Beethoven's Ninth

How could a deaf man produce a symphony? Ludwig van Beethoven did. His mid-20s found him battling an increasing ringing in his head and shortly thereafter he became completely deaf. Despite this seemingly fatal blow to his career, he went on to compose one of the most highly regarded, well-recognized and completely demanding symphonies ever. Beethoven’s ninth and final symphony is over an hour long—a gargantuan testimony to the hope and triumph of humanity and brotherhood (who couldn’t use a little of that nowadays?). It’s divided into four “movements” beginning slowly and methodically before building up to rich vocals and responding choruses. Beethoven himself was the conductor on opening night and, weeping, he turned to see, not hear, the applause of the crowd. The story behind this masterpiece is enough to jolt the human heart and renew a sense of thankfulness for all five senses.
June 4-6, 8 p.m., 2009

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