Saturday, November 7, 2009

Happy Birthday, Brian!

Thursday was Brian's birthday, and we celebrated in full style! Brian bought us tickets to hear the Boston Symphony Orchestra play Beethoven's 8th and 9th Symphonies.

For those of you who haven't begun humming yet, the 9th is the one that ends with the Ode to Joy. And you've probably never heard the 8th before.

The Ode to Joy is sung by a full choir. I don't think I've ever been to a professional choir performance!

The other thing I really enjoyed at this concert was the pre-concert talk. During a pre-concert talk, a musicican will give a little background to the piece being played and also suggest things to listen for during the performance. Our teacher suggested we listen to the orchestra "discuss" what theme they are going to play in the 9th's fourth movement: various melodies from earlier in the piece are "suggested" until they break out into the familiar Ode to Joy.

I was surprised to learn from the program notes, that the words being sung by the choir are not those I grew up with:

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!

but rather are a piece of Enlightenment poetry Beethoven set to music:
Joy, beautiful divine spark,
Daughter of Elysium,
We enter, drunk with fire,
O heavenly one, your holy shrine.
Your magic once again bonds together
What custom strictly divided,
All Mankind become brothers
Where your gentle wings hold sway.

Brian really likes classical music. He grew up attending performances and pre-concert talks at the Oregon Bach Festival, he reads about the lives of musicians on his school breaks, and he seeks out the best recordings at used cd stores. I enjoy classical music, but I'm not nearly as interested in it as he is, so I wouldn't go to all the effort to learn about it as he does. I love being a sidekick to his interest, though!


meg said...

happy birthday brian indeed!
what fun, I would love going to that sort of thing. I don't have a lot of knowledge about classical music, but I do enjoy it.

Axon L. Parker said...

Happy Birthday Brian! And how about the other BSO for you next birthday (Baltimore Symphony Orchestra-Marin Alsop is the conductor-remember her?)

Marianne Elixir said...

Happy Birthday to Brian!

We would have nearly died to join you. I cannot wait until Soren is old enough to attend a professional orchestra perform the 9th.

Has Brian heard of the Michael Lawrence Films Bach Project documentary coming out next year? It looks to be quite wonderful. Here is a piece on youtube:
There are links from there to other snippets too.

Sarah said...

Happy Birthday Brain! What a great way to celebrate it!