City of Westminster, Royal Philharmonic Society Unveil Plaque for Beethoven's 'Ninth'

By Logan K. Young on Aug 13, 2013 04:27 PM EDT

On Sunday, a Westminster City Council green plaque was unveiled on London's Regent Street--the site of the first U.K. performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

The plaque was placed, too, to mark the bicentenary of the Royal Philharmonic Society, which commissioned Beethoven’s "Choral" symphony in 1822.

Conducted by founding member Sir George Smart, the RPS premièred Beethoven's Ninth on March 21,1825 at John Nash's New Argyll Room--which, from 1820-30, stood on the spot of what is now the Regent Street branch of NatWest Bank.

(The RPS was chartered on nearby Manchester Street, but its offices remain in Westminster.)

The plaque was unveiled by Royal Philharmonic Society chairman John Gilhooly and Michael Brahams, deputy lieutenant of Greater London.

"Buildings come and go, but the essential nature of the human spirit, which Beethoven so perfectly encapsulates in his famous symphony, remains constant," remarked Gilhooly.

The plaque proceedings included a performance of a new brass fanfare, Joie de Vivre, specially commissioned from Bertie Baigent, an 18-year-old composer from the National Youth Orchestra.

Later that evening, the combined National Youth Orchestra and National Youth Choir travelled to Royal Albert Hall to perform a free BBC Proms concert that included both Beethoven's Ninth, as well as the world première of Mark-Anthony Turnage's Frieze--itself inspired by Beethoven's magnum opus.

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TagsRoyal Philharmonic Society, Westminster, Beethoven, Ninth Symphony, NatWest Bank, National Youth Orchestra, Joie de Vivre, Bertie Baigent, BBC Proms, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Frieze

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