Celebrating Margaret Wilson

StarPhoenix article with Margaret Wilson (Née Bluhm)

Our beloved principal clarinet Margaret Wilson is retiring after 47 seasons with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra.

We are fairly certain that Margaret is the longest-serving principal clarinet of any organization in Canada. She’s also close to having been the longest-serving principal clarinet in North America beaten out only by Stanley Drucker of the New York Philharmonic whose 49 years made the Guinness Book of World Records. Needless to say, Margaret has given an incredible amount of her time and talents to the SSO and her retirement is well-earned.

In September 1977, Margaret Bluhm arrived from British Columbia and began her career as an artist in residence and the principal clarinet of the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra. Lucky for us, Margaret met her husband within the first month of moving to Saskatoon and her prairie roots only continued to grow.

She began playing the clarinet in grade 7 as a part of her school’s band program. (We love our band teachers!) In a 2020 chat with Music Director Emeritus Eric Paetkau Margaret mentioned that she didn’t know anything about the instrument when she picked it out but “it wasn’t too big” and that she “loved it from the very beginning”.

It’s incredibly special to have talent like Margaret be a part of an organization for so long. She has played well over a thousand concerts with the SSO, in Saskatoon and the surrounding area, including shows at TCU place, chamber shows at venues like the Bessborough and now Grosvenor Park United, elementary schools around the city, assisted living facilities, toddler shows, tours, and so much more.

We aren’t the only ones that have benefited from Margaret’s talents. She has collaborated with musicians and groups around the city as a performer, and she has taught many young clarinettists over the years. Between her private studio and her work at the University of Saskatchewan, Margaret has an incredible legacy of students who have benefited from her wisdom.

Margaret is always a joy to play with. Not only is she talented and incredibly well-prepared, but she has a calm and joyful presence. This presence seems to radiate out and elevate every ensemble she performs with. Ask any of our musicians and they can tell you how Margaret has influenced them over the years both as artists and in their everyday lives.

At our concert on May 4, 2024, CEO Mark Turner will gift Margaret with the title Clarinet Emeritus. While she will no longer be our principal clarinet as of next fall, she will always have a place with the SSO. We hope you join us in giving Margaret a very well-deserved standing ovation. We owe her that, and so much more.

While we are very selfishly sad to see her go, we look forward to seeing photos of Margaret’s incredible garden (with 18+ varieties of tomato plants) and hope that she has a well-earned rest before she tackles her next adventure. (Perhaps she’s learning other new instruments? At one time she was learning the bassoon!)

In 2020 we did a series of “Meet the Musician” interviews hosted by Eric Paetkau while everyone was isolating at home. So you can hear Margaret chat a little bit about herself, and answer questions that came up in the chat from friends, fans, and colleagues.

 

(We’ve learned a lot about live streams since the spring of 2020!)

We have so many fond memories of working and making music with Margaret, and we’re grateful to have captured the last few years of our time together on video. You can revisit many wonderful Margaret moments over on ConcertStream.tv

As a special treat, we will finish with some lovely photos and a link to Margaret’s holiday treat Pfeffernüsse!

Ode to Joy Text & Translation

Ode an die Freude, from Symphony No. 9
Text by Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805)

 

O Freunde, nicht diese Töne!
Sondern laßt uns angenehmere
anstimmen und freudenvollere!

Freude, schöner Götterfunken,
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!
Deine Zauber binden wieder,
Was die Mode streng geteilt;
Alle Menschen werden Brüder,
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.

Wem der große Wurf gelungen,
Eines Freundes Freund zu sein,
Wer ein holdes Weib errungen,
Mische seinen Jubel ein!
Ja, wer auch nur eine Seele
Sein nennt auf dem Erdenrund!
Und wer’s nie gekonnt, der stehle
Weinend sich aus diesem Bund.

Freude trinken alle Wesen
An den Brüsten der Natur;
Alle Guten, alle Bösen
Folgen ihrer Rosenspur.
Küsse gab sie uns und Reben,
Einen Freund, geprüft im Tod;
Wollust ward dem Wurm gegeben,
Und der Cherub steht vor Gott!

Froh, wie seine Sonnen fliegen
Durch des Himmels prächt’gen Plan,

Laufet, Brüder, eure Bahn, Freudig,
wie ein Held zum Siegen.

