Wednesday, September 9, 2009

09—09—09


Today is another triple number day—this time it’s all about the nines. And what better way to mark the occasion than to sample a bit of Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony. Here we have the renown Herbert von Karajan (1908-89) conducting the brief Coda to the first movement. Bruckner’s 9th symphony was his last, and is incomplete. His name is on the list of composers called The Curse of the Ninth. Here is the explanation, condensed from Wikipedia:

The Curse of the Ninth is the superstition that any composer of symphonies, from Beethoven onwards, will die soon after writing their own Ninth Symphony, possibly leaving it unfinished. The most prominent examples, besides Beethoven, are Franz Schubert, Antonín Dvořák, Anton Bruckner, Gustav Mahler, and Ralph Vaughan Williams. In an essay about Mahler, Schoenberg wrote: "It seems that the ninth is a limit. He who wants to go beyond it must pass away. It seems as if something might be imparted to us in the Tenth which we ought not yet to know, for which we are not ready. Those who have written a Ninth stood too close to the hereafter." Some other composers used as examples of the curse include: Kurt Atterberg, Elie Siegmeister, Alfred Schnittke, Roger Sessions, Egon Wellesz, and Malcolm Arnold. There are, however, notable notable counterexamples, among them Shostakovich, Tubin, Villa-Lobos, and Hovhannes. Both Mozart and Hadyn wrote more than nine, but they don’t make the list since they predate Beethoven, which is considered to be the beginning of the curse.






Portrait of Anton Bruckner from www.mog.com

8 comments:

Ackworth born said...

the curse of the 9th - I've had the odd problem with blogger loading pictures sideways - it did it for a while some time ago and I never did find out why - my getaround is to post the picture on my personal webspace and point there instead but it's a nuisance.

Lin said...

glad the curse was broken...

bobbie said...

What an interesting statistic. But pretty music.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Interesting about the Curse of the 9th, Deb. I knew that Haydn wrote many more--but as you said, he came before Beethoven. I love the Bruckner 9th.

Did you hear that the Chinese think that today is magical and may bring them good luck and happiness? SO--many of them are lining up to get married TODAY.

Hugs,
Betsy

SandyCarlson said...

I didn't know that about the 9th. That was a great read.

fourwindsphotojournal said...

Well, damn, I didn't even write a check today, so I would have missed the date if I hadn't read this.

I just read Betsy's comment, and now I am trying to think if my day was magical. It was good, so maybe.

Sylvia K said...

Great post, as always, Deborah! I'd heard of the curse of the 9th but you filled in some of the details I didn't know. Marvelous music!

Have a lovely evening,

Sylvia

Ruth said...

An interesting take on 09/09/09. I heard it was a lucky day to get married, but not so lucky for musicians.