Freude, schöner Götterfunken
There hasn’t been what you’d call a massive amount of going out-and-about for me so far this year, but I’ve worked on that over the last couple of days (gig-going is on the verge of recommencing in the immediate future too, incidentally). A madras at Manzils on Monday was nice but not necessarily worthy of comment; a trip to Symphony Hal with me ol’ ma-ma last night was.
Part of The Philharmonia’s touring schedule, the main attraction of the evening was Beethoven’s 9th. It was originally due to be coupled with Schoenberg’s “Kammersymphonie,” which I don’t know but I’m assuming would have been… well, noisy. Y’know, Schoenberg and clutching at your ears in pain and noticing blood is gushing out and so forth. I mean that in a positive way. There’s nothing wrong with being challenged.
A change of conductor (from Christophe Von Dohnanyi to Sir Charles Mackerras) seemed to necessitate a switch in this, however, and we ended up with Mozart’s Piano concerto No. 27. No small difference, I’d hazard to guess. Once again I didn’t know this in advance, but it was very pretty (and very twinkly, as my mother pointed out) although not the single most instantly-grabbing thing I’ve ever heard. Various phrases and themes in it seemed vaguely familiar right up until the point I realised I was imagining it.
Diverting, anyway, but not the point of the evening. The ninth – oh yes. The Clockwork Orange theme, if you will. Bom-bom-bom-bom-bom-bom-bom-bom, bom-bom-bom-bom-booom-bo-bom. Three movements went by (swapping around the standard 2nd and 3rd movement symphonic form of scherzo and lyrical, if I’m correct. If not… well, I don’t know really, I’m just having a stab at pretending to know what I’m talking about), achieving a variety of moods in the way that little but a symphony can (I’m fading back into my own usual impressionistic talk rather than pretending know what I’m doing with the technical terms, now). Playful, happy, angry, storm-calling – it’s all there.
Then, of course, we get to the final movement. There’s a lot in that even in and of itself, but the collective smile of glee that swept around the audience when the orchestra began to play ‘that’ theme was undeniable and heart-warming.
Then, of course, the soloists join in. Then, of course, the choir. Oh, lord oh mercy – people often speak of how music sends a shiver down their spine, but this was the first time that had literally happened to me.
“Freude, schöner Götterfunken
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!
I had trouble sitting still in my seat, it was that much of a physical impact.
~ Russ L, still feeling a creepy feeling up his back when thinking about it.