Seid umschlungen, Millionen.
Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt!
Brüder! Über’m Sternenzelt
Muß ein lieber Vater wohnen.
Ihr stürzt nieder, Millionen?
Ahnest du den Schöpfer, Welt?
Such’ ihn über’m Sternenzelt!
Über Sternen muß er wohnen.

Ode to Joy
English translation

 

Oh friends, no more of these sounds!
Let us sing more cheerful songs,
More full of joy!

Joy, bright spark of divinity,
Daughter of Elysium,
Fire-inspired we tread
Thy sanctuary!
Thy magic power reunites
All that custom has divided;
All men become brothers
Under the sway of thy gentle wings.

Whoever has created
An abiding friendship,
Or has won
A true and loving wife,
All who can call at least one soul theirs,
Join in our song of praise!
But any who cannot must creep tearfully
Away from our circle.

All creatures drink of joy
At nature’s breast.
Just and unjust
Alike taste of her gift;
She gave us kisses and the fruit of the vine,
A tried friend to the end.
Even the worm can feel contentment,
And the cherub stands before God!

Gladly, like the heavenly bodies
Which He set on their courses through the
splendor of the firmament;
Thus, brothers, you should run your race,
As a hero going to conquest.

You millions, I embrace you.
This kiss is for all the world!
Brothers, above the starry canopy
There must dwell a loving Father.
Do you fall in worship, you millions?
World, do you know your Creator?
Seek Him in the heavens!
Above the stars must He dwell.

2-for-1 Subscriptions

Trying to find date night ideas? Looking for a new way to get away from it all? Just love the music?

If you’ve never subscribed to the SSO but think it’s time we have special offers for you.

2-for-1 Subscription Packages

New subscribers can purchase a full-priced Masters or Pops series package and get the second one free!

 

Masters

Enigma
September 21, 2024

Controlled Burn
October 26, 2024

Sleeping Beauty
February 15, 2025

The Lost Birds
March 8, 2025

Pictures at an Exhibition
March 29, 2025

Chopin and the New World
May 3, 2025

Pops

An Evening of Pink Floyd
November 16, 2024

Elf in Concert
December 7, 2024

Disney In Concert Once Upon A Time
January 25, 2025

Symphonic Sci-Fi
April 12, 2025

See the full season lineup.

Prices for 2-for-1 packages can be found on our pricing sheet. Click here to download your copy.

Give us a call (306-665-6414), fill out the online form, or stop by our office to subscribe today (602B 51st Street E, Saskatoon).

 

Join us at the Hub

The concert ends, you exit TCU Place, and you’re still brimming with excitement after such a fabulous evening. Where to next?

Cross the street and join us over at the Hub at Holiday Inn!

It’s the perfect place to grab a post-concert drink, and snack, alongside fellow SSO patrons, musicians, and the feature guest artists.

We have complimentary appetizers on a first come first-serve basis!

 

What’s happening at the Bassment

The Bassment is one of Canada’s premier jazz clubs and provides musicians of all skill levels a venue to showcase their talents in front of a live audience while accessing a variety of professional, concert-grade instruments. The club offers an intimate, personal concert space with a world-class stage for local, national, and international artists.

Here’s a sample of what’s happening next at The Bassment

Marianne Trudel & John Hollenbeck: Dédé Java Espiritu
Thursday, April 11

PIANO SERIES • DOORS @ 6:30PM • SHOW @ 7:30PM

www.mariannetrudel.com

www.johnhollenbeck.com

A piano, a drum set, and a thousand ideas. This is the happy and highly creative encounter ofpianist and composer Marianne Trudel with world-renowned drummer and composer John Hollenbeck. An electrifying, fascinating, enveloping duo, Dédé Java Espiritu plunges the listener into an infinite panorama of colours and grooves inspired by nature. Filled with catchy grooves, enchanting melodies, surprising sonorities, and joyous spontaneity, these compositions are rhythmically and melodically arranged to perfection.

Marianne Trudel is a veritable powerhouse in Canada’s jazz scene. She has produced and multiple artistic projects that showcase her considerable skills as well as her keen sense of creativity. Both energetic and passionate, her music covers a wide array of musical interests. Marianne has performed across North America, Europe, and China and has released 10 critically acclaimed recordings as a leader.

