“I embrace you, oh you millions!” Few melodies are more familiar – or more misused – than the Ode to Joy that crowns Beethoven’s final symphony. But in 1824, the idea of a universal right to happiness was still controversial: and Schiller’s original title, “Ode to Freedom” was dangerously subversive. As our exploration of Beethoven’s roots reaches its climax, we aim to put the danger back into the Ninth by
prefacing it with the stirring, sometimes bloody anthems of revolutionary France – the soundtrack of Beethoven’s youth. And then giving our all to a symphony that, 250 years after Beethoven’s birth, never gets any less radical.The concert will be recorded for future broadcast on BBC Radio 3. All seating is unreserved.