Known as The Choral, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 is the composer’s last full symphony. Completed in 1824, this majestic symphony is one of the most admired works in all of classical music. A complex, powerful and commanding work, the symphony is visionary in scope and represented the apogee of technical difficulty at the time. The 9th Symphony is almost universally recognised as Beethoven’s greatest work, and many consider this epic symphony to be one of the greatest compositions in the western music tradition. The work is seen as representing an important stylistic bridge between the Classical and Romantic periods in the history of Western Music.
In four movements, the Symphony is remarkable in its entirety, and especially memorable for the final movement which includes a full chorus singing Friedrich Schiller’s transcendent poem, Ode to Joy, now the official anthem of the European Union. The 9th Symphony influenced many later composers, including luminaries such as Brahms, Bruckner and Dvorak. This monumental work also penetrated popular culture, most famously in the soundtrack of Stanley Kubrick’s film, A Clockwork Orange.
Beethoven’s 9th Symphony is performed by the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale Della Rai (RAI National Symphony Orchestra) from Torino, Italy, and by the Swedish Radio Choir, Stockholm, under the baton of the renowned American Conductor, James Conlon. Both the Orchestra and the Choir date from the early twentieth century; and, through radio broadcasts, they each secured widespread national fame before embarking on tours abroad. The Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale Della Rai is globally renowned and the Swedish Radio Choir has become one of the most respected in the world with a repertoire ranging from graceful pieces sung acappello to powerful oratorios. Along with the Orchestra and Choir, three stellar soloists from the world stage, German Soprano, Aga Mikolaj, Russian mezzo-soprano, Elena Manistina, and American Tenor, Brandon Jovanovich do full justice to the sublime Ode to Joy, ensuring a transcendent experience for the audience.
James Conlon recently accepted the position of Principal Conductor of the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale Della Rai, the first American to hold that position in the Orchestra’s eighty-four year history. Conlon is also Music Director of Los Angeles Opera and Music Director of the Ravinia Festival, summer home to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He has served as Principal Conductor or Music Director of operas and orchestras in Paris, Cologne, and Rotterdam.
In his long and distinguished career, James Conlon has established enduring relationships with the world’s most prestigious symphony orchestras and opera houses. Most notably, Conlon has conducted more than 270 performances at The Metropolitan Opera following in his debut there in 1976, and has also appeared at the famed Teatro alla Scala, the Royal Opera at Covent Garden in London, Lyric Opera of Chicago as well as many theatres in Italy. He has won several important awards in the United States and abroad, including notably two Grammys and France’s Légion d’Honneur. He has cultivated a vast symphonic, operatic and choral repertoire. James Conlon emphasizes that not just the conductor, but all performing artists must surrender their egos to the music to give it a life of its own. And this is exactly what is required for Beethoven’s magnificent 9th Symphony. With a German composer, an American Conductor, an Italian orchestra and a Swedish choir with international soloists, this performance of Beethoven’s greatest work represents the heights achieved by music in a global world.
The Royal Opera House Muscat presents Beethoven’s peerless 9th Symphony on Thursday December 8th at 7.00 pm. For further information and booking, consult the ROHM website – www.rohmuscat.org.om