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Symphony No. 9 (Beethoven)

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Symphony No. 9 (Beethoven)

A page from Beethoven's manuscript of the 9th Symphony
Portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven in 1820. Beethoven was almost completely deaf when he composed his ninth symphony.

The Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 (sometimes known simply as "the Choral"), is the final complete symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827). Completed in 1824, the symphony is one of the best-known works of the repertoire of classical music.[1] Among critics, it is almost universally considered to be Beethoven's greatest work, and is considered by many to be the greatest piece of music ever written.[1]

The symphony was the first example of a major composer using voices in a symphony[2] (thus making it a choral symphony). The words are sung during the final movement by four vocal soloists and a chorus. They were taken from the "Ode to Joy", a poem written by Friedrich Schiller in 1785 and revised in 1803, with additions made by the composer. Today, it stands as one of the most played symphonies in the world.

In 2001, Beethoven's autograph score of the Ninth Symphony, held by the Berlin State Library, was added to the United Nations World Heritage List,[3] becoming the first musical score to be so honoured.[4]



The Philharmonic Society of London originally commissioned the symphony in 1817.[5] The main composition work was done between autumn 1822 and the completion of the autograph in February 1824.[6]

The symphony emerged from other pieces by Beethoven that, while completed works in their own right, are also in some sense sketches for the future symphony. The Choral Fantasy Opus. 80 (1808), basically a piano concerto movement, brings in a chorus and vocal soloists near the end to form the climax. As in the Ninth Symphony, the vocal forces sing a theme first played instrumentally, and this theme is highly reminiscent of the corresponding theme in the Ninth Symphony (for a detailed comparison, see Choral Fantasy). Going further back, an earlier version of the Choral Fantasy theme is found in the song "Gegenliebe" ("Returned Love"), for piano and high voice, which dates from before 1795.[7] According to Robert W. Gutman, Mozart's K. 222 Offertory in D minor, "Misericordias Domini", written in 1775, contains a melody that foreshadows "Ode to Joy".[8]


Although his major works had primarily been premiered in Vienna, Beethoven was eager to have his latest composition performed in Berlin as soon as possible after finishing it, since he thought that musical taste in Vienna had become dominated by Italian composers such as Rossini.[9] When his friends and financiers heard this, they urged him to premiere the symphony in Vienna in the form of a petition signed by a number of prominent Viennese music patrons and performers.[9]

Beethoven was flattered by the adoration of Vienna, so the Ninth Symphony was premiered on 7 May 1824 in the Theater am Kärntnertor in Vienna, along with the overture The Consecration of the House (Die Weihe des Hauses) and three parts of the Missa solemnis (the Kyrie, Credo, and the Agnus Dei).

This was the composer's first on-stage appearance in 12 years; the hall was packed with an eager audience and a number of musicians.[10]

The premiere of Symphony No. 9 involved the largest orchestra ever assembled by Beethoven[10] and required the combined efforts of the Kärntnertor house orchestra, The Vienna Music Society (Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde), along with a select group of capable amateurs. While no complete list of premiere performers exists, many of Vienna's most elite performers are known to have participated.[11]

Carolina Ungher, who sang the contralto part at the first performance and who is credited with turning Beethoven to face the applauding audience.

The soprano and alto parts were interpreted by two famous young singers: Henriette Sontag and Caroline Unger. German soprano Henriette Sontag (1806–1854) was eighteen years old when Beethoven personally recruited her to perform in the premiere of the Ninth Symphony.[12][13]

Also personally recruited by Beethoven, 21 year old contralto Caroline Unger (1803–1877), a native of Vienna, had gained critical praise in 1821 appearing in Rossini's Tancredi. After performing in Beethoven's 1824 premiere, Unger found fame in Italy and Paris. Italian composers Donizetti and Bellini were known to have written roles specifically for her voice.[14]

Although the performance was officially directed by Michael Umlauf, the theatre's Kapellmeister, Beethoven shared the stage with him. However, two years earlier, Umlauf had watched as the composer's attempt to conduct a dress rehearsal of his opera Fidelio ended in disaster. So this time, he instructed the singers and musicians to ignore the almost totally deaf Beethoven. At the beginning of every part, Beethoven, who sat by the stage, gave the tempos. He was turning the pages of his score and beating time for an orchestra he could not hear.

