Mid Sussex Sinfonia and Coro Nuovo To Perform Beethoven’s Choral Symphony
To celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven, the Mid Sussex Sinfonia, together with Coro Nuovo, will present Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (commonly known as the ‘Choral Symphony) at the King’s Centre, Burgess Hill on Saturday, 22nd February at 3:00pm.
Who was Beethoven, and why is he such an important figure in the musical world? He was born in 1770, at the high water mark of the Classical period of European music. Two musical giants at this time were Haydn and Mozart, and both recognised Beethoven’s extraordinary creative talent. At this time composers were principally employed under aristocratic patronage to provide entertainment for their employer, and by the church, for religious music. An orchestra was provided, though small by today’s standards, and probably less competent owing to weaker instrumental training. The mechanism of woodwind and brass instruments was generally not well developed, although there were excellent soloists.
Beethoven’s first symphony composed in 1800, a decade or so after the last symphonies of Haydn and Mozart, stands at the close of the Classical period and the start of the Romantic. In the following years Beethoven changed almost every aspect of symphonic composition, both in the form and development of musical material and in its expressive power.
Improvement in the design and range of instruments, increase in number of players, higher standard of playing, more rehearsal, all paved the way for the orchestral advances of the 19th century, including the construction of grand concert halls in the capitals of Europe – a sign of growing prestige. Beethoven’s symphonies in many ways were a catalyst for these developments, and his final and most monumental 9th Symphony, completed in 1824 three years before his death, is the first in the history of symphonic music to introduce choir and vocal soloists alongside the orchestra. The premiere in Vienna was followed by a performance in London ten months later. It would be hard to imagine now, but London critics initially found the work too long and suggested that the chorus be removed!
As one author has put it, Romantic or not, Beethoven was one of the great disruptive forces in the history of music. After him, nothing could ever be the same again; he had opened the gateway to a new world.
Mid Sussex Sinfonia and Coro Nouvo
Beethoven’s 9th Symphony will be conducted by Mid Sussex Sinfonia’s music director Peter Fender. The orchestra, formed almost 50 years ago, plays a major part in the cultural life of the Haywards Heath-Burgess Hill area. It comprises music teachers, semi-professionals and very experienced amateur musicians, and regularly collaborates with local organisations. On this festive occasion, Coro Nouvo, an excellent choir directed by Andrew Rees and made up of the very best singers from Mid Sussex and surrounding area, will be joining in the final choral movement set to Schiller’s Ode to Joy.
Don’t miss this opportunity to share with us the crowning glory of Beethoven’s music!