The Beethoven Akademie 1808 presentation by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Sunday, March 1 was listed as occurring from 2:30-8:30 PM with a dinner break from 5-7 PM. What a surprise when we got tickets and decided to try this Beethoven marathon! The first performance during the first half is one of my favorite pieces, The Pastoral Symphony #6 in F Major. The Awakening (which I always think of as the awakening of Spring), the brook, Jolly Country Folk, THE THUNDERSTORM and the Shepherd’s Hymn are all in my memory bank. I promised my husband and the stranger sitting next to me that I would try to refrain from whistling the tunes!
The original production was the last public performance by Beethoven. One patron from 1808, Johann Reichardt, was quoted in the program as saying that he “found by experience that one might have too much even of a good thing.”
We were not certain we could last through all those hours of music. Thought we would try and agree not to shame each other if one of us wanted to leave. Each selection listed details including approximate duration. I was amazed the Pastoral was only listed for 39 minutes. It transports me in a way that I lose all track of time!
AH! Perfido borders on opera and I have no experience or interest in that. It was 15 minutes of interesting performance, but not as thrilling as my decades long friend, The Pastoral.
Then some sacred music. The Gloria interested me. Though sung in Latin, I am familiar with the words through my attendance at the Episcopal church. The Latin and the English were printed in the booklet side by side. The 11 minutes sent me scurrying to remember the prayer I had read by Ignatius, the concept of suscipe me….
Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. Thou hast given all to me. To Thee, O Lord, I return it. All is Thine, dispose of it wholly according to Thy will. Give me Thy love and Thy grace, for this is sufficient for me.Ignatius of Loyola
After the Concerto #4 featuring Inon Barnatan, who seemed to play effortlessly, we were ready to walk around and enjoy the dinner break. It was a lovely spring-like evening though the wind was a bit chilly. Back at the car we relished our homemade supper of favorite foods. After only a tiny discussion decided to return to Music Hall to find out how much more music we could endure in one day! We strolled the new park opposite Music Hall. Watched the city dwellers release their dogs in the dog park while they shared the latest with each other. It was such a delight to see sun in Cincinnati!
The #5 began with the lovely chords of duh duh duh duh https://youtu.be/_4IRMYuE1hI duh duh duh duh! Timed at 31 minutes. We decided we could stay for the Improvised Fantasia and then Fantasia for Piano Chorus and Orchestra (May Festival Chorus was terrific as were soloists!) The stranger next to me told me he would walk 5 miles to hear the last number. That was saying something since he also confided he was 80 years old!
To me, it was a once in a lifetime concert. No, I was not over immersed in Beethoven. Am still playing the 6th on my computer speakers as I write this!
I pray the Lord will Suscipe me into His arms one day with the melody of the Gloria or The Pastoral!