This week I am playing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra. What an absolute treat!
It has been years since I last subbed in this orchestra, and they have a new music director – David Danzmayr – who is simply marvelous. In our first rehearsal Monday night, I was impressed with the improvements he was able to make in the group, the simplicity of his requests and the immediacy of our responses to them. He never raised his voice or got excited, but simply made corrections in a friendly, cheerful manner and expected them to happen – and they did! This very pleasant work environment is a delightful change from some other regional orchestra experiences I’ve had, and I’m looking forward to the next few rehearsals and the concert.
What is it about Beethoven Symphonies? I think I will never get tired of playing this music. You know that I am crazy about twentieth century repertoire, and even newer material – but all old music was new once. Beethoven just writes so beautifully and powerfully for the orchestra. Every articulation is meaningful, and the colors are just so rich, and the orchestration makes it easy to play. His technique is not always easy, I hasten to add, and the endurance issues are not insignificant – but when I’m playing a solo I can always be heard, and it also happens to be made up of the most perfect notes that could possibly be played at that moment. In a Beethoven symphony I am always trying to live up to the greatness of the music – and that is a wonderful challenge.
The Ninth is, of course, particularly monumental, and deservedly famous. This concert will be grand, exciting, deep – and beautiful. Please come. Details HERE.