Beethoven, Symphony No. 9
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Beethoven, Symphony No. 9 Ludwig Beethoven was not only one of the greatest composer & musician ever born- he is a wonderful study tool for me during exam week. My faithful study partner was born in a small town, Bonn, Germany on December 16, 1770 to a family of professional musicians.
Beethoven learned violin and some other instruments from his father. His father wanted him to be perfect in music, and in that endeavor he violently scolded Beethoven whenever he made any kind of mistake during practice.Even, according to one story, due to the punishments given by his father, Beethoven suffered from hearing problems in future, which basically ruined his life. (NP) Beethoven was sent to learn music from C. G. Neefe.
Beethoven learned every possible and minute detail of music from Neefe and also became his assistant when was just eleven years old. He learned piano, violin and organ from Neefe. Beethoven and fellow musician Mozart share many situations in their lives which are similar in many aspects.Both of them were born in a family where music was the most important part of life, both received training in music right from their childhood, they both had great interest in music, and like Mozart, Beethoven also had started performing in public events, shows etc. when he was just six years old. When Beethoven was twelve years old, his first music work was published.
Beethoven also dropped out of his school when he was thirteen year old in order to concentrate on his practice and to perform in musical tours. (NP) Beethoven then continued assisting Neefe till he was seventeen years old.In 1787, he went to Vienna in hopes to find good opportunities and demonstrate his talent in music. But he had to return to his house in Bonn when he learned about his mother’s illness.
Finally, around1792 he took off for Vienna in search of a good work in the field of music. During the period 1800 to 1813, while in Vienna, Beethoven learned a high classical style of music and even adopted it in his creations and performances he gave. With the new style that he had learned, he wrote some new symphonies, new concerts, and quartets.Beethoven gained popularity very fast during the middle period of his life.
It was a time when Beethoven wanted to concentrate on his work and continue with new compositions, but at the same time he started suffering from hearing problem, which became worse and worse gradually. (NP) The problem with his hearing started to reflect in the compositions he created, and even his social life was getting affected because of it. It became very hard for Beethoven to attend any public event- as his hearing problem created lot of tension for him. At times the situation led in broken relationships with others.The other problem Beethoven faced in his life at this point in time was his relations with women. Which I found very interesting because he was such an amazing musician, I would feel that women would be falling at his feet.
But it was always a tension filled situation for him to face a woman; it was said he would hesitate when expressing himself, and he also felt no woman could ever understand him. This resulted in the fact that he could never fulfill his dream of getting married to a beautiful woman, as the woman he usually loved was either from a high profile family who loved someone else or he loved a married woman. NP) At the time when everything looked to be finished for Beethoven, he came up with some determination that helped him mark his re-entry in the world of music. He wrote many symphonies (Erotica Symphony No.
3 which he dedicated to Napoleon, symphony no. 5, 6, 7 and 8), piano and violin concerts, various tones, compositions for orchestras, operas, number very famous sonatas, three and six string quartets. Beethoven’s musical work during this period is said to be his most ultimate performance he ever gave. Beethoven really proved himself to be the greatest musician of his time.He was gaining popularity as a public figure as well as being respected for his work in the field of music.
(NP) After few years, Beethoven had become almost deaf and could virtually hear nothing. It was a road block for the musical genius and it became nearly impossible for him to perform again. Beethoven stopped creating new composition; he obviously was very disappointed and became constantly more frustrated. It had been said that he even wrote letters to his brothers telling them how he felt like it was an end of his life.During this period when Beethoven had almost stopped working on music creation, he was living off funds from his earlier compositions, and symphonies. Those funds soon proved to be no enough to support Beethoven, and he feel deeper and deeper into an economic slump.
Tragically on March 26, 1827, due to his dimensioning health, and lack of funds to provide care, Ludwig Van Beethoven, the great musical genius ever to walk this earth, died. Even though one may think his life was cut off way to short, he left countless amazing works to remember him by.One of his pieces I will be exploring today was my personal favorite, Beethoven Symphony No. 9. Symphony No.
