Wednesday 16 December 2020

Sir Mark Elder steps in at last minute to conduct a celebratory performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Hanover Band

Sir Mark Elder, the Hanover Band - Beethoven's Symphony No. 9

This year is the Hanover Band's 40th anniversary and in celebration of this, as well as another major musical birthday, the Arundel-based period instrument ensemble planned to perform all of Beethoven's symphonies. The project had to move on-line where they have been releasing films of performances of all the symphonies and a selection of chamber music performed by the Consone Quartet. The series culminates in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 which goes out at 8pm tonight (16 December 2020), the day presumed to be Beethoven's birthday, on the ensemble's website

But there were further events in store, the ensemble's associate director Benjamin Bayl was hit with travel restrictions which meant that he could not fulfil his planned engagement to conduct the symphony. However, Sir Mark Elder, the music director of the Halle, was able to step in. Sir Mark is no stranger to period instrument performance; his long relationship with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment has resulted in many revelatory performances, perhaps most recently Rossini's Semiramide which was recorded for Opera Rara. Interestingly Semiramide was premiered in 1823 in Venice, exactly at the time that Beethoven was writing his choral symphony in Vienna!

So that tonight Sir Mark Elder conducts Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Hannover Band and soloists Sophie Bevan (Soprano), Madeleine Shaw (Mezzo), Ed Lyon (Tenor), and Darren Jeffery (Baritone), recorded at the Mansion House in the City of London.

The Hanover Band was founded by the late Caroline Brown, an alumnus of the Royal College of Music, who trained with French cellist André Navarra in Vienna. She was fascinated by Beethoven’s music and formed The Hanover Band in 1980 to perform and record his works as they would have been heard when he was alive – on period instruments in venues concerts goers of the day would have been accustomed to. Caroline died of a rare cancer of the appendix two years ago but before she passed away, she planned the concerts for the ensemble’s 40th anniversary and Beethoven’s 250th anniversary in meticulous detail.

Full details from the Hanover Band's website.

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