Review: Handel & Haydn’s outdoor Beethoven 9 caps bicentennial season

Posted on: July 28, 2015

“The opening of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is like one of Zeus’s thunderbolts, and Sunday in Copley Square, a lowering sky threatened to send the Handel and Haydn’s Society’s free outdoor performance inside,” writes Jeffrey Gantz in Tuesday’s (7/28) Boston Globe. “But the storm held off, and the symphony, the climax of Handel and Haydn’s 200th-anniversary season, and a highlight of the city’s Summer Arts Weekend, went on as planned….. Copley Square was packed. The performance, led by Handel and Haydn resident conductor Ian Watson, [clocked] in just under an hour…. It was thunderous enough to make audience members look anxiously up at the sky…. The scherzo, taken at a sensible tempo that didn’t clot, was a highlight, and the andante section of the slow movement had a nice triple-time sway…. Orchestra members dealt valiantly with the conditions.… [Audience members] standing at the edges of Copley Square could follow the proceedings on a video screen at the back of the stage, with excellent camerawork spotlighting Watson and individual orchestra members. In their enjoyment of Beethoven’s masterpiece, the audience … embodied the brotherhood of Friedrich Schiller’s text. Reason enough for Zeus to withhold those thunderbolts.”

Posted July 28, 2015