There are a number of anecdotes about the premiere of the Ninth. Based on the testimony of the participants, there are suggestions that it was under-rehearsed (there were only two full rehearsals) and rather scrappy in execution. On the other hand, the premiere was a great success. In any case, Beethoven was not to blame, as violinist Joseph Böhm recalled: "Beethoven directed the piece himself; that is, he stood before the lectern and gesticulated furiously. At times he rose, at other times he shrank to the ground, he moved as if he wanted to play all the instruments himself and sing for the whole chorus. All the musicians minded his rhythm alone while playing".

When the audience applauded—testimonies differ over whether at the end of the scherzo or the whole symphony—Beethoven was several measures off and still conducting. Because of that, the contralto Caroline Unger walked over and turned Beethoven around to accept the audience's cheers and applause. According to one witness, "the public received the musical hero with the utmost respect and sympathy, listened to his wonderful, gigantic creations with the most absorbed attention and broke out in jubilant applause, often during sections, and repeatedly at the end of them." The whole audience acclaimed him through standing ovations five times; there were handkerchiefs in the air, hats, raised hands, so that Beethoven, who could not hear the applause, could at least see the ovation gestures.


The first German edition was printed by B. Schott's Söhne (Mainz) in 1826. The Breitkopf & Härtel edition dating from 1864 has been used widely by orchestras.[15] In 1997 Bärenreiter published an edition by Jonathan Del Mar.[16] According to Del Mar, this edition corrects nearly 3,000 mistakes in the Breitkopf edition, some of which were "remarkable".[17] David Levy, however, criticized this edition, saying that it could create "quite possibly false" traditions.[18] Breitkopf also published a new edition by Peter Hauschild in 2005.[19]

While many of the modifications in the newer editions make minor alterations to dynamics and articulation, both editions change the orchestral lead-in to the final statement of the choral theme in the fourth movement (IV: m525 m542). The newer versions alter the articulation of the horn calls, creating syncopation that no longer relates to the previous motive. The new Breitkopf & Härtel and Bärenreiter make this alteration differently, but the result is a reading that is different from what was commonly accepted based on the 1864 Breitkopf edition. While both Breitkopf & Härtel and Bärenreiter consider their editions the most accurate versions available—labeling them Urtext editions—their conclusions are not universally accepted. In his monograph "Beethoven—the ninth symphony", David Levy describes the rationale for these changes and the danger of calling the editions Urtext.


The symphony is scored for the following orchestra. These are by far the largest forces needed for any Beethoven symphony; at the premiere, Beethoven augmented them further by assigning two players to each wind part.[20]


The symphony is in four movements, marked as follows:

  1. Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso
  2. Scherzo: Molto vivace – Presto
  3. Adagio molto e cantabile – Andante moderato – Tempo primo – Andante moderato – Adagio – Lo stesso tempo
  4. Recitative: (Presto – Allegro ma non troppo – Vivace – Adagio cantabile – Allegro assai – Presto: O Freunde) – Allegro molto assai: Freude, schöner Götterfunken – Alla marcia – Allegro assai vivace: Froh, wie seine Sonnen – Andante maestoso: Seid umschlungen, Millionen! – Adagio ma non troppo, ma divoto: Ihr, stürzt nieder – Allegro energico, sempre ben marcato: (Freude, schöner GötterfunkenSeid umschlungen, Millionen!) – Allegro ma non tanto: Freude, Tochter aus Elysium! – Prestissimo, Maestoso, Molto prestissimo: Seid umschlungen, Millionen!

Beethoven changes the usual pattern of Classical symphonies in placing the scherzo movement before the slow movement (in symphonies, slow movements are usually placed before scherzo[21]). This was the first time that he did this in a symphony, although he had done so in some previous works (including the quartets Op. 18 no. 5, the "Archduke" piano trio Op. 97, the Hammerklavier piano sonata Op. 106). Haydn, too, had used this arrangement in a number of his own works such as the String Quartet No. 30 in E-flat major.

First movement

Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso. Duration approx. 15 mins.

