Photography by Keith Saunders
You know the ‘Ode to Joy’. Perhaps you sang it at school, or played it on recorder. If you’ve heard Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony you’ll have thrilled to its sounds in the visionary choral finale that changed the course of music forever. But do you really know it?
Over a single weekend of intensive music-making, ChorusOz 2019 is gathering to rehearse and grapple with Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ – its music and its text, its philosophy and its motivation.
Beethoven may have died nearly two hundred years ago, but his music still speaks powerfully. In today’s troubled world, Beethoven’s struggles and triumphs and his faith in humanity capture the imagination. It’s no accident that his Fifth Symphony became associated with victory in World War II, or that the ‘Ode to Joy’ was adopted as the anthem of the European Union. And it’s certainly no accident that when the Ninth Symphony was chosen to mark the demolition of the Berlin Wall, the word ‘Joy’ (Freude) was replaced by the word ‘Freedom’ (Freiheit), the word Schiller had not been free to use in his original poem.
In a concert that will include the finale from Beethoven’s opera Fidelio and highlights from his Mass in C, those themes of freedom, revolution and the community of mankind weave together. And we’ll be getting under the skin of the music to prepare what may well be the most exciting all-Beethoven concert you’ll ever hear. Certainly, with a thousand voices and full symphony orchestra, one of the loudest!
ChorusOz 2019 takes place on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 June 2019. Visit chorusoz.com.au to sign up as a participant.
Sunday 9 June at 5pm
Sydney Opera House Concert Hall
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN
‘Heil sei dem Tag’ – Finale from Fidelio
Highlights from the Mass in C major
‘Ode to Joy’ – Choral finale from Symphony No.9
Brett Weymark conductor
Sharon Zhai soprano
Bronwyn Douglass mezzo-soprano
Brad Cooper tenor
Simon Meadows bass-baritone
Sydney Philharmonia Orchestra