Last night, my family and I went to see the Manila Symphony Orchestra play Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, at the Meralco Theater. It was my first concert in years (the last time I watched one was in 2008, I think), and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

We got good seats, since my sister bought the tickets way back in October (for a 25% discount!). We were near the front, on the left side of the theater, with a good view of everything.

It was good to hear Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in its entirety.  Of course, everyone is familiar with the melody of “Ode to Joy” (taken from a poem written by Friedrich Schiller), the climactic last movement. The first part of the symphony had a lot of stirring piano.  The middle, the Adagio, had a moving, tender theme expressed by violins.  When “Ode to Joy” came along, we were treated to a choir (made up of smaller choirs) and guest soloists, in a rousing, uplifting, triumphant wall of sound.  This earned the orchestra and singers a standing ovation.

Sitting near the front, I was able to observe the different musicians closely.  One cellist’s bow had a broken string.  The percussionist playing the triangle was very precise, you could still hear the triangle above the cymbals. The Japanese pianist played with confidence and verve, it was a pleasure to see her perform.  Watching the conductor and his movements was fascinating; he had excellent control over the entire score.

If the theater had been any further away from our house I don’t think we would have braved the traffic to see the concert.  As it was we were able to get to the theater in 30 minutes. There are so many good concerts being shown nowadays. But I was happy to see this one; it stirred my heart. It was a rare treat.