The first movement is in sonata form, and the mood is often stormy. The opening theme, played pianissimo over string tremolos, so much resembles the sound of an orchestra tuning, many commentators have suggested that was Beethoven's inspiration. But from within that musical limbo emerges a theme of power and clarity which will drive the entire movement. Later, at the outset of the recapitulation section, it returns fortissimo in D major, rather than the opening's D minor. The introduction also employs the use of the mediant to tonic relationship which further distorts the tonic key until it is finally played by the bassoon in the lowest possible register.

The coda employs the chromatic fourth interval.

Second movement

Scherzo: Molto vivace – Presto. Duration approx. 12 mins.

The second movement, a scherzo and trio, is also in D minor, with the introduction bearing a passing resemblance to the opening theme of the first movement, a pattern also found in the Hammerklavier piano sonata, written a few years earlier. At times during the piece, Beethoven directs that the beat should be one downbeat every three beats, perhaps because of the very fast pace of the movement, with the direction ritmo di tre battute ("rhythm of three beats"), and one beat every four bars with the direction ritmo di quattro battute ("rhythm of four beats").

Beethoven had been criticised before for failing to adhere to standard form for his compositions. He used this movement to answer his critics. Normally, scherzi are written in triple time. Beethoven wrote this piece in triple time, but it is punctuated in a way that, when coupled with the speed of the metre, makes it sound as though it is in quadruple time.

While adhering to the standard ternary design of a dance movement (scherzo-trio-scherzo, or minuet-trio-minuet), the scherzo section has an elaborate internal structure; it is a complete sonata form. Within this sonata form, the first group of the exposition starts out with a fugue before modulating to C major for the second part of the exposition. The exposition is then repeated before a short development section. The recapitulation further develops the exposition, also containing timpani solos. A new development section is played before the recapitulation is repeated, and the scherzo concludes with a brief codetta.

The contrasting trio section is in D major and in duple time. The trio is the first time the trombones play in the movement. Following the trio, the second occurrence of the scherzo, unlike the first, plays through without any repetition, after which there is a brief reprise of the trio, and the movement ends with an abrupt coda.

Third movement

Adagio molto e cantabile – Andante Moderato – Tempo Primo – Andante Moderato – Adagio – Lo Stesso Tempo. Duration approx. 16 mins.

The lyrical slow movement, in B-flat major, is in a loose variation form, with each pair of variations progressively elaborating the rhythm and melody. The first variation, like the theme, is in 4/4 time, the second in 12/8. The variations are separated by passages in 3/4, the first in D major, the second in G major. The final variation is twice interrupted by episodes in which loud fanfares for the full orchestra are answered by octaves played by the first violins alone. A prominent horn solo is assigned to the fourth player. Trombones are tacet for the movement.

Fourth movement

Presto; Allegro molto assai (Alla marcia); Andante maestoso; Allegro energico, sempre ben marcato. Duration approx. 24 mins.

\new Score {
  \new Staff {
    \relative c {
      \time 4/4
      \key d \major
      \clef bass

      fis2\p( g4 a) | a4( g fis e) | d2( e4 fis) | fis4.( e8) e2 |
      fis2( g4 a) | a4( g fis e) | d2( e4 fis) | e4.( d8) d2 |

The famous choral finale is Beethoven's musical representation of Universal Brotherhood. American pianist and music author Charles Rosen has characterized it as a symphony within a symphony, played without interruption.[22] This "inner symphony" follows the same overall pattern as the Ninth Symphony as a whole. The scheme is as follows:

  • First "movement": theme and variations with slow introduction. Main theme which first appears in the cellos and basses is later "recapitulated" with voices.
  • Second "movement": 6/8 scherzo in military style (begins at "Alla marcia", words "Froh, wie seine Sonnen fliegen"), in the "Turkish style". Concludes with 6/8 variation of the main theme with chorus.
  • Third "movement": slow meditation with a new theme on the text "Seid umschlungen, Millionen!" (begins at "Andante maestoso")
  • Fourth "movement": fugato finale on the themes of the first and third "movements" (begins at "Allegro energico")

The movement has a thematic unity, in which every part may be shown to be based on either the main theme, the "Seid umschlungen" theme, or some combination of the two.

