Friday, May 7, 2021

Musikalische Akademie der 7. Mai 1824

This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from May 4, 2012. It can be found in our archives at 


On this day in 1824 at Vienna’s Kärntnertortheater Beethoven premiered his Ninth Symphony. As I discussed in the original post, two more Beethoven works were also performed that night – three sections of his Missa Solemnis and an overture he wrote for a re-staging of Kotzebue’s The Ruins of Athens for the opening of Vienna's new Theater in der Josefstadt nearly two years earlier. Because the text that was used differed from the original, Beethoven wrote new music including the overture which we now know as The Consecration of the House Overture.

The Ninth symphony needs no introduction; its celebratory tone makes it a favourite at special concert events. The symphony is remarkable for several reasons; it is longer and more complex than any symphony to date and requires a larger orchestra. Beethoven’s inclusion of a chorus and vocal soloists in the final movement was a first as (presumably) nobody had done that in a symphony.

Beethoven composed more music after the Ninth, devoting his energies largely to composing his late string quartets, but no more symphonies. There are, however, symphony fragments in Beethiven’s many sketchbooks, all clearly intended for the same symphony, which would have followed the Ninth, since they appear together in several small groups, and there is consensus that Beethoven did intend to compose another symphony.

British musicologist Barry Cooper assembled the sketches into a coherent concert score first performed in 1988 by the Royal Philharmonic Society, London, to whom Beethoven himself had offered the new symphony in 1827.

As filler for today’s post, here is the combination of a lecture on the score by Dr. Cooper and a performance by the London Symphony under Wyn Morris.

I think you will (still) love this music too.

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