In anticipation of our Season Debut concerts featuring Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (Sept. 17 & 18), the Des Moines Symphony is pleased to introduce our first-ever Symphony Week, held Sept. 12-18 at various locations in the city!
Here are the highlights:
Symphony With A Twist (5:30-7 p.m., Sept. 8)
Kick off Symphony Week early with Symphony With a Twist, presented by the Des Moines Symphony and YPC. This event is geared toward young professionals and offers a chance to mingle with friends, enjoy complimentary snacks, hear live music and learn more about the Des Moines Symphony. Free, with a cash bar. Recital Hall, Temple for Performing Arts, 1011 Locust St.
Road to Joy: A Beethoven scavenger hunt leading to lunchtime dining specials throughout Des Moines (Sept. 12-16)
Follow the Des Moines Symphony on Facebook and Twitter Sept. 12-16 for clues to where our bust of Beethoven (pictured above) is having lunch! Participating restaurants include Proof, Hessen Haus, BOS, Kirkwood Lounge and Django. Say “Des Moines Symphony” at the spot where Beethoven is dining, and you’ll receive a great discount on your lunch bill!
Surprise music performances (Sept. 12-16)
Be happily surprised by music performances throughout the city of Des Moines! We can’t tell you exactly where, but expect three, free surprise lunchtime performances by our extraordinary Des Moines Symphony musicians (and some special guests) the week of Sept. 12-16.
Educational activities (Sept. 13 and 14)
Sept. 13 - Test your classical music smarts as the Des Moines Symphony is featured in the Des Moines Social Club’s Tuesday Trivia event! This event is free.
Sept. 14 - Enroll in our Classical Conversations class to learn more about our Season Debut concert! $60 for four classes on Sep 14, Nov 2, Feb 29 and May 9.
Lunch and Learns: A benefit of being a Des Moines Symphony corporate sponsor is having a Lunch and Learn event at your business! Lunch and Learns take place at EMC Insurance Companies and Pioneer Hi-Bred in the week leading up to Symphony Week.
Prepare yourself for the Des Moines Symphony’s 74th annual Season Debut: Ode to Joy with some little known facts about the man and the most performed orchestral work of all time — Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, you know, the one with the famous Ode to Joy finale! Be sure to hear it live September 17 and 18. — Pam Neubauer, Des Moines Symphony intern
1. Beethoven 9 was adopted as the European National Anthem in 1972. In 1985, it became the official anthem of the European Union.
2. It was the last of Beethoven’s symphonies, completed in 1824, just three years before his death.
3. It is considered one of the first examples of a choral symphony by a major composer. Words are sung in the final movement by four vocal soloists and a chorus.
4. The words in the final movement were taken from the “Ode to Joy” poem written by Friedrich von Schiller in 1785.
5. Symphony No. 9 was premiered in Vienna on May 7, 1824. By this time, Beethoven was completely deaf. At the end of the piece, the crowd burst into applause but Beethoven, who had been a few measures behind the symphony, continued to conduct. The contralto, Caroline Unger, walked over to Beethoven and turned him around so he could accept the rousing applause.
6. It was customary at that time for the Imperial couple to have three ovations whenever they entered a hall. Beethoven received five that night, causing the police agents present at the concert to break off the explosion of ovations.
7. This is Beethoven’s most heavily orchestrated composition, with ten woodwinds, nine brass, four percussionists, four vocal soloists with full choir, Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello, and bass. As if this wasn’t enough, Beethoven doubled every wind part for the premiere. If he hadn’t lost his hearing before, he probably would have that night!
8. Don’t think Beethoven has any affect on your day to day life? Think again. When Philips started work on their new audio format known as a compact disc, many groups argued over what size it should be. They planned on having a 11.5 cm diameter CD while Sony planned on 10 cm. One bright chap insisted that one CD ought to have the capacity to contain a complete performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. The duration ranges from about 65 to 74 minutes which requires a 12 cm diameter, the size of a CD.
9. Beethoven was a compositional rebel, rejecting standard classical practices in order to write with emotion. While many of his contemporaries were disgusted, if not intimidated by this, his influence on composers to come after him shows how important a figure he truly was:
· Richard Wagner completed a piano arrangement of Symphony No. 9
· Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 in C Minor is related to the “Ode to Joy” theme in Symphony No.9. Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 has been both praised and chided as “Beethoven’s Tenth.”
· Bruckner used the chromatic fourth in his third symphony in much the same way as Beethoven did in the coda of the first movement.
· Mahler imitates the texture and mood of the opening of the first movement with the opening of his first symphony.
· Dvorak imitates the scherzo of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in his own “New World Symphony” in the opening notes of the third movement.
· The extremely familiar church hymn, “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee,” is sung to “Ode to Joy.”