The first "movement within a movement" itself is organized into sections:

  • An introduction, which starts with a stormy Presto passage. It then briefly quotes all three of the previous movements in order, each dismissed by the cellos and basses which then play in an instrumental foreshadowing of the vocal recitative. At the introduction of the main theme, the cellos and basses take it up and play it through.
  • The main theme forms the basis of a series of variations for orchestra alone.
  • The introduction is then repeated from the Presto passage, this time with the bass soloist singing the recitatives previously suggested by cellos and basses.
  • The main theme again undergoes variations, this time for vocal soloists and chorus.[23]

Text of the fourth movement

The text is largely taken from Schiller's "Ode to Joy", with a few additional introductory words written specifically by Beethoven (shown in italics).[24]

The text without repeats is shown below, with a translation into English.[25] The score includes many repeats. For the full libretto including all repetitions see German Wikisource.[26]
O Freunde, nicht diese Töne!
Sondern lasst uns angenehmere anstimmen,
und freudenvollere.
Oh friends, not these sounds!
Let us instead strike up more pleasing
and more joyful ones!
Freude, schöner Götterfunken
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!
Deine Zauber binden wieder
Was die Mode streng geteilt;
Alle Menschen werden Brüder,
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.
Joy, beautiful spark of divinity,
Daughter from Elysium,
We enter, burning with fervour,
heavenly being, your sanctuary!
Your magic brings together
what fashion has sternly divided.
All men shall become brothers,
wherever your gentle wings hover.
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!
Whoever has been lucky enough
to become a friend to a friend,
Whoever has found a beloved wife,
let him join our songs of praise!
Yes, and anyone who can call one soul
his own on this earth!
Any who cannot, let them slink away
from this gathering in tears!
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.
Every creature drinks in joy
at nature's breast;
Good and Bad alike
follow her trail of roses.
She gives us kisses and wine,
a true friend, even in death;
Even the worm was given desire,
and the cherub stands before God.
Froh, wie seine Sonnen fliegen
Durch des Himmels prächt'gen Plan,
Laufet, Brüder, eure Bahn,
Freudig, wie ein Held zum Siegen.
Gladly, just as His suns hurtle
through the glorious universe,
So you, brothers, should run your course,
joyfully, like a conquering hero.
Seid umschlungen, Millionen!
Diesen Kuss der ganzen Welt!
Brüder, über'm Sternenzelt
Muss ein lieber Vater wohnen.
Ihr stürzt nieder, Millionen?
Ahnest du den Schöpfer, Welt?
Such' ihn über'm Sternenzelt!
Über Sternen muss er wohnen.
Be embraced, you millions!
This kiss is for the whole world!
Brothers, above the canopy of stars
must dwell a loving father.
Do you bow down before Him, you millions?
Do you sense your Creator, o world?
Seek Him above the canopy of stars!
He must dwell beyond the stars.

Towards the end of the movement, the choir sings the last four lines of the main theme, concluding with "Alle Menschen", before the soloists sing for one last time the song of joy at a slower tempo. The chorus repeats parts of "Seid umschlungen, Millionen! ...", then quietly sings, "Tochter aus Elysium". And finally, "Freude, schöner Götterfunken, Götterfunken!".[26]


Among music critics, the Ninth Symphony is almost universally considered to be among Beethoven's greatest works, and is considered by some[27] to be the greatest piece of music ever written.[1] "Yet early critics rejected it as cryptic and eccentric, the product of a deaf and aging composer."[1] The finale of the Ninth has had detractors. Giuseppe Verdi complained about the vocal writing; in a letter he wrote to Clarina Maffei dated 20 April 1878, he stated that the symphony was:

...marvelous in its first three movements, very badly set in the last. No one will ever surpass the sublimity of the first movement, but it will be an easy task to write as badly for voices as is done in the last movement.

