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Beethoven's Ninth provides some sparks at Hollywood Bowl
Beethoven's Ninth provides some sparks at Hollywood Bowl

There was a time when Beethoven's Ninth Symphony was considered to be a "festival piece," reserved for important occasions, but nowadays, it's done routinely by ensembles major and minor. Its "Ode to Joy" is the European Union anthem, Japan has canonized it, there are more recordings than anyone can get a grip upon. One wonders if the Ninth is losing its special status through overexposure. Yet whether by design or coincidence, the latest Ninth to come our way at the Hollywood Bowl on Thursday night did serve a commemorative purpose. The date was Sept. 11, and another war in the ever-turbulent Middle East is spreading. The uplifting message of the...

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