Saturday, March 7, 2015

On Hearing Beethoven's Allegretto, First Heard 52 years Ago

"One of the happiest products of my poor talent." Ludwig von Beethoven

Last evening we attended a concert by the Royal Oak Symphony Orchestra, our local community orchestra. The concert included Beethoven's Symphony No. 7, in A Major, Op. 92. The moment the Allegretto began in the second movement I was transported back to over 50 years ago. I was about 10 when my elementary school class went to hear the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra play, and this was one of the pieces performed in the Young People's Concert.

I remember this so clearly because I had recognized the theme and told those around me I had learned the theme on the piano. I have always loved this music. I found a nice article about the Seventh Symphony at this NPR article.

I found the picture postcard of Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo, NY where I heard my first concert.

From their webpage, I learned that the Kleinhans Music Hall opened on October 12, 1940 with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's first concert. The building was designed by Eliel and Eero Saarinen to resemble the body of a string instrument. Read more here. It is located on what was originally a park designed by Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux in 1868.

The history of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra shows the music director I would have seen was Josef Krips. We moved in June 1963, and I am sure my Fifth Grade class attended the concert.
Farewell letter from music director Krips
I also learned that since their inception in 1935 they held youth concerts with 1,200,000 students having attended!!!
1950 children going to Young Persons Concert at Kleinhans Music Hall
"All tumult, all yearning and storming of the heart, become here the blissful insolence of joy, which carries us away with bacchanalian power through the roomy space of nature, through all the streams and seas of life, shouting in glad self-consciousness as we sound throughout the universe the daring strains of this human sphere-dance. The Symphony is the Apotheosis of the Dance itself: it is Dance in its highest aspect, the loftiest deed of bodily motion, incorporated into an ideal mold of tone." Richard Wagner