Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony
Title Details

322 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

1 b/w illus.

Imprint: Boydell Press

Beethoven's Ninth Symphony

Rehearsing and Performing its 1824 Premiere

by Theodore Albrecht

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Brings to life the day-to-day details of staging the premiere of one of the most iconic works of Western classical music.

The Ninth Symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven with its final choral movement is one of the iconic works of Western classical music. And yet, the story never fully told concerns the months leading to the symphony's world premiere in Vienna on 7 May and repeat performance on 23 May 1824. In his new book, Theodore Albrecht brings to life the day-to-day details that it took to stage that premiere. It's a story of negotiating for performance halls and performers' payments, of hand-copying legible scores and individual parts for over 120 performers, of finding financiers, as well as space and time for rehearsals. Importantly, it is also a story of the relationship between Beethoven and the musicians who performed this symphonic masterpiece. In fact, as the maddening rehearsal schedule towards the symphony's premiere shows, it transpires that many passages of the Ninth have been tailored to specific orchestral players.


Many modern-day musicians will recognize familiar situations in rehearsals, many scholars and students will relish unprecedented new detail. All this comes to the fore by reconstructing the story drawing on the (almost) deaf composer's Conversation Books which Beethoven had been using since 1818. In the performance story of the Ninth Symphony's premiere, Albrecht makes full use of these invaluable documents, which are now being translated for the first time into English in a series of 12 volumes published by the Boydell Press.
Preface
Acknowledgements

Chapter 1: Composition of the Ninth Symphony
Chapter 2: Petition, Preparations, Copying
Chapter 3: Finding a Location
Chapter 4: Final Preparations / First Rehearsals
Chapter 5: Rehearsals and Confusion
Chapter 6: Premiere and Celebratory Dinner
Chapter 7: One More Time
Chapter 8: Second Premiere and Financial Reality

Appendix A: Anton Schindler's Acquaintance with Beethoven
(March, 1814 - May, 1824)
Appendix B: The Ludlamshöhle Petition, late February, 1824
Appendix C: Vienna's Principal Theaters and Halls in Beethoven's Time
Appendix D: Orchestral Personnel, Kärntnertor Theater, 1822/1824
Appendix E: Choral Personnel, Kärntnertor Theater, 1822/1824
Appendix F: Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde's Volunteer Sign-Up Sheet, 1824
Appendix G: Schindler's Account of Beethoven's Post-Akademie
Dinner in the Prater


Bibliography
Index of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony
Index of Beethoven's Other Compositions
General Index

THEODORE ALBRECHT, Professor Emeritus of Music at Kent State University, Ohio, is an award-winning Beethoven scholar. He has authored many important articles on the composer and is the editor of Letters to Beethoven and Other Correspondence (1996) as well as translator and editor of Beethoven's Conversation Books (Boydell Press).

"Albrecht succeeds in reconstructing the tensions of 200 years ago, reliving the moments when music changed forever. Read no more than ten pages, and you will find his book utterly indispensable." Norman Lebrecht, THE CRITIC
"Drawing on his recent landmark translations of Beethoven's conversation books, Albrecht peppers his day-by-day breakdown with everyday observations that bring the story to life. We learn of Beethoven's note to make sure he got a haircut before the premiere and his pleas for the second violins to pay attention. It's a book of plentiful footnotes and in-depth appendices and perhaps tells us more about musical life in Vienna than the symphony itself - but is no less fascinating and invaluable for that." Rebecca Franks, BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE
"Albrecht must be congratulated for creating what is by my count the first monograph on rehearsal or pre-performance practices. It is an encouraging step towards a greater understanding of this important aspect of historical music making, and I hope to see others follow this path." Marten Noorduin, THE BEETHOVEN JOURNAL

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9781837651054

February 2024

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9781837651566

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Title Details

322 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

1 b/w illus.

Imprint: Boydell Press