There's certainly a tragic underpinning to Ludwig van Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. It's not that the 19th-century masterwork is inherently heartbreaking (its famous choral finale includes the poem “Ode to Joy”). Its sadness is drawn from its premiere in Vienna in 1824, when the man who'd spent years writing the composition had become completely deaf. Accounts of its performance claim that Beethoven was so vigorous in his conducting that he was still doing so when the orchestra had finished playing, forcing a soloist to turn him around so that he could see the resulting standing ovation. A testament to artistic will, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is to highlight the opening of the Richmond Symphony season. Also performing the works of Mason Bates and Vaughan Williams, the orchestra is scheduled to play Richmond CenterStage on Saturday, Sept. 25, with an encore performance on Sept. 26. $17-$72. Tickets at richmondsymphony.com or call
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