While we all continue to live during a time of uncertainty, The Hanover Band is performing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony to celebrate the anniversary of the composer’s 250th birthday.

It is a fitting conclusion to a project which has helped celebrate The Hanover Band’s 40th anniversary, and we believe this to be the only recording made of the Choral Symphony during this unprecedented time.

The fourth and final movement includes the infamous Ode to Joy’ – the ‘Anthem of Europe’, which is fitting for this period as the UK prepares to leave the European Union

We were overjoyed when conductor Sir Mark Elder stepped into the breach to conduct the recording after Benjamin Bayl, Associate Director of The Hanover Band, was affected by the Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Sir Mark, Music Director of the Halle, was delighted to work with our musicians, taking a fresh look at Beethoven’s work and bringing founder Caroline Brown’s vision to perform all the composer’s symphonies, to fruition.

He told us: “Perhaps the only silver lining of the current crisis is that opportunities have arisen at short notice to take on projects which in normal circumstances one’s schedule would not have permitted.” 

Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony was composed between 1822 and 1824 and is widely regarded as one of his greatest works.

It was also the first example of a composer using voices in a symphony with words being sung during the final movement by four soloists.

We were extremely lucky that Sophie Bevan (Soprano), Madeleine Shaw (Mezzo), Ed Lyon (Tenor), and Darren Jeffery (Baritone) joined Sir Mark and The Hanover Band for this special recording.

The symphony was premiered in May 1824 at the Theater am Kärntnertor in Vienna, with the largest orchestra ever assembled by Beethoven.

He had originally wanted to premiere the work in Berlin, but was persuaded to hold it in the city he called his home.

The original hall no longer exists, but it would have been far smaller and more intimate than the large concert halls we are used to today.

Beethoven’s music has also played its part in influencing contemporary music, the most notable of those being Freddie Mercury and Queen, whose music is full of classical influences.

The Ninth Symphony will be broadcast at 8pm (GMT) on Wednesday December 16.

The Online Festival Series can be viewed for free but any donations will be gratefully received. 

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