A Picture Worth a Thousand Words - by Rolf A. F. Witzsche

 

Beethoven 9th Symphony


Beethoven in 1815 (1770-1827)
 by Willibrord Joseph Mähler (1778 - 1860)

 

One of the greatest musical achievements,
and by a deaf composer

 

The 9th Symphony of Beethoven is considered one of his greatest achievements, but it is more than that. Around 1796, Beethoven began to lose his hearing.  Beethoven could still hear speech and music to some degree until 1812. After a failed attempt in 1811 to perform his own Piano Concerto No. 5 (the "Emperor"), he never performed in public again. By 1814 he was almost totally deaf. When a group of visitors saw him play a loud arpeggio of thundering bass notes at his piano, he remarked, "Ist es nicht schön?" (Is it not beautiful?). They felt deep sympathy considering his courage and sense of humor.

As a result of his loss of hearing, a unique historical record has been preserved: his conversation books. He used the conversation books primarily in the last ten or so years of his life. His friends wrote in these books so that he could know what they were saying, and he then responded either orally or in the books. There were about 400 of them. It was early in this timeframe (1818-1824) that he wrote his 9th Symphony over a span of six years. According to a well-attested story, at the end of the premiere of his Ninth Symphony, he had to be turned around to see the tumultuous applause of the audience; hearing nothing, he wept.

With all this considered it is even more remarkable that he chose a choral ending for his 9th Symphony, and chose for it the theme of Joy, utilizing Friedrich Schiller's poem "An die Freude" - literally translated as "To (the) Joy" - normally called the "Ode to Joy". It was written in 1785 and first published the following year in the poet's own literary journal, Thalia. Beethoven had made plans to set this poem to music as far back as 1793, when he was 22 years old. Now, at the height of his deafness, he chose the subject of Joy as the theme of his last symphony. When most people would wallow in pity, he composed a celebration of joy.

The following are parts of the 9th symphony.

The 4th movement (choral movement)

Movement 1,3,and 4

click on the above link to play - right-click to download
Source Link


Below is a link to the video version of exclusively the choral and solo parts 

"An Die Freude"

- the ending of the last moment of Beethoven's final, culminating symphony  -
performed by the LaRouche Youth Movement in Germany

here begins the dawn of a new age - the age of humanist renewal in the form of a profound cultural revolution

 

Beethoven had toyed with the theme of the Ode of Joy already earlier in his Fantasy in C minor for Piano, Chorus, and Orchestra, op. 80, composed in 1808 (the “Choral Fantasy”, as it became known).  Its delightful cool innocence conveys a different spirit, not unlike that found in Mozart's The Magic Flute. The opening piano solo, one of the finest examples of what Beethoven's improvisation must have been like – as, at the première, he improvise this section after an orchestral link, by a set of variations on a childlike theme foreshadowing the Ode to Joy theme in the Ninth Symphony.

The Choral Fantasy

Source Link 

 

The following is the text of the poem, Ode to Joy 

Text (1803 version; 1785 variants given in parentheses)

 

German original
Freude, schöner Götterfunken,
Tochter aus Elysium!
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische, Dein Heiligtum.
Deine Zauber binden wieder,
Was die Mode streng geteilt,
(1785 version: Was der Mode Schwert getheilt.)
Alle Menschen werden Brüder,
(1785 version: Bettler werden Fürstenbrüder.)
Wo Dein sanfter Flügel weilt.
Chor.
Seid umschlungen, Millionen!
Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt!
Brüder, überm Sternenzelt
Muß ein lieber Vater wohnen!


Wem der große Wurf gelungen,
Eines Freundes Freund zu sein,
Wer ein holdes Weib errungen,
Mische seinen Jubel ein!
Ja, wer auch nur eine Seele
Sein nennt auf dem Erdenrund!
Und wer's nie gekonnt, der stehle
Weinend sich aus diesem Bund!
Chor.
Was den großen Ring bewohnet,
Huldige der Sympathie!
Zu den Sternen leitet sie,
Wo der Unbekannte thronet.


Freude trinken alle Wesen
An den Brüsten der Natur;
Alle Guten, alle Bösen
Folgen ihrer Rosenspur.
Küsse gab sie uns und Reben,
Einen Freund, geprüft im Tod;
Wollust ward dem Wurm gegeben,
Und der Cherub steht vor Gott.
Chor.
Ihr stürzt nieder, Millionen?
Ahnest du den Schöpfer, Welt?
Such' ihn überm Sternenzelt!
Über Sternen muß er wohnen.


Freude heißt die starke Feder
In der ewigen Natur.
Freude, Freude treibt die Räder
In der Großen Weltenuhr.
Blumen lockt sie aus den Keimen,
Sonnen aus dem Firmament,
Sphären rollt sie in den Räumen,
Die des Sehers Rohr nicht kennt.
Chor.
Froh, wie seine Sonnen fliegen
Durch des Himmels prächt'gen Plan,
Laufet, Brüder, eure Bahn,
Freudig, wie ein Held zum Siegen.


Aus der Wahrheit Feuerspiegel
Lächelt sie den Forscher an.
Zu der Tugend steilem Hügel
Leitet sie des Dulders Bahn.
Auf des Glaubens Sonnenberge
Sieht man ihre Fahnen wehn,
Durch den Riß gesprengter Särge
Sie im Chor der Engel stehn.
Chor.
Duldet mutig, Millionen!
Duldet für die beßre Welt!
Droben überm Sternzelt
Wird ein großer Gott belohnen.


