Take one great and very familiar piece of music, add 200 singers, four soloists and under the baton of Maestro Fouad Fakhouri, a symphony recognized as one of the fi nest regional orchestras in the state, and all the elements are in place for an extraordinary musical experience. In its largest endeavor attempted in terms of musical forces, the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, in partnership with the new Spring Festival Chorus, will perform Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125” or “Choral” on Saturday, March 24, at 7:30 p.m. at Reeves Auditorium on the Methodist University campus in Fayetteville.
“Beethoven’s ‘Ninth’ is a work that I’ve always obviously wanted to do,” said Fakhouri. “It is ‘the’ piece of music in terms of Western classical symphonic music. It is the one that, if you ask most people which piece of music they know, they’ll either tell you Beethoven’s ‘Fifth’ or ‘Ode to Joy,’ which is the ‘Ninth’ symphony. It’s a seminal work. We want to encourage anyone and everyone to come. It’s going to be an incredible experience simply because the work is so good.”
No doubt part of the popular appeal of Beethoven’s “Ninth” is the familiar and rousing choral “Ode to Joy,” which incorporates part of the poem “Ode an die Freude” by Friedrich Schiller in the last movement and which will be performed by the newly formed Spring Festival Chorus, a partnership coordinating the Cumberland Oratorio Singers with other university and community choirs in the area. According to the COS website, the Spring Festival Chorus hopes “to make major choral works a tradition in Fayetteville!”
Also on the program is Fakhouri’s “Gargoyle,” a piece that until this concert event has only been performed in Europe, premiering in Sofi a, Bulgaria in 2004.
“It started out as a chamber piece that I wrote in 1997 or 1998,” Fakhouri said. “... and then six years later, I orchestrated it for the orchestra. I had this idea for a story line, so I built the piece around the story line.”
In the story, which is set in the mid 1800s, one of the gargoyles atop the Notre Dame Cathedral breaks free to avenge a murder that takes place underneath the cathedral.
“It is quite a diffi cult piece,” said Fakhouri. “It features the brass and the percussion. The tempo is quite quick. It’s loud and aggressive.”
Fakhouri explained his approach to pairing pieces like Beethoven’s “Ninth,” which premiered in May 1824, and the contemporary “Gargoyle” in a concert program.
“Typically when I put the program together, I try to provide the listener over the entire season with a variety of styles and even periods of music. I try to pick music that is romantic music, classical music, contemporary music. I’m always keeping that angle in mind, as well as more popular music and family-oriented music. I try to always diversify in that regard,” said Fakhouri.
“Beethoven’s symphony is such a well-known and loved piece, and people come knowing that work. Whenever I am performing newer works, whether it’s my piece or another new work, I try to pair it with a piece that is well established and well loved so that the audience will come in and hear something that they would have never heard before. They would hear it simply because they are coming to hear this other work.”
For more information or tickets for the performance, call (910) 433-4690 or email email@example.com Tickets are also available online at www.fayettevillesymphony.org.
Photo: Ludwig van Beethoven