Ludwig van Beethoven wrote only nine symphonies, but director Leonard Slatkin announced Tuesday the National Symphony Orchestra will play the 10th - or at least one music professor’s reconstruction of what it might have been like.
“There’s always been some sketches of what Beethoven intended for a 10th symphony,” Slatkin said. “An Englishman named Barry Cooper … collected as many sketches as he could, put them together and made a workable draft of what might have been.”
It’s a single movement, which Slatkin said was 12 minutes long, marked “allegro,” or fast. Cooper, a professor of music at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, put it together from 30 bars of Beethoven sketches. There was also material for three other movements, but he considered it too meager.
Cooper’s reconstruction was first performed in 1988 by Britain’s Royal Philharmonic Society, to which Beethoven promised the work shortly before his death in 1827. It has rarely been heard since.
The Beethoven reconstruction will open the orchestra’s season Sept. 5 at the Eisenhower Theater of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts - the center’s concert hall is going through its own reconstruction, due for completion in October.
The first major work on the concert hall in 26 years will cost $10 million. It is designed to improve the acoustics with an adjustable canopy stretching over the orchestra.
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