John Hollenbeck possesses a playful versatility and a virtuosic wit. Whether putting pen to paper or conjuring spontaneous sound allergic to repetition, he is essentially a musical thinker and is forever seeking to surprise himself and his audiences. John has received five GRAMMY nominations, a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship, and is currently a member of the faculty at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music.

Sponsored by David’s Distinctive Men’s Apparel

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Dallas Alexander
Thursday, April 18

COUNTRY ROADS SERIES • DOORS @ 6:30PM • SHOW@7:30

www.dallasalexander.ca

Hailing from a rough-and-tumble backwoods upbringing in Fishing Lake Métis Settlement in Northern Alberta, Dallas Alexander weaves his Métis roots with stories amassed over a decade-plus career serving in a tier-one special operations unit in the Canadian military. Dallas serves up a unique sound and country music lovers are in for a gritty-outlaw vibe inspired by music legends Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash.

Sponsored by Black Fox Farm & Distillery

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Abigail Lapell
Friday, April 19

SONGWRITER SERIES • DOORS @ 7:30pm • SHOW @ 8:30pm

www.abigaillapell.com

Toronto songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Abigail Lapell returns with Anniversary, an evocative collection of original love songs produced by Great Lake Swimmers’ Tony Dekker. Lapell’s deft lyrics jostle with love song tropes, grappling with love’s finitude and the irony of how codependency and longing are revered in popular music. Balancing upbeat earworms with elegiac ballads, Anniversary ultimately emerges as an earnest celebration of commitment. A stellar cast of musicians rounds out Lapell’s powerhouse vocals, piano, harmonica and fingerstyle guitar. Anniversary is out May 10, 2024 on Outside Music.

Sponsored by Backyard Living Center

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Claude Bourbon
Tuesday, April 23

BLUES SERIES • DOORS @ 6:30PM • SHOW 7:30

www.claudebourbon.org

Guitarist Claude Bourbon is known for his amazing performances that are a breathtaking acoustic fusion of blues, jazz, classical, and Spanish guitar. His inimitable style takes the acoustic guitar into uncharted territories, with all five digits on each hand dancing independently but in unison, plucking, picking, and strumming with such speed and precision that his fingers often merge into a blur. Having built up a following of loyal fans all over the United Kingdom, Europe, and North America, Claude returns for his fifth visit to the Bassment.

Sponsored by CFCR

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Daniel Champagne
Wednesday, April 24

GUITAR SERIES • DOORS @ 6:30PM • SHOW@ 7:30PM

www.danielchampagnemusic.com

Daniel Champagne lives and breathes live music. Described as “a leading light in acoustic music”, Daniel picked up the guitar as a five-year-old following in the footsteps of his musical father. He began writing songs at 12, training classically throughout his teens and performing wherever he could. At 18 he finished school, turned professional, and hit the road. Since then Daniel has released seven studio albums, toured relentlessly around the globe playing some of the biggest festivals under the sun, and shared stages with the likes of Tommy Emmanuel, INXS, Lucinda Williams, and Judy Collins. His latest Canadian tour will include 56 shows from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland!

Sponsored by David’s Distinctive Men’s Apparel

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The Mary Ancheta Quartet
Friday, April 26

JAZZ GROOVE SERIES • DOORS @ 7:30PM • SHOW @ 8:30PM

www.maryancheta.com

Keyboardist Mary Ancheta is a Canadian Filipina artist who steps into the spotlight with her genre-bending organic, modern take on jazz and electro-funk. Inspired by the likes of Squarepusher, The Meters, John Scofield, and Prince, Ancheta knows what’s up when it comes to arresting melodies and irresistible grooves. Her quartet includes Trent Otter (drums), Dominic Conway (sax), and Matt Reid (bass). Encompassing her experience in film scoring Ancheta seeks to tap into raw fuelled moments favouring grittiness over perfection.

Sponsored by David’s Distinctive Men’s Apparel

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Breaking down Beethoven 9

Beethoven’s final symphony is a monstrous undertaking for any orchestra – it demands the highest quality of playing and demands a great deal of commitment from its listener.

