Beethoven’s main theme, to Schillers ‘Ode to Joy’, in the finale of the 9th symphony could not be more widespread than it is today. On the 10th recording in their series of Beethoven’s complete orchestral works, Dausgaard and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra sink their teeth into the most well-known of symphonies. The result is both refreshing, enlightening and engaging.
Thomas Dausgaard and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, with the magnificent Boris Berezovsky as soloist in the piano concertos, have received awards and splendid reviews for their series of the complete orchestral music of Beethoven. Joined here by leading vocal soloists from Sweden and Denmark, plus the DR Vocal Ensemble and Choir, this performance of the Choral Symphony brings the series to a new peak.
The Ninth Symphony
The Ninth was Beethoven’s first symphony for more than a decade. The originality of Beethoven’s conception scarcely needs stressing, nor does the impact of the work on later composers. Though the introduction of vocal elements has not become a commonplace, symphonists from Mendelssohn to Mahler and Shostakovich learned the lesson that the inclusion of a text could direct the listener’s attention towards a programmatic or philosophical intention.
Die Weihe des Hauses and Gratulations-Menuett
The Gratulations-Menuett was originally sketched as a movement intended for the projected Tenth Symphony before Beethoven decided to use it instead as a tribute to his impresario Hensler. Beethoven tried to have the work published, though without success; it was first printed in 1833. Die Weihe des Hauses overture was heard in a concert given at the Kärnthnerthor Theatre in Vienna on 7 May 1824 that also included the premiere of Beethoven’s final symphony together with three sections (the Kyrie, Credo and Agnus Dei) of the Missa Solemnis (1819-23), which had had its complete first performance exactly one month before.