NACOcast with Sean Rice

Exploring Beethoven Symphonies No. 7, 8 and 9

with Alexander Shelley

Sean Rice, NAC Orchestra’s 2nd clarinetist, and NAC Music Director Alexander Shelley complete their three-episode series on Beethoven’s nine symphonies.

The seventh symphony’s funeral march starts off the conversation. The 1813 premiere of the work featured an encore of the funeral march. What made it so significant? The eighth symphony was “much better” in Beethoven’s opinion than the seventh. The harmonic architecture of its first movement is rather unusual for the day, while the next two movements are very classical. The short, quick and witty fourth movement harks back to the first movement. But the ninth… The ninth symphony is of a scale that he had never before undertaken.

Sean Rice and Alexander Shelley discuss this marvelous work beginning by its last movement, and lay out the political climate in Vienna at the time, making a connection between the ninth and Beethoven’s influences. “Be embraced, you millions: this kiss is for the whole world”.

Watch episode 1: Symphonies No. 1, 2 and 3
Watch episode 2: Symphonies No. 4, 5 and 6