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Ode to Joy Beethoven & Smyth

26 October 2024

In the Concert Hall

Sydney Philharmonia Choirs

Classical Music

Too often the voices of the past have been silenced. Not any more! The Choirs give full voice to Ethel Smyth’s passionate Mass in D alongside Beethoven’s universal anthem for freedom, ‘Ode to Joy’. 

Ode to Joy: Beethoven & Smyth

The critic George Bernard Shaw told Ethel Smyth that her ‘magnificent’ Mass would ‘stand up in the biggest company!’ and we wholeheartedly agree.   

For this Festival Chorus concert, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs has paired Smyth’s fiercely passionate creation with Beethoven’s mighty ‘Ode to Joy’ finale from his Ninth Symphony. Experience two impressively defiant personalities who, in their own ways, pursued grand visions and broke new ground with music that speaks powerfully of struggle and triumph.

With the ‘Ode to Joy’, Beethoven gave the world an anthem to ‘universal brotherhood’, an expression of freedom and joy. At the other end of the 19th century, Dame Ethel (the first female composer to be so honoured) was also a vocal champion of women’s rights and the suffrage movement – the universal sisterhood, in other words. Who better to compose the suffragette anthem, The March of the Women, with its bold words of hope? ‘Nought can ye win but by faith and daring’ – we think Beethoven would have agreed.

Presented by Sydney Philharmonia Choirs


Ethel SMYTH 
Mass in D major
The March of the Women (Suffragette Song)

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN 
Consecration of the House – Overture
‘Ode to Joy’ – Choral finale from Symphony No.9


Elizabeth Scott conductor
Bronwyn Douglass soprano
Helen Sherman mezzo-soprano
Bradley Daley tenor
Michael Honeyman baritone
Festival Chorus
The Sydney Youth Orchestra 
with members of Sydney Philharmonia Orchestra

Other information

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