Three orchestras end 2010 with Beethoven

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Three orchestras end 2010 with Beethoven

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The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra with the National Chorus of Korea and other choirs perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, at the Seoul Arts Center on Dec. 30 last year. The orchestra will play the work again on Dec. 22 this year and plans to continue the tradition every year. Provided by Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra


Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, better recognized as “Choral,” is one of the most frequently performed works at year-end concerts.

This year is no exception, with three orchestras performing the revered composer’s final complete symphony in the last few days of 2010 - the KBS Symphony Orchestra on Dec. 16 and 17, the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra on Dec. 22 and the Bucheon Philharmonic Orchestra on the last day of the year.

The masterpiece was completed in 1824, the same year the German composer went completely deaf. And nowhere is Beethoven’s eternal struggle with his fate so strongly evident as it is in this symphony.

Composer Richard Wagner said that “Beethoven in the Ninth Symphony .?.?. leads us through the torment of the world relentlessly until the ode to joy is reached.”

The work also marks the first time a major composer adopted vocals in a symphony. The words are sung during the fourth movement by four vocal soloists and a chorus. This is why the finale is known as Beethoven’s musical representation of “Universal Brotherhood.”

The KBS Symphony Orchestra, led by its principal conductor Hahm Shin-ik, will start its Dec. 16 and 17 concerts with Mozart’s “Vesperae Solennes de Confessore,” K 339. Best known for the beauty of its solo soprano aria, “Laudate Dominum” (the opening words of Psalm 116), Vesperae Solennes de Confessore is one of two early-evening liturgical-service settings that Mozart composed for the Salzburg Cathedral. Beethoven’s Choral will follow, with three choirs from Anyang, Ansan and Suwon participating.

Five days later, the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra will perform Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, with three choirs - the National Chorus of Korea, Nara Opera Choir and Goyang City Choir - and four soloists under the baton of maestro Chung Myung-whun.

Lastly, the Bucheon Philharmonic Orchestra - which is led by principal conductor and Seoul National University professor Lim Hun-joung - will play only the fourth movement of the work. The concert is set to start with Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 23, and will feature five vocal works before ending with Choral, which will open the year 2011.

*The KBS Symphony Orchestra concerts are at 8 p.m. on Dec. 16 at KBS Hall in western Seoul and at 8 p.m. on Dec. 17 at Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall. Tickets range from 20,000 won ($17) to 60,000 won. For more information, call (02) 781-2242~2.

Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra’s fifth Masterpiece series starts at 8 p.m. on Dec. 22. Tickets range from 10,000 won to 100,000 won.

Bucheon Philharmonic Orchestra’s New Year’s Eve Concert is at 10 p.m. on Dec. 31 at Bucheon Citizen’s Hall. Tickets range from 10,000 won to 50,000 won. For information, call (032) 625-8330.


By Seo Ji-eun [spring@joongang.co.kr]

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