Monday, November 11, 2013

Visual Display of Beethoven Ninth Symphony

November 11th New York Times talked about the show of the original score of   one of Beethoven’s masterpieces Ninth Symphony. The display of the handwritten score at the Morgan Library & Museum is open to the audience at a passage near the end of performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. According to the article, this is the score conductor George Smart used at his first Beethoven Ninth symphony in London performance in 1825. Also this score is part of an two scores exhibited at the Morgan. The theme of this display is  “Beethoven’s Ninth: A Masterpiece Reunited.” Besides this one, The other score being displayed this time is the only other copyist’s manuscript of the Ninth that Beethoven edited; it is the source for the first published edition and brings us back to the piece’s premiere in 1824, in Vienna. The display of these two manuscripts end with December 1st. Although it is relatively short, the reunion of these two scores give the public the unusual opportunity to see Beethoven’s manuscripts.

Compared to the British edition of Beethoven Ninth Symphony, this one has more intimate connection than the British score. According to the article, this score was said to be in use when Beethoven conducted the orchestra during his first performance of his ninth symphony. At that time, Beethoven was deaf and he “threw himself back and forth like a madman,” however, the players had been instructed by the real conductor to play without paying attention to the conductor.

As mentioned in this article, the score was given the Juilliard School in 2006 by the hedge fund manager Bruce Kovner as part of a music manuscript collection for the reference of their students. Personally, I think composer’s manuscripts should be displayed to conservatory students more. When students have reference to the real manuscript, they will have better understanding of the real point of the composer. Although nowadays, many publication companies have good edition of music, for example, Henle has many urtexts for major composers of piano, it is still beneficial if students can have the access to the original score.

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