Freedom and Joy

“Be embraced, you millions! This kiss is for the whole world!” The Ninth. As we reach 100 years since the 1918 Armistice, Beethoven’s immortal appeal for the world to come together as one still needs to be heard. For three long movements the orchestra struggles alone. Then singers and chorus join to create a spine-tingling outpouring of joy, filling the Adelaide Town Hall with hope and light.
Leonard Bernstein famously conducted this symphony on Christmas Day after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, changing Schiller’s Ode to Joy (“Freude”) into an Ode to Freedom (“Freiheit”). We close off Bernstein’s centenary year by celebrating with his popular, idiosyncratic settings of Hebrew psalms. The choir ends by reaffirming “how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity.”