Since 1936, the choirs of Sydney Philharmonia have been performing with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Over 80 years of music-making has provided both our organisations the opportunity to present thrilling choral and symphonic works under the world’s great conductors. In 2020 we continue this tradition under the baton of Donald Runnicles, David Robertson and Marin Alsop.
Beethoven Missa Solemnis
When Beethoven described it as his greatest work he was perhaps thinking of both its grand scale and its importance. He devoted four years of his final decade to this ultimate statement of his faith, inscribing on the score, ‘From the heart: may it reach the heart’.
Hearing the Missa Solemnis is an overwhelming experience. Moments of hushed intimacy are swept aside by thunderous choruses and vocal solos of operatic intensity. As always with Beethoven, his awe-inspiring music is rich with the complex emotions and ambiguities of a man grappling with the infinite.
Donald Runnicles continues his Music of Inspiration with the ultimate spiritual journey, which also marks the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth.
Last Night of the Proms
Join the Sydney Symphony and Sydney Philharmonia Choirs to belt out Rule, Brittania, stomp your feet, wave flags and join the merriment to celebrate the best in British classical and popular music.
Inspired by the classical music world’s wildest party, the Last Night is a time for all music-lovers to unite in a raucous appreciation of stirring favourites like Parry’s Jerusalem, and Elgar’s Land of Hope and Glory.
Mustering all the forces is conductor and host Guy Noble with special guest Teddy Tahu Rhodes.
Brahms A German Requiem
Experience a burnished orchestral sound blended with a heavenly choir in Brahms’ profound masterpiece.
A German Requiem was not composed for the dead, but to console the living. It is one of Brahms’ most deeply personal utterances, but its message is universal: ‘blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted’.
The deaths of Brahms’ mother and his mentor Robert Schumann were the impetus for a work which creates a moving sense of the composer’s journey from grief to acceptance. Instead of setting the Latin Mass, Brahms chose texts from Luther’s translation of the Bible, clothing them in some of his most luminous music – a burnished orchestral sound blended with a heavenly choir. It’s music that doesn’t need to raise its voice to touch the heart.
A German Requiem transcends religion, bringing peace to hearers of any spirituality. Brahms preferred to think of it as ‘Ein menschliches Requiem’ – a Human Requiem. David Robertson, an eloquent communicator, conducts this profound masterpiece.
A Global Ode to Joy
This Season, renowned conductor Marin Alsop will lead A Global Ode to Joy on five continents – a project made unique for each location.
When Beethoven incorporated Friedrich Schiller’s Ode to Joy poem into his Ninth Symphony, it was a radical call for equality, freedom, and humanity.
‘Ode to Joy is about standing up and being counted in this world. It’s about believing in our power as human beings,’ says Alsop. ‘Everyone will be tied together by this experience.’
The Sydney concerts, created with the Elders of our communities, will explore the rich heritage of our First Nations and multicultural communities – a quest for joy culminating in the blaze of Beethoven’s embrace of millions.
‘For me, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is a revolutionary piece. That sense of rebellion and that sense of relevance is unique,’ says Marin Alsop. ‘Celebrating the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth by reimagining his symphony—I think he would have loved it.’