Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Mighty Ninth

Saturday night, the Wife and I went to hear the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, with the Columbus State University Chorale, perform Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

I have mentioned before that I LOVE Beethoven's ninth. So I was excited about going.

A week or two ago, we finally got tickets. And I made the mistake of going to the box office with the Wife to get the tickets. Why is that a mistake? Patience, Young Jedi. All will become clear tomorrow.

Saturday night, we went out to supper, then walked over to the River Center for the concert, found our seats, and had a wonderful time. Well, I had a wonderful time. I'm much more into classical music than the Wife is. She's into country music. But sat through Beethoven for me. She's good like that.

The evening began with Symphony Number One, which I had never heard all the way through. I don't own it on CD, and I've never heard the whole thing played on the radio. So, it was an enjoyable experience for me.

After intermission, the full orchestra assembled ... along with the CSU Chorale ... and I sat with anticipation for the Ninth Symphony to begin.

When the music began, the chills went down my spine.

Did I mention that I love Beethoven's Ninth?

Why do I love it so much? Well, I'm a late-comer to classical music. I never thought much about it when I was younger. But I was exposed to it more than I ever realized. And, no, not on the radio. But on TV. Or in the movies.

I've alway been a huge Beatles fan. And, if you remember their movie "Help!" then perhaps you remember the scene where Ringo, on the run from the members of a cult of Kali, falls through the floor of the pub floor, to be confronted by Raj, the famous Bengal man-eater who escaped from London Zoo. Ringo was in no danger as long as they soothed the beast by "singing Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy' from the famous ninth Symphony in D minor."

And they did.

Plus, when I was young (as I mentioned before) I watched the Huntley-Brinkley Report on NBC. And they used the second movement of Beethoven's Ninth as the theme.

After I discovered just how wonderful Beethoven's music was ... particularly the Ninth ... I had the Ninth Symphony give me a pleasant ending to an otherwise not-so-good day.

When I was stationed in Korea, we didn't have a lot of TV to watch. There was AFKN (now, apparently, AFN Korea) ... and not a lot else for someone who spoke only English. At least, not up close to the DMZ. Might have been different down near Seoul.

Anyway, after a particularly lousy day in the Republic of Korea, I went to bed and started flipping through the six channels available. I found a broadcast of the orchestra in Seoul ... and heard the strains of the opening of Symphony Number Nine.

I smiled and went to sleep listening to Beethoven.

So, Saturday night, when the orchestra started Beethoven's ninth, I was moved. And when they finally got the the final movement ... the Ode To Joy ... I was moved to tears.

There's not a lot of music that can to that to me. And I can't adequately tell why I experience the emotions I experience when I hear it ... but it does that to me.

Saturday night at the Symphony. It was wonderful.


  1. He was deaf when he wrote it. God had one more thing to say, I guess, through the Big B
    I grew up listening to the opening of teh Second Movement on the Huntley-Brinkley Report. NBC should return to that

  2. I felt the same way when I heard Andre Bocheli sing "Can't Help Falling in Love" at the Olympics. I can only imagine how it was to be in the audience if it gave me chills at home!

  3. So glad you had a wonderful experience with the 9th, and that it touched you while you were serving in Korea. Tis right up there with my most fav classical works as well -- perhaps THE. It's really right on the cusp of romantic, as is much late Beethoven. Ludwig Van was a wonderful transitional figure in music. Such raw emotion. So sublime.

    And to imagine: due to his deafness, Beethoven never actually heard the 9th performed (nor any of his other late masterworks). If you haven't seen "Immortal Beloved" yet, do -- historical fiction to be sure, but a great story about the master and Gary Oldman is marvelous as LVB.

    My 6 y.o. daughter is in her first year of piano lessons and is learning for herself "Ode to Joy" from memory/by ear. My wife and I often sang it in choir during mass, and she (daughter) often accompanied us in the choir loft. I've got to get dear kid to settle down long enough to listen to the whole 9th sometime... good luck, eh? ;-)


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