Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sunday Morning in the Church of Beethoven

In my irregular feature:  You may have seen the popular video of a large and  exciting "flash mob" orchestra and choir doing the "Ode to Joy" and close of Ninth Symphony in a city square in Spain.  Others are now trying it elsewhere.  In fact, the Beethoven Festival that I am co-producing here in Nyack, N.Y. will be attempting it soon here.   For now, a modest-sized version in Connecticut:

Call Him Beat-hoven

Fascinating piece from the folks at RadioLab on the long debate over Beethoven's metronome marking.  The device was invented near the end of his life and he was one of the first to use one.  He went back and adding metronome markings to his first eight symphonies and many have long said that he made big mistakes, got the numbers all wrong--surely, he didn't want them played THAT fast.  Now the radio guys suggest some other theories, suggesting he made have wanted to do that, just to, in his fashion, shake things up. Speedy Van Beethoven. (h/t Barbara Bedway)