The Tacoma Symphony Orchestra and chorus and prominent local soloists join forces Saturday night for the season finale, a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9, the “Choral.” One of the most beloved and influential pieces in all Western classical music, the symphony includes the famous fourth movement “Ode to Joy.” A contemporary piece written about the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks and a Strauss waltz complete the program, held at Tacoma’s Pantages Theater.
Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony was the composer’s last, written in 1824 when he was already deaf. After a stunning premiere it went on to take its place as not only one of classical music’s most beloved pieces but as one of its seminal works: It was the first time a chorus had been used in a symphonic work (singing Friedrich Schiller’s “Ode to Joy” in the final movement) and the beginning of the large 19th-century symphony style. Adopted as the European anthem, it was played to celebrate the tearing down of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and has been used as a musical symbol of peace throughout the world.
It even influenced CD technology, as inventor Norio Ohga insisted that CDs be made long enough to accommodate the entire 74-minute work.
Joining the TSO will be a quartet of Puget Sound’s best vocal soloists: soprano Amber Sudduth Bone, mezzo-soprano Kathryn Weld, tenor Stephen Rumph, and bass-baritone Barry Johnson.
The program also includes Johann Strauss’ “Voices of Spring” waltz and “Voices Shouting Out” by American composer Nkeiru Okoye, written in late 2001 in response to the events of 9/11 in New York.
7:30 p.m. May 5. $12-$62. Pantages Theater, 901 Broadway, Tacoma. 253-591-5894, tacomasymphony.org