Seattle Symphony New Year's Eve Bash

Some seasons ago Gerard Schwarz changed the format of the Seattle Symphony’s New Year’s Eve concerts from pops to Beethoven’s Ninth. Its “Ode to Joy” choral finale still ends the evening on a note of celebration, but the work’s first three movements will fold rapture, whimsy, and possibly even terror into your party mood. And contemplation, too: As prologues to the symphony, Schwarz conducts Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, a tender gift to his wife on the birth of their son, and Bright Sheng’s Black Swan, his reworking of a violet-scented Brahms intermezzo for piano. Apparently, in that finale, it was Beethoven’s own idea to swap in the line “Alle Menschen werden Brüder” (“All men will become brothers”) for poet Friedrich Schiller’s original. I’m surely not the only one who hears this line each year wanting it to be a bit truer, and who resigns himself to another year of hoping and waiting. Which is probably why Schwarz keeps playing it. ($50-$150 includes dancing and midnight countdown.) GAVIN BORCHERT

Wed., Dec. 29, 7:30 p.m.; Thu., Dec. 30, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 31, 9 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 2, 2 p.m., 2010

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