The folks at the box office at the Sandusky State Theatre tell me there are still tickets available for the Firelands Symphony Orchestra's performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16. The piece is sometimes considered the best classical music composition of all time.
Here are a few facts on the Ninth:
• At the initial performance of the Ninth Symphony, the deaf composer had his back to the audience members and could not hear their wild cheering. One of the singers walked over and turned Beethoven around so he could see the crowd applauding and tossing hats in the air.
• The Ninth Symphony is performed throughout Japan in December as part of the country's new year's celebrations. In December 2009, for example, there were 55 performances.
• WQXR FM, a classical music radio station in New York, did a year end countdown in 2012 of the top 105 classical pieces, based on thousands of votes cast by listeners. Beethoven's Ninth was No. 1.
• About 100 million people throughout the world heard a broadcast performance of Beethoven's Ninth, conducted by Leonard Bernstein, after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
• According to legend, the 74-minute maximum length for audio CDs was agreed upon to allow room for recordings of the Ninth Symphony. Snopes.com, the Internet debunking site, rates this claim as "undetermined."
• The Cleveland Orchestra has recorded several versions of the Ninth under the supervision of various conductors, including George Szell and Christoph von Dohnányi. The current conductor, Franz Welser-Möst, issued a controversial version in 2007.