Gustav Leonhardt objected to the text itself, saying: "That 'Ode to Joy', talk about vulgarity! And the text! Completely puerile!"[28]

Performance challenges

Metronome markings

Conductors in the historically informed performance movement, notably Roger Norrington,[29][30] have used Beethoven's suggested tempos, to mixed reviews. Benjamin Zander has made a case for following Beethoven's metronome markings, both in writing[17] and in performances with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestra of London.[31][32]

Beethoven's metronome still exists, and it has been tested and found to be accurate.[33]

Re-orchestrations and alterations

A number of conductors have made alterations in the instrumentation of the symphony, notably Richard Wagner, who doubled many woodwind passages, a modification greatly extended by Gustav Mahler,[34] who revised the orchestration of the Ninth to make it sound like what he believed Beethoven would have wanted if given a modern orchestra.[35]

Wagner's Dresden performance of 1864 was the first to place the chorus and the solo singers behind the orchestra as has since become standard; previous conductors placed them between the orchestra and the audience.[34]

Horn and trumpet alterations

Beethoven's writing for horns and trumpets throughout the symphony (mostly the 2nd horn and 2nd trumpet) is sometimes altered by performers to avoid large leaps (those of a 12th or more), as leaps of this sort are very difficult to perform on brass instruments and may be consistently and flawlessly executed only by highly proficient musicians.[36]

2nd bassoon doubling basses in the finale

Beethoven's indication that the 2nd bassoon should double the basses in measures 115–164 of the finale was not included in the Breitkopf parts, though it was included in the full score.[37]

Notable performances and recordings

The London Philharmonic Choir debuted on 15 May 1947 performing the Ninth Symphony with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Victor de Sabata at the Royal Albert Hall.[38]

In 1951 Wilhelm Furtwängler and the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra reopened the Bayreuth Festival with a performance of the symphony, after the Allies temporarily suspended the Festival following the Second World War.[39][40]

Political significance has attached to Beethoven's Ninth: Leonard Bernstein conducted a version of the 9th at the Brandenburg Gate, with "Freiheit" ("Freedom") replacing "Freude" ("Joy"), to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall during Christmas 1989.[41] This concert was performed by an orchestra and chorus made up of many nationalities: from Germany, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the Chorus of the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, and members of the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, the Philharmonischer Kinderchor Dresden; members of the orchestra of the Kirov Theatre; from the United Kingdom, members of the London Symphony Orchestra; from the USA, members of the New York Philharmonic; and from France, members of the Orchestre de Paris. Soloists were June Anderson, soprano, Sarah Walker, mezzo-soprano, Klaus König, tenor, and Jan-Hendrik Rootering, bass.[42] It was the last time that Bernstein conducted the symphony; he died ten months later.

Bernstein made his first recording of the Beethoven Ninth in 1964 with the New York Philharmonic, for Columbia Masterworks, with soloists Martina Arroyo (soprano), Regina Safarty (mezzo), Nicholas di Virgilio (tenor), Norman Scott (bass), and the Juilliard Chorus. It was later reissued on CD. It was the first of three complete recordings of the Ninth that Bernstein made. He made his second recording of the piece with the Vienna Philharmonic for Deutsche Grammophon, in 1979. This second one featured Gwyneth Jones (soprano), Hanna Schwarz (mezzo), René Kollo, and Kurt Moll (bass), with the chorus of the Vienna State Opera.[43]

Sir Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Symphony Chorus on two occasions: first in 1972 with soloists Pilar Lorengar, Yvonne Minton, Stuart Burrows, and Martti Talvela; and again in 1986 with soloists Jessye Norman, Reinhild Runkel, Robert Schunk, and Hans Sotin. On both occasions, the chorus was prepared by Margaret Hillis. The second recording won the 1987 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance.[44]

There have been various attempts to record the Ninth to come closer to what Beethoven's contemporaries would have heard, i.e., with period instruments. Anne Sofie von Otter, Anthony Rolfe Johnson and Gilles Cachemaille. An additional period-instrument recording by Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music was released in 1997 under the label Éditions de l'Oiseau-Lyre.

