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In 1787, the German poet Goethe published a play idealising Egmont as an heroic guardian of freedom and justice, who, singlehandedly, dared to challenge the might of his enemies. In 1810 Goethe's 'Egmont' was produced in Vienna, and Beethoven was asked to write incidental music for the play. He composed an overture and nine other pieces.

The overture is stirring music. It's joyful conclusion, after lingering moments of sadness at Egmont's death, heralds the overthrow of the Spaniards that was inspired by the Flemish hero's execution.

Symphony No. 9 in D Minor ('Choral')
4th Movement ('Ode to Joy')

Beethoven's Ninth Symphony enfolds in its capacious pages the idea of the 'brotherhood of man'. Is it futile, perhaps even a little naive, to attempt to express so philosophical a concept in a symphony, a concept for which many idealists have lived and died, a concept almost as old as civilisation itself and as new as tomorrow? Beethoven was not afraid to do so, even though he had to call poetry to his aid, and add the human voice to his orchestra.

That 'all men became brothers' - that thought attracted Beethoven to the poet Johann Schiller's ode 'An die Freude' - a paean to joy. We have seen that he carried this belief with him virtually all his life...

The world instantly recognised the importance of that symphony. The audience demonstrated enthusiastically at the premiere, so enthusiastically that, when it broke out in approving cries for the fifth time, the police commissioner had to yell 'Silence!' Three bursts of applause were the rule for the Imperial Family; it would not do that Beethoven got five. Beethoven was seated in the orchestra and was supposed to supervise the performance. The conductor, however, had instructed his musicians to pay no attention to Beethoven's beating of the time. Engrossed in the score, and deaf, the composer heard nothing of the tumult and the shouting of the audience, until one of this singers pulled him by the sleeve and induced him to turn and face the people.

I'm working on an educational multimedia you can try: here

Have the heart of a gypsy, and the dedication of a soldier -Beethoven in Beethoven Lives Upstairs


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Great post Teo.
Thank you.

Beethoven's 9th symphony is truly a masterpiece.
It is very sad that he could not even hear this great music when it was performed.

The Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral" is the last complete symphony composed by Ludwig van Beethoven. Completed in 1824, the Ninth Symphony is one of the best known works of the Western repertoire, considered both an icon and a forefather of Romantic music, and one of Beethoven's greatest masterpieces.

Symphony No. 9 incorporates part of the Ode an die Freude ("Ode to Joy"), a poem by Friedrich Schiller, with text sung by soloists and a chorus in the last movement. It is the first example of a major composer using the human voice on the same level with instruments in a symphony, creating a work of a grand scope that set the tone for the Romantic symphonic form.

Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 plays a prominent cultural role in the world today. In particular, the music from the fourth movement (Ode to Joy) was rearranged by Herbert von Karajan into what is now known as the official anthem of the European Union. Further testament to its prominence is that an original manuscript of this work sold in 2003 for $3.3 million USD at Sotheby's, London. The head of Sotheby's manuscripts department, Dr. Stephen Roe stated, "it is one of the highest achievements of man, ranking alongside Shakespeare's Hamlet and King Lear."


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Last edited by Inda
Thank you for the post Teo.

Beethoven is one of my favourite classic composers of all time.

Ode to Joy is a very majestic and overwhelming piece of music, containing a very deep meaning.

That 'all men became brothers' - that thought attracted Beethoven to the poet Johann Schiller's ode 'An die Freude' - a paean to joy. We have seen that he carried this belief with him virtually all his life...

Text of the Ode to Joy as published by Frederich Schiller in 1785

Ode To Joy

1 Joy, beautiful spark of Gods,
2 Daughter of Elysium,
3 We enter, fire-imbibed,
4 Heavenly, thy sanctuary.
5 Thy magic powers re-unite
6 What custom's sword has divided
7 Beggars become Princes' brothers
8 Where thy gentle wing abides.

9 Be embraced, millions!
10 This kiss to the entire world!
11 Brothers - above the starry canopy
12 A loving father must dwell.
13 Whoever has had the great fortune,
14 To be a friend's friend,
15 Whoever has won the love of a devoted wife,
16 Add his to our jubilation!
17 Indeed, whoever can call even one soul
18 His own on this earth!
19 And whoever was never able to must creep
20 Tearfully away from this circle.

21 Those who dwell in the great circle,
22 Pay homage to sympathy!
23 It leads to the stars,
24 Where the Unknown reigns.
25 Joy all creatures drink
26 At nature's bosoms;
27 All, Just and Unjust,
28 Follow her rose-petalled path.
29 Kisses she gave us, and Wine,
30 A friend, proven in death,
31 Pleasure was given (even) to the worm,
32 And the Cherub stands before God.

