My primary exposure to classical music is rather shallow, as I a am near complete musical moron. However, classical music is still a near constant background during my work day - I stream it on my PC at the office, and it plays as the hold music on our office phone system. To me, its part (not all) of the music of heaven; and we can glimpse it while still here on Earth.
I must admit, while parts of the 9th are familiar to me, I have never heard the entire symphony all the way through. I did last night, and I will never forget it. Ever.
The reason for the concert, was the welcoming of the new Music Director of the LA Phil, Gustavo Dudamel. Suffice it to say, Gustavo is amazing; I have written about him before here. But I was equally struck by the music itself, and the deep content of the lyrics; a concert piece written by a musical genius when he was completely deaf.
While enjoying greatly the early part of this piece, I was stunned and gladdened by the final choral refrain - performed by the LA Master Choral. This refrain is of the 9th Symphony is taken from a poem by German poet, playwright and historian Friedrich Schiller:
Let me embrace you, O millions!Across almost 200 years, from its premiere in 1824 in Berlin, the music of Beethoven and the poetry of Schiller filled a moonlit Hollywood Bowl last night.
This kiss is for the whole world!
Brothers, above the starry firmament
A loving Father must surely dwell.
Do you fall down, O millions?
Are you aware of your Creator, world?
Seek Him above the starry firmament!
For above the stars He must dwell.
How is it that we live in these times? A planet filled with so much joy, and so much pain. So much beauty, and yet overwhelming sadness?
And yet, a loving Father must surely dwell.....are we aware?
First, a link to excerpts from the 9th, just for the joy of the music:
And then a link, complete with shaky camera to the actual finale of the event at the Bowl. What a night!