The Curse of the Ninth

Main Story: There’s also in Classical Music the Curse of the Ninth Symphony which is a belief that after a composer composes his ninth symphony that they die. Beethoven, Schubert, Dvorak…lots of them died after their ninth symphony. And so it’s this idea like the Curse of Superman where everybody who plays Superman is cursed and something bad happens to them. And Mahler is really the most famous one. He wrote his Eighth Symphony then he wrote a song cycle with some German name which while technically a symphony was also technically a song cycle. So he tried to cheat the curse. But then he admitted it was his ninth. And then he started working on a tenth and he died before he could complete it. The Curse of the Ninth got him.

Background Information: This piece was performed by James Burnett, my brother. James has been playing music for most of his life and it is his great passion.

Context of the Performance: The story was performed in person in James’ room in our house.

My Thoughts on the Piece: It’s so funny that Classical musicians have what is basically a ghost story. It reminded me a lot of the Curse of Superman. I checked into the facts of this some more and like the Curse of Superman it requires a very selective reading of the facts to convince yourself there is a curse. It’s funny though how much I don’t care. I know rationally that the Curse of Superman is ridiculous but it’s fun to believe in. I feel the same way about the Curse of the Ninth. It’s amazing how even though the world seems so modern we’re just as superstitious as ever. I suppose these superstitions are harmless. They only become a problem when you let them start running your life.