The 2009 Festival will feature one of the most popular and familiar compositions in all of classical music: Beethoven’s Symphony No 5 in C minor. From the famous opening 4 notes of the fate motif to the final 29 bars of fortissimo C major chords at its conclusion, this incredible symphony has resonated though two centuries to bring us Beethoven’s genius. Embodying heroic grandeur, it was chosen for inaugural concerts of the New York Philharmonic and the National Symphony Orchestra.
Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” written in 1944 played a part in a different and more recent inauguration. Until he wrote the melody into the 7h section of this piece, “Simple Gifts” was a little known Shaker melody. An arrangement of it by John Williams was played at the inauguration of Barack Obama. “Appalachian Spring” was written as a ballet for Martha Graham who danced the premiere at the Library of Congress. The “Spring” in the title is not the season, but the source of water.
In contrast, to the dark and somber Beethoven and the gentle celebration of the American pioneer spirit of Copland, Charles Ives’ “Variations on “America” is a humorous and playful piece full of surprises (no 29 consecutive measures of C major chords here!). He composed it for the organ in 1891, at age 17, for a Fourth of July recital and William Schuman arranged it for orchestra in 1949.
Following up the immensely successful 2008 Auction, the 2009 spring Auction promises great fun, great food, great prizes and a great opportunity to support the Festival. The Auction will be returning to the site of the 2006 Auction: Lakeway Inn Friday, April 24, 2009. SAVE THE DATE!
Contributions sill needed for 2009!
Despite the weakened economy, music lovers are continuing to support the Festival but not enough to make up for decreased government grants. Ticket sales cover only 28% of the costs of the concerts. Contributions can be sent to Bellingham Festival of Music, PO Box 818. Bellingham, WA 98227
Vol. 2009, No.2
- Curse of the Nine:
Beethoven, Mahler, Shubert, Bruckner, Dvorak and Vaughn-Williams all wrote 9 symphonies and died before finishing number 10.
- While it is commonly stated that the last movement of Beethoven’s Fifth is the first time the trombone and the piccolo were used in a concert symphony, it is not true.