"Froh, froh, wie seine Sonnen fliegen"
Gladly, like the heavenly bodies
which he set on their courses,
through the splendor of the firmament;
thus, brothers, you should run your race,
like a hero going to conquest.
Jon Vickers, tenor; London Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, Pierre Monteux, cond. Westminster-MCA-DG, recorded June 1962
Jon Vickers, tenor; Cleveland Orchestra Chorus, Cleveland Orchestra, Lorin Maazel, cond. CBS/Sony, recorded Oct. 13-15, 1978
-- from the finale of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony
Last week I put together, from audio clips we'd already heard over the years, a quick tribute to the late Jon Vickers, and still feel guilty about not including at least English texts for the selections, on the shabby ground that digging them out would have involved too much time and effort. (Well, oo-hoo!) Nobody complained, which is even more discouraging. One of these days I will go back and fix that post.
I led that post off with the above excerpt from the epochal finale of the Beethoven Ninth Symphony, precisely to hear Vickers in a "froh" frame of musical mind, since his greatest musical assumptions, despite moments of triumph, were on the desolate side. Again, we have two versions, one early-ish, the other much later. I thought you might like to hear the complete performances of the finale from which the excerpts are drawn (which we have in fact heard before, so you'll find them at the end.)
NOW FOR SOMETHING PRETTY DIFFERENT