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Wednesday October 22, 2014
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Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra .

 

continued

eyes and couldn't focus that far.

Although I might quibble about this or that interpretive detail, I think the woman sitting next to me got the point. How else could one react to a magnificent performance of Beethoven's Ninth, the greatest piece of music ever written? Beethoven said that the opening movement reminded us of our despair, and the AASO was terrifying in its merciless malevolence. Beethoven said that the Scherzo was a joke, and the symphony's relentless rhythmic tattoo was hilarious. Beethoven thought that the sublime Adagio was a dream of ideal earthly beauty, and the orchestra's lush woodwinds and luminous strings were Venus rising from the sea. And Beethoven's setting of Schiller's "Ode to Joy" demands that all people "will be brothers" and that "beyond the starry firmament a loving father must surely dwell," and the Ann Arbor Symphony's performance did indeed raise us beyond the starry firmament to the fields of Elysium.

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