The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus has thrown our world into chaos and disarray. In this time of great uncertainty, the Colorado Symphony has released an online video featuring 49 of our musicians performing Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” from his breathtaking and seminal Ninth Symphony. In adherance to the importance of social distancing, each musician’s part was recorded separately and combined in post-production, creating the sound and experience of a full symphony orchestra.
Beethoven’s final symphony is an ode to humanity, to peace over desperation, and, of course, to joy. In it, he returned to a poem by Friedrich Schiller that he had long wanted to set to music but for which he had never quite managed to find the right mode of expression: the “Ode to Joy”. The poem expresses universal ideals of brotherhood, peace, and freedom for all — ideals that Beethoven held most dear.
Since its premiere in Vienna in May 1824, performances of the Ninth Symphony have surfaced at crucial times and places including at various openings of the Olympic Games, bringing all nations together in song. Many will also recall a remarkable world-wide broadcast of Leonard Bernstein conducting the Ninth in Berlin on Christmas Day 1989, soon after the city’s reuniting after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The Ninth has also appeared on many solemn occasions including in Tiananmen Square in Beijing and in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, when the Ninth was once again enlisted for its universal and hopeful message.
Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is an ode to humanity, to peace over desperation, to universal kinship and, of course, to joy. We hope that this small tribute stands as a reminder that community is powerful and together, despite the anxiety and separation, we will come back stronger than before. #PlayOn
The Colorado Symphony looks forward to the opportunity to share this masterpiece in its entirety at Red Rocks Amphitheater on July 26, 2020.
From all of us at the Colorado Symphony, stay safe, stay healthy, and take care of one another. We are incredibly grateful for our community – your encouragement, patience, and understanding are vital in helping us provide music and education into the future.
We can’t wait to see you all at Boettcher Concert Hall again very soon.