Beethoven’s Ninth in Free Concert at the DCR Hatch Shell

When the Handel and Haydn Society celebrates the return of the Boston arts scene with a free concert on Friday, Aug. 27, at 7 p.m. at the DCR Memorial Hatch Shell on the Esplanade, it will be as thrilling for the musicians on stage as it will be for their audience.

“Musicians, I didn’t fully realize, need the audience for a great performance,” said David Snead, president and CEO of the Handel and Haydn Society “Even though we went to digital content [during the pandemic], there was no interaction with the audience that the musicians really need for inspiration, so getting that back was a big deal for them.”

For their first concert in 16 months, the Handel and Haydn Orchestra and Chorus will perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, renowned for its famed “Ode to Joy” finale. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 is a choral symphony, taking its words from “Ode to Joy,” a poem written by Friedrich Schiller. It will feature four vocal soloists along with the H+H Chorus and members of the H+H Youth Choruses.

“Beethoven’s Ninth finishes with ‘Ode to Joy’ so it seemed like the right moment for us to perform that expression of joy,” said Snead. “Obviously, the pandemic has been tough on everyone, and there has been a lot of tragedy associated with it. Now, we’re coming out of it, and this is the time to get together and really celebrate the return of live arts in Boston.”

Previously, the Handel and Haydn Society performed in a free concert in Copley Square in 2015, celebrating the organization’s bicentennial. H+H also performed the Boston premiere of the work in 1853.

Media sponsors for the Aug. 27 concert include The Boston Globe and CRB.  H+H will follow all health guidelines put forth by the local health department at the event.

The rain date for this event is Saturday, Aug. 28, at 7 p.m. at the Hatch Shell.

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