The curse of the Ninth Symphony is one of classical music's juiciest bits of lore, akin to rock music's "27 Club"—and like that legend, the truth of the matter is more complicated than the gossip suggests. Although composers like Mozart and Haydn had completed dozens of symphonies, the curse of the Ninth Symphony is said to have begun with the death of Beethoven, likely the most famous symphonist, who never completed his Tenth. Other big names—Dvořák, Vaughan Williams, Bruckner, Schubert—are often cited as victims of the curse of the Ninth, but the lore probably owes its enduring power to Gustav Mahler, who was allegedly so superstitious about the curse that he published Das Lied von der Erde as "A Symphony for Tenor, Alto (or Baritone) Voice and Orchestra" rather than giving it the number 9. The irony, of course, is that he died after completing his Ninth Symphony—which would have been his Tenth if he hadn't been afraid of the curse!
"It would seem that the Ninth is an insurmountable boundary, a subtle threshold that connects the earthly realm and the afterlife, one that only a few daring souls dare to cross. It's as if an enigmatic secret is fervently guarded within the Tenth Symphony, a secret that the musical universe reveals only to those who are ready to confront the enigmatic depths of creativity and existence itself." — Arnold Schoenberg
Arnold Schoenberg's words resonate as an eerie call to the ears of bold composers who courageously challenge destiny. The curse of the Ninth Symphony emerges here, becoming a symbol filled with meaning, an obsession that compels masters to explore the boundaries between life and beyond, where the brilliance of creation meets enigma and mystery. It's as if the Ninth exists as a forbidden gateway, concealing a divine revelation beyond comprehension. Those who dare to compose a Ninth venture into uncharted territories, delicately brushing the ethereal veil that separates the mortal realm from a world of mysteries. Like any captivating legend, the truth behind this superstition is shrouded in an atmosphere of mystery, far beyond mere chatter: the story of the curse of the Ninth Symphony begins with great composers of the past, like Beethoven, Haydn, and Schubert, who left behind a legacy of magnificent symphonies for orchestra. But the mystery of the curse of the Ninth Symphony also influenced Anton Bruckner: obsessed with the romantic myth of not surpassing the cursed number, he avoided writing his Tenth by assigning the number 0 to one of his early symphonies, Die Nullte. Bruckner, in fact, composed a total of 11 symphonies during his lifetime, the first of which he wrote in 1863 in F minor as an exercise for his teacher Otto Kitzler, leaving it unnumbered but aptly named Schularbeit ("schoolwork" in English). The Symphony in D minor, precisely labeled as No. 0, brings the total numbering to nine symphonies and no further, due to the curse of the Ninth. And it's worth noting that Bruckner's Ninth Symphony is incomplete due to the composer's sudden death...Paying attention to superstitions, it doesn't seem coincidental that Bruckner was born in 1824, precisely the year of the first performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, as if it cast a dark shadow over him from his very birth! Another remarkable episode in the saga of the curse of the Ninth Symphony is the case of Dvořák, who also gifted us with nine symphonies. Among these, only five were known during his lifetime. And how marvelous is his Symphony From the New World! The list of symphony composers inflicted by the curse of the Ninth continues, rich and captivating: Alexander Glazunov, David Maslanka, Vincent Persichetti, Alfred Schnittke, Roger Sessions, Ralph Vaughan Williams...And we could go on! Each figure in this list, with their music and talent, has contributed to making the world of classical music a place imbued with mystery and allure. Thus, the curse of the Ninth Symphony continues to captivate the imagination of classical music enthusiasts, nurturing an aura of mystery and enchantment around symphonies bearing the fateful number. While scholars seek to understand the true origin of this superstition, it's undeniable that it has contributed to infusing the works of great composers from the past and present with unparalleled magic and depth. Perhaps, in the end, it's this dark and unfathomable charm that makes the curse of the Ninth Symphony one of the most intriguing stories in the world of orchestral music! Allow yourself to be tempted by mystery: come and discover more on medici.tv, the premier platform for streaming classical music!
The Curse of the Ninth is an intriguing superstition that has woven itself into the world of classical music, particularly within the realm of orchestral symphonies. This mysterious belief, the curse of the Ninth Symphony, asserts that composing or completing a ninth symphony will lead to the premature death of the composer. Even though it might appear as mere folklore, it has cast a shadow over some of the greatest musical minds in history! It was only after centuries of superstition that not one, but two composers managed to defy death: it was in 1953 when the Brazilian Heitor Villa-Lobos, along with the Russian Dmitri Shostakovich, wrote the final notes of their tenth symphonies. However, while Shostakovich had the courage to present it to the world, defying the curse of the Ninth, Villa-Lobos waited four years before having his Ninth Symphony performed for the first time in Paris! From that moment on, it seems that the number 9 progressively lost its dark power, to the extent that in the 1900s, many succeeded in overcoming this limit. But what would art be without an air of mystery, without legends that transcend rational understanding! Thus, the legend of the Curse of the Ninth Symphony has maintained an aura of superstition and allure, regardless of whether one believes it or not. This is why classical music, with its great geniuses and the legends that surround it, continues to captivate the imagination of anyone with a sensitive soul for art and beauty! So what are you waiting for? Come and discover the curse of the Ninth on medici.tv, the finest platform for streaming classical music!
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