There are scholars who contend that late-18th-century German poet Friedrich Schiller’s original version of “Ode to Joy” was titled “Ode to Freedom,” but that he subsequently toned down its potential political implications. The rebellious spirit of the work was reinforced in Ludwig von Beethoven’s 1824 musical setting in his Symphony no. 9 in D minor, op. 125, and people around the world have since embraced it as an expression of defiance, solidarity and survival as well as pure exultation. It was sung to political prisoners by protestors against the Pinochet regime in Chile, by Chinese students demonstrating in Tiananmen Square, in Berlin to celebrate the fall of the Wall and in Japan following the 2011 tsunami.
If your spirits need a lift in these troubled times, a hearty dose of Beethoven’s Ninth might be just the right tonic. For the first time in a decade, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic has dusted off the beloved work and will be performing it at 8 p.m. this Saturday, April 29 at the Ulster Performing Arts Center in Kingston, accompanying the singers of Cappella Festiva, the Vassar Choir (directed by Christine Howlett) and soloists Rachael Rosales, Joshua Blue, Philip Cutlip and Helen Karrloski. Randall Craig Fleischer conducts, and will give a preconcert talk for ticketholders at 7 p.m. Haydn’s Symphony 100 in G major opens the program.
Tickets for this concert, closing out the Philharmonic’s 2016/17 season, range in price from $34 to $57. Student Rush tickets will be available one hour prior to the concert for $20. Tickets can be purchased at the Bardavon box office at 35 Market Street in Poughkeepsie, (845) 473-2072; the UPAC box office at 601 Broadway in Kingston, (845) 339-6088; or via Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com. For information, visit www.bardavon.org.