At 79 minutes, one of the longest Ninths recorded is Karl Böhm's, conducting the Vienna Philharmonic in 1981 with Jessye Norman and Plácido Domingo among the soloists.[46]

Osmo Vänskä, conducting the Minnesota Orchestra, recorded the symphony as part of a cycle of all the Beethoven symphonies. Released on the BIS label, it included soloists Helena Juntunen, Katarina Karnéus, Daniel Norman and Neal Davies, as well as the Minnesota Chorale. It received a positive critical reception, including a Grammy Award nomination in the Best Orchestral Performance category.[47]


Many later composers of the Romantic period and beyond were influenced specifically by Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

An important theme in the finale of Johannes Brahms' Symphony No. 1 in C minor is related to the "Ode to Joy" theme from the last movement of Beethoven's Ninth symphony. When this was pointed out to Brahms, he is reputed to have retorted "Any fool can see that!" Brahms's first symphony was, at times, both praised and derided as "Beethoven's Tenth".[48]

The Ninth Symphony influenced the forms that Bruckner used for the movements of his symphonies. Bruckner's Symphony No. 3 is in the same D minor key as Beethoven's 9th and makes substantial use of thematic ideas from it. The colossal slow movement of Bruckner's Symphony No. 7, "as usual", takes the same A–B–A–B–A form as the 3rd movement of Beethoven's symphony, and also uses some figuration from it.[49]

In the opening notes of the third movement of his Symphony No. 9 (The "New World"), Antonín Dvořák pays homage to the scherzo of this symphony with his falling fourths and timpani strokes.[50]

Likewise, Béla Bartók borrows the opening motif of the Scherzo from Beethoven's Ninth symphony to introduce the second movement Scherzo in his own, Four Orchestral Pieces, op. 12.[51][52]

One legend is that the compact disc was deliberately designed to have a 74-minute playing time in order to accommodate the length of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Kees Immink, Philips' chief engineer, who developed the CD, recalls that a commercial tug-of-war between the development partners, Sony and Philips, led to a settlement in a neutral 12-cm diameter format. The 1951 performance of the Ninth Symphony by Furtwängler was brought forward as the perfect excuse for the change.[53][54] A Philips news release on August 16, 2007, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Compact Disc, mentioned the parties—Philips and Sony—extended the Compact Disc capacity to 74 minutes to accommodate a complete performance of Beethoven's 9th Symphony.[55]

Use as anthem

During the division of Germany in the Cold War, the "Ode to Joy" segment of the symphony was also played in lieu of an anthem at the Olympic Games for the Unified Team of Germany between 1956 and 1968. In 1972, the musical backing (without the words) was adopted as the Anthem of Europe by the Council of Europe and subsequently by the European Communities (now the European Union) in 1985.[56][57] The "Ode to Joy" was used as the national anthem of Rhodesia between 1974 and 1979, as "Rise, O Voices of Rhodesia".[58]

Use as a hymn melody

In 1907, the Presbyterian pastor Henry van Dyke wrote the hymn "Joyful, Joyful, we adore thee" while staying at Williams College.[59] The hymn is commonly sung in English-language churches to the "Ode to Joy" melody from this symphony.

New Year's tradition in Japan

The Symphony No. 9, with accompanying chorus, is traditionally performed throughout Japan during its New Year's celebrations. In December 2009, for example, there were 55 performances of the symphony by various major orchestras and choirs in Japan.[60]

The Ninth was introduced to Japan by German soldiers held at the Bandō prisoner-of-war camp during World War I. Japanese orchestras, notably the NHK Symphony Orchestra, began performing the symphony in 1925. During World War II, the Imperial government promoted performances of the symphony, including on New Year's Eve, to encourage allegiance to Japanese nationalism. The symphony was considered appropriate in this regard because Germany was an ally of Japan. After the war, orchestras and choruses, undergoing economic hard times during the reconstruction of Japan, promoted performances of the piece around New Year because of the popularity of the music with the public. In the 1960s, performances of the symphony for the New Year became more widespread and included participation by local choirs and orchestras, establishing the tradition which continues to this day – and which includes, since 2003, a concert of all nine symphonies.[60][61]