Wikipedia source:

The symphony is in four movements, marked as follows:

  1. Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso (D minor)
  2. Scherzo: Molto vivace – Presto (D minor)
  3. Adagio molto e cantabile – Andante moderato – Tempo primo – Andante moderato – Adagio – Lo stesso tempo (B-flat major)
  4. Recitative: (D minor-D major) (Presto – Allegro ma non troppo – Vivace – Adagio cantabile – Allegro assai – Presto: O Freunde) – Allegro molto assai: Freude, schöner Götterfunken – Alla marcia – Allegro assai vivace: Froh, wie seine Sonnen – Andante maestoso: Seid umschlungen, Millionen! – Adagio ma non troppo, ma divoto: Ihr, stürzt nieder – Allegro energico, sempre ben marcato: (Freude, schöner Götterfunken  Seid umschlungen, Millionen!) – Allegro ma non tanto:Freude, Tochter aus Elysium! – Prestissimo, Maestoso, Molto prestissimo: Seid umschlungen, Millionen!

Beethoven changes the usual pattern of Classical symphonies in placing the scherzo movement before the slow movement (in symphonies, slow movements are usually placed before scherzo[19]). This was the first time that he did this in a symphony, although he had done so in some previous works (including the quartets Op. 18 no. 5, the “Archduke” piano trio Op. 97, the Hammerklavier piano sonata Op. 106). Haydn, too, had used this arrangement in a number of his own works such as theString Quartet No. 30 in E-flat major.

First movement

Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso. Duration approx. 15 mins.

The first movement is in sonata form, and the mood is often stormy. The opening theme, played pianissimo over string tremolos, so much resembles the sound of an orchestra tuning, many commentators have suggested that was Beethoven’s inspiration—but from within that musical limbo emerges a theme of power and clarity that later drives the entire movement. At the outset of the recapitulation section, the theme returns fortissimo in D major, rather than the opening’s D minor. The introduction also uses the mediant to tonic relationship, which further distorts the tonic key until, finally, the bassoon plays in its lowest possible register.

The coda employs the chromatic fourth interval.

Second movement

Scherzo: Molto vivace – Presto. Duration approx. 12 mins.

The second movement, a scherzo and trio, is also in D minor, with the introduction bearing a passing resemblance to the opening theme of the first movement, a pattern also found in the Hammerklavier piano sonata, written a few years earlier. At times during the piece, Beethoven specifies one downbeat every three measures—perhaps because of the fast tempo—with the direction ritmo di tre battute (“rhythm of three beats”), and one beat every four measures with the direction ritmo di quattro battute(“rhythm of four beats”).

Beethoven had been criticized before for failing to adhere to standard form for his compositions. He used this movement to answer his critics. Normally, a scherzo is in triple time. Beethoven wrote this piece in triple time, but punctuated it in a way that, when coupled with the tempo, makes it sound as if it were in quadruple time.

While adhering to the standard ternary design of a dance movement (scherzo-trio-scherzo, or minuet-trio-minuet), the scherzo section has an elaborate internal structure; it is a complete sonata form. Within this sonata form, the first group of the exposition starts out with a fugue before modulating to C major for the second part. The exposition then repeats before a short development section. The recapitulation further develops the exposition, also containing timpani solos. A new development section leads to the repeat of the recapitulation, and the scherzo concludes with a brief codetta.

The contrasting trio section is in D major and in duple time. The trio is the first time the trombones play in the movement. Following the trio, the second occurrence of the scherzo, unlike the first, plays through without any repetition, after which there is a brief reprise of the trio, and the movement ends with an abrupt coda.

Third movement

Adagio molto e cantabile – Andante Moderato – Tempo Primo – Andante Moderato – Adagio – Lo Stesso Tempo. Duration approx. 16 mins.

The lyrical slow movement, in B-flat major, is in a loose variation form, with each pair of variations progressively elaborating the rhythm and melody. The first variation, like the theme, is in 4/4 time, the second in 12/8. The variations are separated by passages in 3/4, the first in D major, the second in G major. The final variation is twice interrupted by episodes in which loud fanfares for the full orchestra are answered by octaves played by the first violins alone. A prominent horn solo is assigned to the fourth player. Trombones are tacet for the movement.

Fourth movement

Presto; Allegro molto assai (Alla marcia); Andante maestoso; Allegro energico, sempre ben marcato. Duration approx. 24 mins.

