Arundel's Hanover Band concludes its Beethoven 250 celebrations

Orchestra The Hanover Band has recorded a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony to celebrate the anniversary of the composer’s 250th birthday this week.

Caroline Brown
Caroline Brown

It concludes a project which also celebrates the 40th anniversary of The Hanover Band, based in Arundel, and is believed to be the only recording made of the Choral Symphony during this unprecedented time.

Conductor Sir Mark Elder stepped into the breach for the recording after Benjamin Bayl, associate director of The Hanover Band, was affected by the Covid-19 travel restrictions.

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Sir Mark, music director of the Halle, was delighted to work with the musicians, taking a fresh look at Beethoven’s work and bringing founder Caroline Brown’s vision to perform all the composer’s symphonies, to fruition.

He said: “Perhaps the only silver lining of the current crisis is that opportunities have arisen at short notice to take on projects which in normal circumstances one’s schedule would not have permitted.”

“Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony was composed between 1822 and 1824 and is widely regarded as one of his greatest works.

“It was also the first example of a composer using voices in a symphony with words being sung during the final movement by four soloists.”

Sophie Bevan (Soprano), Madeleine Shaw (Mezzo), Ed Lyon (Tenor), and Darren Jeffery (Baritone) joined Sir Mark and The Hanover Band for this special recording.

The Ninth Symphony will be broadcast at 8pm (GMT) on Wednesday December 16, and the Beethoven 250 Online Festival Series can be viewed for free at https://thehanoverband.com/beethoven250/

The Hanover Band was founded by the late Caroline Brown, an alumna of the Royal College of Music, who trained with acclaimed French cellist André Navarra in Vienna. She was fascinated by Beethoven’s music and formed The Band in 1980 to perform and record his works as they would have been heard when he was alive – on period instruments in venues concerts goers of the day would have been accustomed to.

Caroline died of a rare cancer of the appendix two years ago but before she passed away, she planned the concerts for The Band’s 40th anniversary and Beethoven’s 250th anniversary in meticulous detail. Stephen, who is also Caroline’s husband, has been putting her plans into action.

Since its inception, The Hanover Band has played more than 1000 concerts worldwide and recorded more than 180 albums.