  1. ^ a b c d Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 (Cambridge Music Handbooks), Nicholas Cook, Cambridge University Press (24 June 1993), product description (blurb). ISBN 9780521399241. "Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is acknowledged as one of the supreme masterpieces of the Western tradition. More than any other musical work it has become an international symbol of unity and affirmation."
  2. ^ Bonds, Mark Evan, "Symphony: II. The 19th century", The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Second Edition (London: Macmillan, 2001), 29 vols. ISBN 0-333-60800-3, 24:837.
  3. ^ "Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony no 9, d minor, op. 125". United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  4. ^ "Beethoven's Ninth Symphony joins UN world heritage list", Daily Times, Lahore, 21 December 2002. Retrieved 6 April 2013
  5. ^ Solomon, Maynard. Beethoven. New York: Schirmer Books, 1997, p. 251.
  6. ^ Breitkopf Urtext, Beethoven: Symphonie Nr. 9 d-moll, op. 125, pbl.: Hauschild, Peter, p. VIII
  7. ^ Hopkins (1981, 249)
  8. ^ Robert W. Gutman, Mozart: A Cultural Biography, 1999, pg. 344
  9. ^ a b Sachs, Harvey (2010), The Ninth: Beethoven and the World in 1824, Faber
  10. ^ a b Levy, David Benjamin. Beethoven: The Ninth Symphony. Yale University Press 2003.
  11. ^ Kelly, Thomas Forrest (2000). First Nights: Five Musical Premiers (Chapter 3). Yale University Press, 2001.
  12. ^ Elson, Louis, Chief Editor. University Musical Encyclopedia of Vocal Music. University Society, New York, 1912
  13. ^ Life of Henriette Sontag, Countess de Rossi. (Various Authors) Stringer & Townsend, publishers. New York, 1852.
  14. ^ Kennedy, Michael & Bourne, Joyce (1996). The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. Oxford University Press, 2007.
  15. ^  
  16. ^ "Ludwig van Beethoven The Nine Symphonies The New Bärenreiter Urtext Edition". Retrieved 13 November 2007. 
  17. ^ a b  
  18. ^ "Concerning the Review of the Urtext Edition of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony". Retrieved 13 November 2007. 
  19. ^ "Beethoven The Nine Symphonies". 
  20. ^ Thayer, Alexander Wheelock. Thayer's Life of Beethoven. Revised and edited by Elliott Forbes. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1973), p. 905.
  21. ^ Jackson 1999, 26; Stein 1979, 106
  22. ^ Rosen, Charles. "The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven". page 440. New York: Norton, 1997.
  23. ^ Other writers have interpreted the form of the last movement in different terms, including Heinrich Schenker and Donald Tovey.
  24. ^ "Beethoven Foundation – Schiller's "An die Freude" and Authoritative Translation". 
  25. ^ The translation is taken from the BBC Proms 2013 programme, for a concert held at the Royal Albert Hall (Prom 38, 11 August 2013, . This concert was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and later on BBC4 television on 6 September 2013, where the same translation was used as subtitles.
  26. ^ a b "An die Freude" (Beethoven), German Wikisource
  27. ^ But not, for example, by Brahms, who wrote of Mozart's opera The Marriage of Figaro, "Every number in Mozart's Figaro is a miracle; I find it absolutely incomprehensible how anyone can create something so absolutely perfect; nothing like it has ever been done again, not even by Beethoven." Peter Gay, Mozart: a Life, New York, Penguin, 1999, p. 131. The same statement in a different translation from German is in Robert Harris, What to Listen for in Mozart, 2002, ISBN 0743244044, p. 141.
  28. ^ "Gustav Leonhardt".  
  29. ^ Norrington, Roger (14 March 2009). "In tune with the time". The Guardian. 
  30. ^ Norrington, Roger (14 March 2009). "In tune with the time". The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media Limited). Retrieved 15 May 2013. 
  31. ^ "Concert: Beethoven 9th, Benjamin Zander and the Boston Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall" by Bernhard Holland, The New York Times, 11 October 1983