 \new Score { \new Staff { \relative c { \time 4/4 \key d \major \clef bass fis2\p( g4 a) | a4( g fis e) | d2( e4 fis) | fis4.( e8) e2 | fis2( g4 a) | a4( g fis e) | d2( e4 fis) | e4.( d8) d2 | } } }

The famous choral finale is Beethoven’s musical representation of Universal Brotherhood. American pianist and music scholar Charles Rosen has characterized it as a symphony within a symphony, played without interruption.[20] This “inner symphony” follows the same overall pattern as the Ninth Symphony as a whole. The scheme is as follows:

  • First “movement”: theme and variations with slow introduction. The main theme, which first appears in the cellos and basses, is later recapitulated with voices.
  • Second “movement”: 6/8 scherzo in military style (begins at “Alla marcia,” words “Froh, wie seine Sonnen fliegen”), in the “Turkish style“—and concludes with a 6/8 variation of the main theme with chorus.
  • Third “movement”: slow meditation with a new theme on the text “Seid umschlungen, Millionen!” (begins at “Andante maestoso”)
  • Fourth “movement”: fugato finale on the themes of the first and third “movements” (begins at “Allegro energico”)

The movement has a thematic unity, in which every part is based on either the main theme, the “Seid umschlungen” theme, or some combination of the two.

The first “movement within a movement” itself is organized into sections:

  • An introduction, which starts with a stormy Presto passage. It then briefly quotes all three of the previous movements in order, each dismissed by the cellos and basses, which then play in an instrumental foreshadowing of the vocal recitative. At the introduction of the main theme, the cellos and basses take it up and play it through.
  • The main theme forms the basis of a series of variations for orchestra alone.
  • The introduction is then repeated from the Presto passage, this time with the bass soloist singing the recitatives previously suggested by cellos and basses.
  • The main theme again undergoes variations, this time for vocal soloists and chorus.[21]

Text of the fourth movement

The text is largely taken from Schiller‘s “Ode to Joy“, with a few additional introductory words written specifically by Beethoven (shown in italics).[22] The text without repeats is shown below, with a translation into English.[23] The score includes many repeats. For the full libretto, including all repetitions, see German Wikisource.[24]

O Freunde, nicht diese Töne!
Sondern laßt uns angenehmere anstimmen,
und freudenvollere.
Oh friends, not these sounds!
Let us instead strike up more pleasing
and more joyful ones!
Freude!
Freude!
Joy!
Joy!
Freude, schöner Götterfunken
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!
Deine Zauber binden wieder
Was die Mode streng geteilt;
Alle Menschen werden Brüder,
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.
Joy, beautiful spark of divinity,
Daughter from Elysium,
We enter, burning with fervour,
heavenly being, your sanctuary!
Your magic brings together
what fashion has sternly divided.
All men shall become brothers,
wherever your gentle wings hover.
Wem der große Wurf gelungen,
Eines Freundes Freund zu sein;
Wer ein holdes Weib errungen,
Mische seinen Jubel ein!
Ja, wer auch nur eine Seele
Sein nennt auf dem Erdenrund!
Und wer’s nie gekonnt, der stehle
Weinend sich aus diesem Bund!
Whoever has been lucky enough
to become a friend to a friend,
Whoever has found a beloved wife,
let him join our songs of praise!
Yes, and anyone who can call one soul
his own on this earth!
Any who cannot, let them slink away
from this gathering in tears!
Freude trinken alle Wesen
An den Brüsten der Natur;
Alle Guten, alle Bösen
Folgen ihrer Rosenspur.
Küsse gab sie uns und Reben,
Einen Freund, geprüft im Tod;
Wollust ward dem Wurm gegeben,
Und der Cherub steht vor Gott.
Every creature drinks in joy
at nature’s breast;
Good and Bad alike
follow her trail of roses.
She gives us kisses and wine,
a true friend, even in death;
Even the worm was given desire,
and the cherub stands before God.
Froh, wie seine Sonnen fliegen
Durch des Himmels prächt’gen Plan,
Laufet, Brüder, eure Bahn,
Freudig, wie ein Held zum Siegen.
Gladly, just as His suns hurtle
through the glorious universe,
So you, brothers, should run your course,
joyfully, like a conquering hero.
Seid umschlungen, Millionen!
Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt!
Brüder, über’m Sternenzelt
Muß ein lieber Vater wohnen.
Ihr stürzt nieder, Millionen?
Ahnest du den Schöpfer, Welt?
Such’ ihn über’m Sternenzelt!
Über Sternen muß er wohnen.
Be embraced, you millions!
This kiss is for the whole world!
Brothers, above the canopy of stars
must dwell a loving father.
Do you bow down before Him, you millions?
Do you sense your Creator, o world?
Seek Him above the canopy of stars!
He must dwell beyond the stars.