Göttern kann man nicht vergelten;
Schön ist's, ihnen gleich zu sein.
Gram und Armut soll sich melden,
Mit den Frohen sich erfreun.
Groll und Rache sei vergessen,
Unserm Todfeind sei verziehn,
Keine Träne soll ihn pressen,
Keine Reue nage ihn.
Chor.
Unser Schuldbuch sei vernichtet!
Ausgesöhnt die ganze Welt!
Brüder, überm Sternenzelt
Richtet Gott, wie wir gerichtet.


Freude sprudelt in Pokalen,
In der Traube goldnem Blut
Trinken Sanftmut Kannibalen,
Die Verzweiflung Heldenmut--
Brüder, fliegt von euren Sitzen,
Wenn der volle Römer kreist,
Laßt den Schaum zum Himmel spritzen:
Dieses Glas dem guten Geist.
Chor.
Den der Sterne Wirbel loben,
Den des Seraphs Hymne preist,
Dieses Glas dem guten Geist
Überm Sternenzelt dort oben!


Festen Mut in schwerem Leiden,
Hilfe, wo die Unschuld weint,
Ewigkeit geschwornen Eiden,
Wahrheit gegen Freund und Feind,
Männerstolz vor Königsthronen, --
Brüder, gält' es Gut und Blut--
Dem Verdienste seine Kronen,
Untergang der Lügenbrut!
Chor.
Schließt den heil'gen Zirkel dichter,
Schwört bei diesem goldnen Wein:
Dem Gelübde treu zu sein,
Schwört es bei dem Sternenrichter!

(The 1803 version ends here; the 1785
 version continues with the following.)

Rettung von Tyrannenketten,
Großmut auch dem Bösewicht,
Hoffnung auf den Sterbebetten,
Gnade auf dem Hochgericht!
Auch die Toten sollen leben!
Brüder, trinkt und stimmet ein,
Allen Sündern soll vergeben,
Und die Hölle nicht mehr sein.
Chor.
Eine heitre Abschiedsstunde!
Süßen Schlaf im Leichentuch!
Brüder, einen sanften Spruch
Aus des Totenrichters Mund.
English translation
Joy, beautiful sparkle of the gods,
Daughter of Elysium,
We enter, fire-drunk,
Heavenly one, your shrine.
Your magics bind again
What custom has strictly parted.
(1785 version: What custom's sword has parted.)
All men become brothers
(1785 version: Beggars become princes' brothers.)
Where your tender wing lingers.
Chorus
Be embraced, millions!
This kiss of the entire world!
Brothers, above the starry canopy
Must a loving Father reside.


Whoever has succeeded in the great attempt
To be a friend's friend;
Whoever has won a lovely woman
Add in his jubilation!
Yes, who calls even one soul
His own on the earth's sphere!
And whoever never could achieve this,
Let him steal away crying from this gathering!
Chorus
Those who occupy the great circle,
Pay homage to sympathy!
It leads to the stars
Where the unknown one reigns.


All creatures drink joy
At the breasts of nature,
All good, all evil
Follow her trail of roses.
Kisses she gave us, and the vine,
A friend, proven in death.
Pleasure was given to the worm,
And the cherub stands before God.
Chorus
Do you fall down, you millions?
Do you sense the creator, world?
Seek him above the starry canopy,
Above the stars he must live.


Joy is the name of the strong spring
In eternal nature.
Joy, joy drives the wheels
In the great clock of worlds.
She lures flowers from the buds,
Suns out of the firmament,
She rolls spheres in the spaces
That the seer's telescope does not know.
Chorus
Happy, as his suns fly
Through the heaven’s magnificent plain
Run, brothers, your track
Joyfully, as a hero to victory.


From the fiery mirror of truth
She smiles upon the researcher,
Towards virtue’s steep hill
She guides the endurer’s path.
Upon faith’s sunlit mountain
One sees her banners in the wind,
Through the opening of burst coffins
One sees her standing in the chorus of angels.
Chorus
Endure courageously, millions!
Endure for the better world!
There above the starry canopy
A great God will reward.


Gods one cannot repay
Beautiful it is, to be like them.
Grief and poverty, acquaint yourselves
With the joyful ones rejoice.
Anger and revenge be forgotten,
Our deadly enemy be forgiven,
No tears shall he shed
No remorse shall gnaw at him
Chorus
Our debt registers be abolished
Reconcile the entire world!
Brothers, over the starry canopy
God judges, as we judged.


Joy bubbles in the cup,
In the grape’s golden blood
Cannibals drink gentleness
The fearful, courage --
Brothers, fly from your perches,
When the full cup is passed,
Let the foam spray to the heavens
This glass to the good spirit
Chorus
He whom the spirals of stars praise,
He whom the seraphim’s hymn glorifies,
This glass to the good spirit
Above the starry canopy!


Courage firm in great suffering,
Help there, where innocence weeps,
Eternally sworn oaths,
Truth towards friend and foe,
Mens’ pride before kings’ thrones --
Brothers, even if it costs property and blood, --
The crowns to those who earn them,
Defeat to the lying brood!
Chorus
Close the holy circle tighter,
Swear by this golden vine:
Remain true to the vows,
Swear by the judge above the stars!

(The 1803 version ends here; the 1785
 version continues with the following.)

Escape the tyrants’ chains,
Generosity also to the villain,
Hope upon the deathbeds,
Mercy from the high court!
The dead, too, shall live!
Brothers, drink and chime in,
All sinners shall be forgiven,
And hell shall be no more.
Chorus
A serene departing hour!
Sweet sleep in the shroud!
Brothers—a mild sentence
From the final judge!

 


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