Episode 4: Beethoven @ 250
– KCET broadcast: December 16 @ 8 p.m.
– PBS So Cal broadcast: December 26 @ 7 p.m.
As the final episode of Southland Sessions approaches, we would like to invite all of our patrons to tune in to honor “classical music’s birthday boy,” as Carl St.Clair and Pacific Symphony celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. This program concludes with the composer’s “great work to humanity,” Symphony No. 9, in a 2012 recording of the orchestra’s Plazacast at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. This four-program series aimed to showcase the vibrancy and resilience of creative minds across Southern California during the pandemic.
Symphony No. 5, Movement 1 | Sergei Prokofiev
Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony is considered to be one of the greatest orchestral works of the 20th century. Pacific Symphony last performed the work in January 2017. This symphony is the first of three that he would compose while living in the Soviet Union. Not long after the premiere, he wrote, “I regard the Fifth Symphony as the culmination of a long period of my creative life…I conceived of it as glorifying the grandeur of the human spirit…praising the free and happy man—his strength, his generosity, and the purity of his soul.”
“There Will Be Rest” | Frank Ticheli
“There Will Be Rest” is based on a poem by Sarah Teasdale, with the same title. Frank Ticheli set this to music originally for chorus and dedicated it to Pacific Chorale (1999) “in loving memory of Cole Carsan St.Clair, the son of my dear friends, conductor Carl St.Clair and his wife, Susan.” This performance features Pacific Chorale a capella in a recent mosaic video.
Symphony No. 9, Choral Finale | Ludwig van Beethoven
Beethoven’s Ninth is arguably the most popular piece of classical music in the world. Beethoven set the music to the poem “An die Freude” (Ode to Joy) by Friedrich Schiller, which addresses the unity of brotherhood, expresses a sense of community, and calls for people to change the world from a place of despair into one of joy, peace, and freedom. The phrase, “Alle Menschen werden Brüder” (“All men will become brothers”) is probably the most significant line from the text because it embodies the struggle and the desire to change the world. With the introduction of the human voice into the symphony, the audience must have been stunned and since then would have left every composer admiring this new direction in composition. Beethoven paved a way for future composers and their grand works such as Franz Liszt’s symphonic poems, Richard Wagner’s melodramatic operas, Gustav Mahler’s drawn-out symphonies and countless other compositions.