33 You bough down, millions?
34 Can you sense the Creator, world?
35 Seek him above the starry canopy.
36 Above the stars He must dwell.
37 Joy is called the strong motivation
38 In eternal nature.
39 Joy, joy moves the wheels
40 In the universal time machine.
41 Flowers it calls forth from their buds,
42 Suns from the Firmament,
43 Spheres it moves far out in Space,
44 Where our telescopes cannot reach.

45 Joyful, as His suns are flying,
46 Across the Firmament's splendid design,
47 Run, brothers, run your race,
48 Joyful, as a hero going to conquest.
49 As truth's fiery reflection
50 It smiles at the scientist.
51 To virtue's steep hill
52 It leads the sufferer on.
53 Atop faith's lofty summit
54 One sees its flags in the wind,
55 Through the cracks of burst-open coffins,
56 One sees it stand in the angels' chorus.

57 Endure courageously, millions!
58 Endure for the better world!
59 Above the starry canopy
60 A great God will reward you.
61 Gods one cannot ever repay,
62 It is beautiful, though, to be like them.
63 Sorrow and Poverty, come forth
64 And rejoice with the Joyful ones.
65 Anger and revenge be forgotten,
66 Our deadly enemy be forgiven,
67 Not one tear shall he shed anymore,
68 No feeling of remorse shall pain him.

69 The account of our misdeeds be destroyed!
70 Reconciled the entire world!
71 Brothers, above the starry canopy
72 God judges as we judged.
73 Joy is bubbling in the glasses,
74 Through the grapes' golden blood
75 Cannibals drink gentleness,
76 And despair drinks courage--
77 Brothers, fly from your seats,
78 When the full rummer is going around,
79 Let the foam gush up to heaven*:
80 This glass to the good spirit.

81 He whom star clusters adore,
82 He whom the Seraphs' hymn praises,
83 This glass to him, the good spirit,
84 Above the starry canopy!
85 Resolve and courage for great suffering,
86 Help there, where innocence weeps,
87 Eternally may last all sworn Oaths,
88 Truth towards friend and enemy,
89 Men's pride before Kings' thrones--
90 Brothers, even it if meant our Life and blood,
91 Give the crowns to those who earn them,
92 Defeat to the pack of liars!

93 Close the holy circle tighter,
94 Swear by this golden wine:
95 To remain true to the Oath,
96 Swear it by the Judge above the stars!
97 Delivery from tyrants' chains,
98 Generosity also towards the villain,
99 Hope on the deathbeds,
100 Mercy from the final judge!
101 Also the dead shall live!
102 Brothers, drink and chime in,
103 All sinners shall be forgiven,
104 And hell shall be no more.

105 A serene hour of farewell!
106 Sweet rest in the shroud!
107 Brothers--a mild sentence
108 From the mouth of the final judge!
Last edited by Sue 1
Now I know why it's sung in German. The interlinear translation doesn't jibe with the beat in English. I wonder if someone clever could fix that. It's like the Fitzgerald translation of the Odyssey which mimics the Greek so much better than the Robert Graves translation. The Graves translation tells the story well enough. But Fitzgerald captures the onomatopoea from the Greek. I can't imagine the Ode sung, but in German. Here's a little Joy. I've only known two that I can think of with that name - one the senator's daughter, the other a police officer from San Diego who I met in a Yoga Class.

Joy to the world!


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Last Summer, the local orchestra decided to play Beethoven's 9th Symphony.

However it being quite hot, the players were working up quite a sweat, until a neighbour let them use the ventilators in her house.

However, the wind from the ventilators was causing the notes to blow all over the place, so they had to tie them down to the note holders.

The din from the ventilators was so bad that the bassists decided it didn't matter if they downed a few drinks and got royally drunk.

Two of the bassists go so drunk that they passed out.

One of the violinists, in disgust, decided to go home but slipped and fell.

Thus, it was the bottom of the 9th, the bassists were loaded, the score was tied with two men out, and the fans were roaring wild when one of the players slid home.

Originally posted by dear yoko:


Have the heart of a gypsy, and the dedication of a soldier -Beethoven in Beethoven Lives Upstairs

That 'all men became brothers' - that thought attracted Beethoven to the poet Johann Schiller's ode 'An die Freude' - a paean to joy. We have seen that he carried this belief with him virtually all his life...

Thank you for the post Teo.

All men really need to become brothers at this point in time, the we can truly enjoy Beethoven's 9th symphony.

Last edited by Inda

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