What Comes Before Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’?

Manfred Honeck, a leading Beethoven conductor, guides us through the beginning of the end of the mighty Ninth Symphony. (From the NY Times)

I think you need to have a Times subscription for this, but it is SO EXCELLENT.

I have loved “The Ninth” since I was little, long before I ever knew of its Kubrick connection or any other pop culture references. And not only does this do a marvelous job of explaining some of the sneaky brilliance Beethoven put into the first three and a quarter movements before singing starts, the HD fidelity of the short musical excerpts is breathtaking! Put on your best headphones.

Personally, I feel this conductor is a little too break-neck in his fourth movement tempos, even if as conductor of the Pittsburgh Philharmonic he is considered a top Beethoven interpreter. But I am going to seek out and buy the recording in none the less.

But I must be careful. This is heap big magic. Uber powerful stuff that I know it too well.

Like “Wish You Were Here” and side 2 of “Abby Road,” if I even start to think about the opening of such albums, the entire thing will play in my brain note for note and there isn’t much I can do to stop it.