Houston Premieres: Following the Ninth: In the Footsteps of Beethoven’s Final Symphony

Ludwig van Beethoven’s sonic masterpiece Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 is one of classical music’s best known works, especially the bombastic finale (think fireworks and the finale of Caddyshack). Part of the Houston Premieres series, the documentary Following the Ninth: In the Footsteps of Beethoven’s Final Symphony is a look at the seminal work, written in 1824, when Beethoven was deaf and near the end of his life. Director Kerry Candaele takes viewers across five continents to explore the power and mystery of this work that has inspired people — often those suffering under op-pressive government regimes — for some 200 years.

“When the Chinese military invaded Tiananmen Square in 1989, the students there were playing it as their anthem of liberation,” Candaele notes on the film’s website. “In the same year, Leonard Bernstein conducted the Ninth at the Berlin Wall, where people were in the process of dismantling this symbol of oppression of the human will for freedom.” Featuring historical footage and contemporary interviews, the film is an insightful look at the meaning of a piece of music that goes well beyond some notes on a page.

1 p.m. Thursday, 5 and 7 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit mfah.org. $9.
Thu., April 3, 1 p.m.; Fri., April 4, 5 & 7 p.m.; Sat., April 5, 1 p.m., 2014

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