Symphony number nine in D minor, Op.125, the "Choral" is the outstanding piece accompanied with a vocal chorus. Beethoven began concentrated work on the piece in 1822. It occupied him throughout 1823, and he completed it in February 1824. The first performance took place at the Karntnertor Theater in Vienna on May 7, 1824. The deaf composer stood on stage beating time and turning the pages of his score, but the real conducting was done by Michael Umlauf. The first American performance was given on May 20, 1846 by the New York Philharmonic under George Loder. Its performance can never be an ordinary event, just another concert, it is something special because the feeling you get inside when you hear it for the first time. The work of Friedrich von Schiller to set "An die Freude" should be much of the credit of the ninth symphony, but Beethoven's ability to put into music; it’s an art song, which is lovely poetry put into music.
By 1823, Beethoven was not yet sure whether the finale would be vocal or instrumental. Once the symphony was finished, a performance had to be organized. Beethoven saved the premiere for the city that had been his home for the past thirty-one years. At the end of the premiere, Beethoven was still hunched over toward the orchestra, so he was gently turned around so that he might see the applause he could not hear. "The D" turns out to be the "answer" on which the whole orchestra agrees in the great fortissimo summit of that first crescendo, but the tense anticipation of that note is a personal, marvelous, and utterly characteristic touch"(Orga 155).
The ninth symphony is my favorite symphony just because the music is so heavenly. It seems in the beginning of the piece brings a person from darkness to light. Beethoven, I believe, was ahead of his time. To me, he is the greatest composer of all time. His music is not just sounds of music played together in harmony, but a way of life. The music he created for the world is not just to listen to it, but grabs onto the emotion he was setting up. Beethoven's unordinary style cannot ever be copied by any composer or music artist. Today, when we hear music of any kind, we can only thank a certain person, and that person should be Ludwig van Beethoven.
This is how I heard the music, piece by piece with some help to understand and ...
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...ers--over the canopy of stars
Muss ein lieber Vater wohnen!
A loving Father must live.
and these lines are then repeated. The religious section of the ode begins as the chorus intones in an awed manner: Ihr stürzt nieder, Millionen? Millions, do you fall upon your knees? The music rises hopefully toward God and the heavens as the final lines of verse are sung:
Ahnest du den Schöpfer, Welt?
Do you sense the Creator, world?
Such' ihn überm Sternenzelt!Seek Him above the canopy of stars!
Über Sternen muss er wohnen.
Surely He lives above the stars.
The last section, from "Seid umschlungen, Millionen!" is repeated triumphantly in counterpoint. A dramatic hush, the music rises steadily. The quartet then re-enters with the following lines from the beginning of the poem: Daughter of Elysium
Deine Zauber binden wieder,
Thy magic binds together
Was die Mode streng geteilt;
What tradition has strongly parted,
The chorus underlines "Alle Menschen werden Brüder," "All mankind will be brothers." The same line is repeated ecstatically by the quartet, which soars upward to it’s peak. The orchestra and chorus re-enter at a rapid tempo to bring the movement to its conclusion.
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