Concerti, Masses, Sonatas, and the Triumph of Symphony No. 9

01 Aug 2018

On Wednesday, August 1, 2018, Gil Harel presented his fourth and final lecture in his Beethoven series.

Week 4: Concerti, Masses, Sonatas, and the Triumph of Symphony No. 9 The last years of Ludwig van Beethoven’s life could not have been pleasant ones for the composer. Suffering from various physical maladies which in turn affected his psyche, the grizzled composer must have drawn comfort through the one act which had continued to sustain him throughout his difficulties: composing. Among the masterpieces of this “late” period, historians and musicologists often cite the pinnacles reached in the realms of solo piano works (e.g., the op. 111 sonata), chamber music (e.g., the op. 131 string quartet), and his colossal and challenging setting of the Catholic Mass Ordinary, the Missa Solemnis. Towering above perhaps everything else sits the famous Symphony no. 9, with a finale setting the words of Schiller’s famous “Ode to Joy” poem. For listeners in the post-Beethoven world, this symphony has often imbued a feeling of transcendence - representing the apex of human achievement and sending out a message of hope and peace which continues to resonate today.

Can’t make the live event? Check out the video recording at DarienLibrary.tv

About the Presenter Gil Harel (PhD, Brandeis University) is a musicologist and music theorist whose interests include styles ranging from classical repertoire to jazz and popular music, as well as opera, medieval, and renaissance music. Previously, he has served on the faculty at CUNY Baruch College, where he was awarded the prestigious “Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Teaching”, as well as the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu, China. Currently, he teaches at Naugatuck Valley Community College, where he was recently presented with the coveted “Merit Award for Exemplary Service to the College.” At NVCC, Dr. Harel conducts the college chorale, teaches music history and theory, and serves as musical director of theater productions. Outside of teaching, he enjoys staying active as a pianist and vocalist.


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