A Rhode Island newspaper was quoted in The Orchestra (London, 1868), stating that the orchestral part “appeared to be made up of the strange, the ludicrous, the abrupt, the ferocious, and the screechy, with the slightest possible admixture, here and there, of an intelligible melody.”
The Boston Atlas in 1853 put it more succinctly: ”Beethoven was deaf when he wrote it.”
And yet, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 “tops every popularity contest and plays a prominent cultural role in the world. It consoled mourners after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, rallied Germans when the Berlin Wall crumbled, and drew Americans together after 9/11. A live performance is never an ordinary event” (OregonLive).
The Pasadena Symphony presents Beethoven’s beloved and oft-critiqued symphony on Saturday, February 15th with two performances, which shall include a full chorus, the Donald Brinegar Singers. Kazem Abdullah conducts. Preceding this 60-minute event, Los Angeles’ Morton Lauridsen, “one of the hottest tickets in choral music, complements the program with his song cycle set to the poems of Robert Graves.”
Editor’s Note: PS-POPS presents Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 on March 29th; click here for details.
Historical quotes thanks to lucare.com.