Click on the SoNA poster above for ticket info and for more information about the Beethoven guest artists
SoNA Closes the Inaugural Season with
BEETHOVEN and MAHLER
Performing the Gigantic Beethoven Ninth
Comes with a Built-in Event Status Guarantee
The Symphony of Northwest Arkansas (SoNA), Paul Haas Music Director, will perform two of the world's most beloved masterworks, Beethoven's Symphony no. 9 in D Minor (Choral) and the Adagietto from the Mahler's Symphony no. 5 in C-Sharp Minor, April 14, 7:30 PM, at Fayettville's Walton Arts Center.
Joining SoNA for the Beethoven performance are special guest artists Sarah Wolfson, soprano, Teresa Buchholz, mezzo-soprano, Kevin Courtemanche, tenor, and Charles Perry Sprawls, bass-baratone and the SoNA Chorale including SoNA Singers, the John Brown University Cathedral Choir and Bentonville High School's Chamber Choir according to the SoNA website.
Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9 in D Minor premiered in Vienna in 1824 and by this time the composer was completely deaf. There were only two rehearsals prior to the concert and during the performance Beethoven was with the orchestra, sometimes seated and sometimes standing, passionately giving tempo direction to conductor Michael Umlauf. By the end of the final movement Beethoven, a measure or so off, was still conducting although the orchestra and chorus had finish. According to performing contralto Karoline Unger she stopped Beethoven’s conducting and turned him around. When she did this the audience reportedly exploded into a boisterous standing ovation, the first of five. They held their clapping hands high in air and waved handkerchiefs and hats so that the deft Beethoven could see their appreciation.
The iconic, gigantic Ninth is arguably the world's greatest symphonic work so performing it comes with a sort of built-in Event Status guarantee. The masterwork represents a culmination of Beethoven's life work and the Beethoven curtain closer will mark the end of SoNA's inaugural season.
Also slated for the program is the deliciously tuneful, sweet and soaring Adagietto, the fourth movement from one of the great late Romantic symphonies, Gustav Mahler's Symphony no. 5. Since it’s 1904 premiere, the work has gained the distinction of, much like Vivaldi's Spring and Handel's Hallelujah Chorus, of being one of the most extracted and most recorded classical extract of all times. Purist who might object to the Adagietto, a symphonic fourth movement, being performed alone, should remember it is a tradition that Mahler himself began.
The Adagietto is his most performed work. It is a lovely theme on a grand scale but whether or not it was actually a “love poem” to his wife Alma remains a small controversy. The "love poem" info does not come directly from Mahler or Alma but from conductor Willem Mengelberg, a friend and interpreted of Mahler's work. Many believe that other works such as Liebst Du um Schonheit, along with the first movement of the Sixth Symphony (Alma's theme) and the Eight Symphony (dedicated to Alma) were the “love poems” and not the Adagietto.
The Mahler Fifth is tempestuous, bittersweet, playful, volatile and impassioned. Apparently the Mahler marriage was much the same. It is logical to give Mengelberg the benefit of the doubt and stick to the “Adagietto is Alma’s Love Poem” story. In the midst of this tempestuous, bittersweet, playful, volatile, and impassioned symphonic work there is the Adagietto, an island in the stream made out of romantic strings and harp. The Mahler Adagietto sounds like being in love feels.
For ticket information plus information on the guest soloists click http://www.sonamusic.org/
Beethoven & Mahler Concert Trivia
- The Beethoven Ninth was the first example of a major composer using voices in a symphony.
- Up until 1823 the Symphony No.9 did not include Schiller's Ode to Joy, let alone voices.
- The title of Schiller's poem "An die Freude" translates as "To Joy" even though it is usually referred to as "Ode to Joy."
- Although completion year of the Beethoven Ninth was 1824, it was the result of three separate ideas dating back to 1793.
- The Premiere of Beethoven's Ninth on May 7, 1824, was by all accounts a smashing success. However, the second performance on May 23 was poorly attended.
- Michael Umlauf, the conductor who premiered Beethoven's Ninth also conducted the premiere of the final revision of his opera Fidelio.
- The premiere of Mahler's Symphony No.5 in 1904 was a complete failure with the critics and the audience. Today it is his most often performed symphony.
- Adagietto means "little Adagio" (quicker tempo and lighter form and content than Adagio).
- Mahler did not use metronome markings. Recordings for the Adagietto range in length from 7 minutes to 14 minutes. The second performance of the Adagietto, conducted my Mahler in 1905, lasted 9 minutes. The third, conducted by Mahler in St Petersburg in 1907, was timed at 7 minutes.
- The Adagietto was played at Senator Robert Kennedy's funeral, June 1968 at St. Patrick's Cathedral NYC. It was also used as the theme for Luchino Visconti's 1971 film Death in Venice based on the Thomas Mann novella.
- Willem Mengelberg, Amsterdam conductor and Mahler interpreter who reported that the Adagietto was “Alma's Love Poem,” spent the final part of his life in exile stripped of his honors and Dutch passport due to his association with Nazis during the WWII occupation of Holland. He died in Switzerland in 1951.