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NZSO and Guests - "Ode to Joy" @ Dunedin Town Hall, 28/9/11

As a kid I remember they played Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy' at the olympics on TV. I was always moved by the song and found it uplifting. When I heard that the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra were going to prform Ode to Joy at the Dunedin Town Hall I decided I had to go. Aside form the Orchestra, the concert had a full choir as well a few lead vocalists. The Dunedin town hall with its old world atmosphere added an extra dimension.

I accidently got there half an hour early and the man who organised the show was giving a talk about the show. He was using intellectual language when talking about the production and used flamboyant terms like the show would have 'a lot of sparkle' whatever that meant. When I heard him talking about the show with these sort of words I was worried that it wasnt going to be a traditional playing of 'Ode to Joy' and might be something odd like have a jazz flute instead of an oboe or something. But my initial concerns were unfounded and the show started in the traditional way. The first movement of 'Ode to Joy' I find isnt very exciting (not the playing, the actual composition by Beethoven) and is almost like Beethoven got over the most boring part of the symphony first before moving onto the better, more exciting movements.

Once the first movement was over the Organiser (the guy using flamboyant language) came out in his normal clothes (everyone else was wearing tuxedos) and went to the podium looking like he wanted praise from the audience which I found annoying. I felt the musicians should be the ones getting all the glory. At this point I was feeling disappointed but once the 2nd movement started my initial annoyance went away as the more familiar Beethoven tunes were played. Now it was like the Beethoven you expect and the choir, sopranos and tenors gradually went into full swing with the second and third movmements. The tunes gradually moved up a notch from being sombre up to an exciting cresendo. The forth movement culminated in the awesome 'Ode to Joy' and the choir was fantastic, giving me that uplifting feeling I had as a kid watching it at the Olympics. It was a great show and I was glad I stayed through the start.

By Glenn Linde More articles


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