L. van Beethoven. Symphony no. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 ("Choral Symphony")
The Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra will solemnly begin its 32nd season with one of the most impressive works by the German composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) – his last, Symphony No. 9. The symphony is considered an important stylistic bridge, a transition between the classical and romantic periods in the history of Western music. In the Ninth Symphony, L. van Beethoven uses voices for the first time: four soloists and the choir sing the famous Friedrich Schiller's poem "Ode to Joy" in the last, fourth part of the work – this is why the symphony is sometimes also called "Choral".
L. van Beethoven worked diligently on each sound of the symphony: his notes reveal that the composer considered and rejected more than 200 different variants for the theme of "Ode to Joy". After completing his work, L. van Beethoven offered the audience a completely new approach to the symphonic genre: four voices and a choir singing (until that time a symphony was considered to be an exclusively instrumental genre), the orchestra used by the composer was unusually large and the length of the piece didn’t comply to any contemporary standards.
The premiere of Symphony No. 9 took place in 1824. In Vienna, it was received with great enthusiasm. “The audience met their hero with utmost respect and sympathy, listened to his wonderful, majestic work, held its breath and burst into thunderous applause after each part of the work. At the end of the symphony, the audience greeted Beethoven with standing ovation five times: waving handkerchiefs, hats, hands raised so that Beethoven, who could not hear the applause, could at least see the applause", – wrote a critic from “Theater-Zeitung" after the Symphony's premiere.
The Symphony is recognized by music connoisseurs as the best work of L. van Beethoven and one of the highest achievements in the history of Western music. This symphony is also one of the most-performed symphonies in the world. On this evening, together with the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra, L. van Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 will be performed by soloists Agnė Stančikaitė (soprano), Justina Gringytė (mezzo-soprano), Kristian Benedikt (tenor), Tadas Girininkas (bass) and Kaunas State Choir (director Petras Bingelis). The festive evening will be conducted by the founder, artistic director and chief conductor of the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestram, laureate of the National Prize, professor Gintaras Rinkevičius.