25 July 2017

Oakland Civic Orchestra: Beethoven's 5th Symphony

One of the most personally important pieces I have ever played is Beethoven's fifth symphony. It is a piece everyone recognizes with its famous first four notes: dut dut dut DUH! These notes are an everpresent reality in most of the symphony; whether we are hearing the intervals involved, the rhythmic motif, the struggle to move from minor to major, etc., these four notes drive everything. When I was in Junior High School I was struck with the thought that "never was so much done with so little"! Remember, Beethoven was struggling to come to terms with his own deafness and the potential crippling of his own genius when he wrote this symphony. It seems appropriate that in situations of personal limitation, deficiency, and also potential, I have come back to this symphony in one way and another.

This last year, when working with my director on a number of areas of personal suffering, limitation, healing, and growth, a friend gave me four tickets to the SF Symphony. It was a lecture on and performance of Beethoven's 5th --- and a great grace for me. "Never was so much done with so little," was the refrain I heard again. Then, the Oakland Civic Orchestra did this same symphony for our last set this June, right at the one year mark of my own intensive work. Again and again, four notes, a simple rhythm, an almost unimaginable potential --- and the new refrain I heard was "Never was so much hidden potential revealed in such a focused way!" For me this is the symphony I associate most with the quality and virtue of hope. I have included OCO playing the first movement above; other movements to come as Carol gets them finished! I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed playing them! (Enlarge the screen for best visibility.)

The last two movements are included below.