Party like it’s 1824 with Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”

Joseph Giunta leads the Des Moines Symphony through its 86th season finale this weekend. (Photo: DMSO)

How do you breathe new life into a 200-year-old masterpiece? Start with a lot of lungs. More than 100 local voices, including the Des Moines Vocal Arts Ensemble, will join the Des Moines Symphony to revive Beethoven’s groundbreaking Ninth Symphony on its 200th anniversary. (At the end of its premiere, in Vienna, the audience waved their hats and handkerchiefs in the air so Beethoven could see, if not hear, their five standing ovations. By then he’d lost most of his hearing.)

The Ninth, with its famous “Ode to Joy,” caps off the symphony’s indoor season at the Des Moines Civic Center, in a program with Franz von Suppe’s overture to the 1864 operetta “Pique Dame (The Queen of Spades)” and contemporary composer Valerie Coleman’s “Umoja: Anthem of Unity.”

Before you go to the concerts, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, tune in to the “DMSO Remix” podcast, featuring insights about the program from Eric McIntyre, who teaches music at Grinnell College.

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