B9. 3rd Mvmt. 4th Horn.

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“Music Tells the Story” is the marketing theme for the 2015-2016 season. Stories by Shakespeare, the great story of Don Quixote told with cello and viola, the stories of Scheherazade reimagined by John Adams.

And there are stories within stories. Beethoven’s choral shout of joy in his Symphony No. 9 is familiar to us all. You don’t even need to understand the words. It sounds what it is.

St. Louis Symphony horn player Julie Thayer at a St. Louis Zoo concert last September.
St. Louis Symphony horn player Julie Thayer at a St. Louis Zoo concert last September.

But for Symphony horn player Julie Thayer, there is another, musical story to tell. “Beethoven 9,” she writes. “It has the biggest (and practically only) fourth-horn solo in all the repertoire. I get to be the pseudo first horn for the whole third movement, which is both exciting and terrifying! It’s a mystery as to why Beethoven wrote such a crazy part for the fourth horn, but I for one am glad he did.”

So before you get to the famous fourth movement, Beethoven’s inventing other unique sounds, which lead to other stories, other joys.