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Saundra DeAthos, Soprano
Sara Couden, Alto
Harold Meers, Tenor
Mark Delavan, Baritone
Charleston Symphony Orchestra Chorus | Dr. Robert Taylor, Director
Ken Lam, Conductor
RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS
FIVE MYSTICAL SONGS
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
SYMPHONY NO. 9 IN D MINOR, OP. 125, “CHORAL”
Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs is a choral work whichheavily features a baritone soloist in four of the five songs. Based on poems set to music, the verses are largely spiritually derived. While the first four maintain a tone of a deep introspection, the concluding fifth song “Antiphon,” lifts like a triumphant hymn.
Rapturous. Colossal. Legendary. These are all apt descriptions of one of the most well-known pieces of music of all time. In it, you experience sounds on a grand scale and voices like nothing else heard before or since. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony —his last—was a success from the very beginning.
The Ninth Symphony premiered in 1824 at a concert conducted by the composer, who at this point had lost his hearing. Its opening movement softly rumbles in anticipation and then builds to erupt; the second movement is lively but intense, and never shallow; the third is intimate, deliberately slow; the fourth movement ushers in a raucous fanfare, and attempt to return to earlier themes, and finally culminates victoriously with a united powerhouse of chorus, soloists, and musicians.