Performed as the closing concert to the 2016 Mayfield Festival, Mayfield Festival Choir joined the Southbank Sinfonia, conducted by Simon Over with Mayfield School Schola Cantorum and soloists from the Royal Academy of Music.
- L v Beethoven: Symphony No 9 in D Minor Op 125 (The Choral)
Is Beethoven’s Ninth the greatest symphony ever written? Many would say so. Indeed, the perceived greatness of the ‘Choral’ Symphony is the reason that Japanese-led CD technology of the early 1980s fixed upon 75 minutes as the maximum length that would be required on one disc. And in 2001, Beethoven’s handwritten score of the Ninth Symphony became the first physical piece of music to be added to the heritage list of the United Nations Memory of the World Programme.
Beethoven’s final symphony was commissioned by the Philharmonic Society of London, so Britain can lay claim to providing the impetus for the genesis of this highly original and powerful work. In the event, the symphony was premièred in Vienna and the vocal soloists were young (the Alto was 21 and the Soprano a mere 18 years of age). That youthfulness is mirrored in Mayfield’s performance, whose vocal soloists are all young Josephine Baker scholars. But at the 1824 première there were two conductors on stage, one of which was Beethoven himself! By contrast, Mayfield will only be fielding a single conductor, although Beethoven’s spiritual presence will be palpable, as it is in each and every performance of this epic work.
The Southbank Sinfonia is an orchestra of young professionals and is recognised as a leading orchestral academy, providing graduate musicians from all over the world with a much-needed springboard into the profession.
Each year its players undertake an intensive nine-month programme of performance and professional development. This comprises performances across Britain and Europe involving orchestral repertoire, chamber music, opera, dance and theatre. They enjoy creative partnerships with leading art organisations such as the Royal Opera, National Theatre, BBC Concert Orchestra, Academy of St Martins in the Fields and acclaimed artists such as Vladimir Ashkenazy.