Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Wednesday 9th September 2009

Well dear followers and readers of the ears, it has been a bit of a special day today!

The more numberly orientated of you will have noticed that today's date is 09/09/09, and a few weeks ago @DrGeoduck tweeted something along the lines of "Who's going to listen to nine ninth symphonies on 09/09/09?" So I thought I would. I believe several other tweeps were doing so too, including @Danksound, @MahlerFan2 and possibly @Wheresrunnicles.

Most of this post will therefore be about the ninth symphonies!

However, in the car I've heard snippets of:
Handel - Acis & Galatea.

Now to the nine ninth symphonies. They were:
Beethoven - in D minor Op.125 - Berlin Phil, Herbert von Karajan
Vaughan Williams - in E Minor - RLPO, Vernon Handley
Mozart - in C Major K.73 - Northern Chamber Orchestra, Nicholas Ward
Bruckner - in D minor - BBC Phil, Bernhard Klee
Schubert - in C D944 - LPO, Adrian Boult
Malcolm Arnold - Op.128 - National Symph Orch of Ireland, Andrew Penny
Shostakovich - in Eb Major Op.70 - WDR Sinfonieorchester, Rudolf Barshai
Mahler - Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Leonard Bernstein
Dvorak - Op.95 - Berliner Philharmonkier, Rafael Kubelik

And that was the order in which I listened to them. An order selected partly on familiarity - interspersing works with which I was very familiar (Schubert the most familiar of all - my little brother even used to rock his high chair to it when we were very small, and Malcolm Arnold the least familiar - my first ever hearing), and partly on trying to get contrasting works next to each other - the briefer works being generally juxtaposed against the weightier ones. I started with Beethoven because I knew I'd be missing my morningly Triple Concerto, and ended with Dvorak because I love it!

On the grounds that they were all "Symphony No.9", and because people may be interested, I decided to say which recordings they were. In general, I'm afraid, I choose my recordings often on the basis of price, because I simply can't afford to get all the expensive ones. Nor, generally do I own multiple recordings of very many pieces - if I'm to own a second recording of one piece, it often means there is something else I can't have at all, so multiple recordings come at the expense of more repertoire, and I generally go for more repertoire. In these days of Spotify and so on I do get chance to hear more recordings, so that's an improvement, but being a recording afficionado will have to wait until I have a little more spending money!!

In addition, I left the CDs on after some of the symphonies and heard:
Vaughan Williams - Fantasia on Greensleeves (played an arrangement for grade 5 viola!)
Mozart - Symphony No.10
Shostakovich - Symphony No.10

It was quite some experience listening to that much symphonic music, and quite so much "heavy romantic" music. So the ears then had a little rest!

To finish the day I moved onto something a little different:
Louis Armstrong - What a Wonderful World (recommended by @iamamro)
About 6 further tracks from the Album Louis Armstrong & Friends (on Spotify)

Early evening:
Amy Winehouse - Back to Black (with the extra bonus disc)

Really a very interesting way to have selected a day's listening. I'm wondering about possibilities for the future. Maybe listening to all the Op.1s I can get my hands on on New Year's day or some such. I'll keep you posted if I come up with anything jolly!

In the meantime, I thought today's little adventure merited a photograph:


  1. well done!

    I only managed 5 nines. I suppose I have to wait for 09/09/3009 to try again.

  2. This has been fun! I've enjoyed spending this day in unity with fellow music-lovers, despite the 8 hour time zone difference. :-) Here's the list & order I ended up with:

    Schubert - Rattle/BPO
    Schuman - Schwarz/Seattle
    Shostakovich - Kondrashin/RCO
    Dvorak - Jansons/RCO
    Arnold - Penny
    Beethoven - Harnoncourt/COE
    Aho - Vanska/Lahti SO
    Vaughan Williams - Boult
    Mahler - Dohnanyi

    Listening to the Beethoven as I type this. In generally I tended to pick out performances that I really like but haven't listened to in a while.

    There's always so much dividing my attention, it's nice to have an excuse to devote a day to just music for a change!

    - Rob

  3. @iamamro - great news, I've put 09/09/3009 into my diary! See you there!

    @mahlerfan2 I too really enjoyed spending this day with fellow music lovers across the time zones Rob. Thought it was a fabulous idea and enjoyed your tweets throughout your listening day. I shall certainly search out the Aho "Trombone concerto meets Bach cantata" is too tempting a description to ignore!

    It was a great day. Thanks so much for your comment and playlist!