  32. ^ Recording of the Beethoven 9th with Benjamin Zander, Dominique Labelle, D'Anna Fortunato, Brad Cresswell, David Arnold, the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, and Chorus Pro Musica
  33. ^ The Compleat ConductorGunther Schuller,
  34. ^ a b Raymond Holden, "The iconic symphony: performing Beethoven's Ninth Wagner's Way" The Musical Times Winter 2011
  35. ^ Bauer-Lechner, Natalie: Erinnerungen an Gustav Mahler, page 131. E.P. Tal & Co. Verlag, 1923
  36. ^ Rimsky-Korsakov "Principles of Orchestration" "Though far less flexible than the wood-wind, brass instruments heighten the effect of other orchestral groups ... In spite of valves, the horn has little mobility." (pp. 23–24)
  37. ^ Del Mar, Jonathan (1981) Orchestral Variations: Confusion and Error in the Orchestral Repertoire London: Eulenburg Books, p. 43
  38. ^ Anon. (April 1947). "London Concerts". The Musical Times (Musical Times Publications Ltd.) 88 (1250): 139.  
  39. ^ Philips. "Beethoven's Ninth Symphony of greater importance than technology". Retrieved 9 February 2007. 
  40. ^ AES. "AES Oral History Project: Kees A.Schouhamer Immink". Retrieved 29 July 2008. 
  41. ^ Morin (2002), p. 98
  42. ^  
  43. ^
  44. ^ "Past Winners Search". Retrieved 5 April 2011. 
  45. ^ Talli Makell, "Ludwig van Beethoven" in Classical Music: The Listener's Companion ed. Alexander J. Morin (San Francisco: Backbeat Books, 2002), p. 99
  46. ^ Ludwig van Beethoven (Composer), Karl Böhm (Conductor), Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (Orchestra), Jessye Norman (Performer), Plácido Domingo (Performer), Brigitte Fassbaender (Performer), Walter Berry (Performer). "Beethoven: Symphony No. 9". 
  47. ^ Minnesota Orchestra. "Minnesota Orchestra Earns Grammy Award Nomination for Beethoven's Ninth Symphony CD". 
  48. ^ Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68. The Kennedy Center, 2006
  49. ^  
  50. ^ Steinberg, Michael. The Symphony: a listeners guide. page 153. Oxford University Press, 1995.
  51. ^ Howard, Orrin. "About the Piece | Four Orchestral Pieces, op. 12". Los Angeles Philharmonic. Retrieved 27 December 2012. 
  52. ^ Bartók, Béla (1912). 4 Pieces, Op. 12 – Violin I – (Musical Score). Universal Edition. p. 3. 
  53. ^ Cassidy, Fergus (23 October 2005). "Great Lengths" (reprint).  
  54. ^ Immink, Kees A. Schouhamer (2007). "Shannon, Beethoven, and the Compact Disc". IEEE Information Theory Newsletter: 42–46. Retrieved 12 December 2007. 
  55. ^ "Philips celebrates 25th anniversary of the Compact Disc"
  56. ^ "The European Anthem". Europa. 
  57. ^ Europa – The EU at a glance – The European Anthem
  58. ^ "Rhodesia picks Ode to Joy", The Vancouver Sun, 30 August 1974
  59. ^ van Dyke, Henry (2004). The poems of Henry van Dyke. Netherlands: Fredonia Books.  
  60. ^ a b Brasor, Philip, "Japan makes Beethoven's Ninth No. 1 for the holidays", The Japan Times, 24 December 2010, p. 20, retrieved on 24 December 2010;
    Uranaka, Taiga, "Beethoven concert to fete students' wartime sendoff", The Japan Times, 1 December 1999, retrieved on 24 December 2010.
  61. ^ "New Year's Eve Concerts in Tokyo".  


Selected books and scholarly articles:

External links

Scores, manuscripts and text

  • Schott Musik International 31st and last publisher of Beethoven & copyright holder OperaResource – RealHoffmann, A Brief History of Schott
  • Symphony No. 9: Free scores at the International Music Score Library Project
  • Free sheet music of Symphony No. 9 from
  • Original manuscript (site in German)
  • The William and Gayle Cook Music Library at the Indiana University School of Music's has posted a score for the symphony.
  • Text/libretto, with translation, in English and German
  • Symphony No. 9 is available in PDF format created from MuseData.




Other material

  • Official EU page about the anthem
  • Program note from the Kennedy Center with information about the finale as it is and might have been
  • Following the Ninth: In the Footsteps of Beethoven's Final Symphony, Kerry Candaele's 2013 documentary film about the Ninth Symphony
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