’s poem, and added two lines of his own for the baritone soloist as a transition to the choral section. A shrieking dissonance introduces the instrumental recitative for cellos and basses that joins together brief thematic reminiscences from the three preceding movements. The wondrous Ode to Joy theme appears unadorned in the low strings, and is the subject of a set of increasingly powerful variations. The shrieking dissonance is again hurled forth, but this time the ensuing recitative is given voice and words by the baritone soloist. “Oh, friends,” he sings, “no more of these sad tones! Rather let us raise our voices together, and joyful be our song.” The song is the Ode to Joy, presented with transcendent jubilation by the chorus. Many sections based on the Ode follow, some martial, some fugal, all radiant with the glory of Beethoven’s vision. ©2010 Dr. Richard E. Rodda


Santa Barbara Symphony’s upcoming performances:

“Music Behind the Music” Pre-Concert Events with your host, Ramón Araïza FREE TO ALL CONCERT TICKET HOLDERS Concert Saturdays 7pm-7:30pm Concert Sundays 2pm-2:30pm (1 hour prior to each concert)

“‘Music Behind the Music’ is one of my favorite parts of the concert! We did not want to miss Ramón!” – Sandra Lindquist, SB Symphony Subscriber

Concert pianist, composer/arranger and music scholar Ramón Araïza presents “Music…Behind the Music!” These lively, interactive events take you on an insightful (and humorous) journey of discovery, shining light on the music you’re about to hear in the concert hall. Mr. Araïza’s extensive musical background, presentation style and passion bring each work and composer to life. Please join us in The Granada. Arrive early, venture in, and experience Ramon’s unique genius! Plus, make sure to read Ramón’s creative and artistic “Notes Behind the Notes” in The Granada lobby!

November 13–14

Scheherazade Sergio Tiempo, piano

Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 For single tickets, call The Granada box office, 1214 State Street, at (805) 899-2222

Santa Barbara Symphony Concerts One-time-only Broadcasts on

Saturday, October 16 concert will broadcast LIVE! ©On the Upbeat, OCTOBER 2010 VOL. 4, EDITION 1. Published for Symphony Series concert subscribers by the Santa Barbara Symphony, 1330 State Street, Suite 102, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, (805) 898-9386 — A non-profit organization.

Subscribe to the 2010-2011 Season! www.thesymphony.org  805-898-9386  info@thesymphony.org

Beethoven 9 On the Upbeat Program Notes  

Santa Barbara Symphony's October 2010 Program Notes for Beethoven 9.

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