Towards the end of the movement, the choir sings the last four lines of the main theme, concluding with “Alle Menschen“, before the soloists sing for one last time the song of joy at a slower tempo. The chorus repeats parts of “Seid umschlungen, Millionen! …“, then quietly sings, “Tochter aus Elysium“. And finally, “Freude, schöner Götterfunken, Götterfunken!“.[24]

An Ode to Joy – Beethoven’s Symphony 9

Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125

Ludwig van Beethoven – Bonn, Germany / December 15, 1770; d. Vienna, Austria / March 26, 1827

The evolution of this towering piece, one of the supreme achievements of western art, spanned more than three decades. Beethoven read Friedrich Schiller’s poem Ode to Joy in 1793, and determined to set it to music one day. By 1822, he had two symphonic projects in mind. The first was a purely instrumental work; the second a “German Symphony,” with a finale to be sung in that language. Eventually, they merged in his mind, stimulated in part by a commission from the Philharmonic Society of London. It struck Beethoven that his English patrons would not be pleased with a symphony containing words in a foreign tongue, so he decided to write them a purely instrumental work instead. Later still, he came to feel that his conception, whose first three movements he completed by mid 1823, cried out for words to express its goals more clearly. It was only then that his long-delayed rendezvous with the Ode to Joy finally arrived.

Considering the reverence which he felt for Schiller’s poem, it is surprising that he set only half of it, and changed the sequence of those sections he did use. At the time, he still seems to have been considering using the symphony to fulfill his English commission. His final decisions were to trust the judgment of his patrons and leave Schiller’s words in their original German, and to have the premiere take place in Vienna, rather than in London.

The Ninth Symphony was heard for the first time on May 7, 1824, with Michael Umlauf conducting. The composer sat in the midst of the orchestra, score in hand, in order to indicate tempos. The performance, which had been allotted only two rehearsals, was at best a mediocre one, yet it still drew an enthusiastic response from the audience.

According to Fraulein Unger, the alto soloist, “The Master, though placed in the midst of this confluence of music, heard nothing of it at all, and was not even sensible to the applause of the audience at the end of his great work. He continued standing with his back to the audience and beating the time, until I turned him, to face the people, who were still clapping their hands and giving way to the greatest demonstrations of pleasure. His turning about, and the sudden conviction thereby forced on everyone that he had not done so before because he could not hear what was going on, acted like an electric shock on all present, and a volcanic explosion of sympathy and admiration followed.”

By setting particular words in the Ninth, Beethoven let it be known that he considered it more than an abstract work. This prompts speculation as to whether he had conceived every movement with specific extra musical ideas in mind. He left no direct indications; such considerations must rest with listeners. In general terms, however, the sequence of moods in its three opening sections is as easy to follow as the Finale’s.

The first movement begins quietly, yet it vibrates with the expectancy of drama. Throughout this movement’s dramatic course, interludes of repose crop up, but tension and turmoil stand squarely at center stage. The following scherzo raises this type of piece, formerly a simple jest or dance, to Olympian heights of drive and brilliance. Beethoven gave the timpani player one of the finest opportunities for display in all music. The prayer like third movement offers strong, devout contrast. It consists of variations on two gloriously warm-hearted themes.

After the finale’s turbulent introduction, Beethoven reviews, then rejects, material from the preceding movements. Cellos and basses quietly state the finale’s principal theme, a melody whose very lack of guile makes it completely appropriate to its function. It gathers momentum slowly, yet inexorably, until a reprise of the movement’s opening outburst sets the scene for the baritone soloist’s entry – and a whole new era in music.

Beethoven’s setting of the Ode to Joy contains a tremendous variety of incident. Its kaleidoscope of episodes include passages of almost frenzied choral celebration; a march like tenor solo spiked with Turkish percussion; a brilliant fugue for orchestra alone; and the simple, affecting piety of the central call to faith in God. Finally, orchestra and chorus rush headlong to the exultant conclusion.

Program Notes by D. Anderson