Beethoven's Choral Fantasy - Monday's Free Download

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Dear Ensemble Monterey Friends - One of the most famous concerts in musical history took place in Vienna on Dec. 22, 1808. In a 4-hour marathon Beethoven intended to premiere the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, the Fourth Piano Concert and part of the Mass in C. All kinds of things went wrong. The heating system broke down. In rehearsal Beethoven was so irascible (his normal state) that the orchestra refused to rehearse if he was in the room! After subjecting the near-dead audience to all this he needed a thrilling conclusion, and the Choral Fantasywas it. It is a work intended to show off Beethoven's skills both as a pianist (he played the premiere) and composer, so it's pure fireworks, Beethoven style. It calls for a piano soloist,( Ludwig), full orchestra, chorus and vocal soloists. It centers around variations on a single theme which much resembles the famous "Ode to Joy" theme from his Ninth Symphony. Typical of Beethoven, there is a long piano cadenza at the beginning. Don't give up hope! the orchestra comes in at about 4 minutes in, and the chorus and soloists enter about 3/4 through this 20-minute piece. The vocal ext's authorship is not certain. It is an Ode to the wonder of nature and particularly of music. For the full text click here:

We performed the Choral Fantasy as part of our season finale concert in May, 2009. The brilliant pianist is Malia Roberson, now a PhD. in music theory and college professor. The chorus are our long-time collaborators, Cantiamo!, prepared by Cheryl Anderson. Enjoy!

Yours in Music - John Anderson