9 in D minor, Op. 125 “Choral” is the last complete symphony composed by Ludwig van Beethoven. (Wikipedia) Completed in 1824, the choral Ninth Symphony is one of the best known works of the Western repertoire, considered both an icon and a fore-father of Romantic music, and one of Beethoven’s greatest masterpieces- not to mention a spectacular work to listen too while studying for exams! “Symphony No. incorporates part of An die Freude (“Ode to Joy”), an ode 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.
” (Wikipedia) Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 plays a prominent cultural role still 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 dollars at Sotheby’s, in 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. ” (Wikipedia) Some history I found on this piece is that the Philharmonic Society of London originally commissioned the symphony in 1817.
Then Beethoven started work on, what was to be, his last symphony in 1818 and finished it early in 1824.This was roughly about twelve years after his eighth symphony. However, it was said that he was interested in the Ode to Joy from a much earlier time, having set it to music some say as early as 1793. Twenty five years before he actually performed No. 9.
(JB) The theme can be traced back to a fugue written in 1815. The introduction for the vocal part of the symphony caused many difficulties for Beethoven. It was the first time he—or anyone—had used a vocal component in a symphony. Beethoven’s friend, Anton Schindler, later said: “When he started working on the fourth movement the struggle began as never before.
The aim was to find an appropriate way of introducing Schiller’s ode. One day Beethoven entered the room and shouted ‘I got it, I just got it! ‘ Then he showed me a sketchbook with the words ‘let us sing the ode of the immortal Schiller'”. (Wikipedia) However, that introduction did not make it into the work, and Beethoven spent a great deal of time rewriting the part until it had reached the form listened to today. The Ninth Symphony was premiered on May 7, 1824 in the Karntnertortheater in Vienna. This was Beethoven’s first on-stage appearance in twelve years; the hall was packed.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, and it ended in disaster. So this time, he instructed the singers and musicians to ignore the 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 was beating time for an orchestra he could not hear.When the audience applauded – I found different testimonies that said it was at the end of the scherzo, and the end of the whole symphony – Beethoven was several measures off and still conducting.
Because of that, 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. (JB) The whole audience cheered 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 theatre house had never seen such enthusiasm in applause. (Wikipedia) I was in awe when I began looking on just a few examples where Beethoven’s Symphony No.
9 still lives on in the twenty first century. Some examples include: (Wikipedia) •The Ode to Joy was selected as main motif for the Autrian The European Anthem commemorative coin minted in May 11, 2005.The reverse shows the old Theater am Karntnertor. It was in this theatre that the “Ode to Joy” was first publicly performed.
A portrait of Beethoven, together with the opening notes of the previously mentioned symphony, is also included in the coin. •The Ode to Joy was adopted as Europe’s anthem by the Council of Europe in 1972, with an official arrangement for orchestra written by Herbert von Karajan.  In 1985, the European Union chose Beethoven’s music as the EU anthem , without German lyrics, because of the many different languages used within the European Union. At most Olympic Games during the second half of the 20th century, the fourth movement was performed as part of ceremonial processions, and as the national anthem of the United Team of East and West Germany, at the 1956, 1960 and 1964 Summer Olympics. It was also used as the anthem for the Unified Team of the former USSR during the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville and the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. •In 1989, the ninth symphony was performed in Berlin to celebrate the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, conducted by Leonard Bernstein.
Performed as an “Ode to Freedom”, every occurrence of the word “joy” in Schiller’s poem was changed to “freedom”. •The symphony seems to have taken particularly deep root in Japan, where it is widely performed during December as part of the annual celebration of the new year. •Wendy Carlos recorded an electronic version in 1971 for the film A Clockwork Orange; in that film, both the second and fourth movements of the 9th are heard. The film’s main character, Alex DeLarge, is a big fan of Beethoven, and often listens to the symphony.
•Ode to Joy also turns up at several points during the second Beatles film Help. The Ode to Joy was adopted as the national anthem of Rhodesia in 1974 as Rise O Voices of Rhodesia. •In 1988, the movie Die Hard made prominent use of the famous Ode to Joy melody.  •At the last night of The Proms in September 2001, just days after the 9/11 attacks, the ninth symphony was part of a hastily revised programme, to replace the traditional light-hearted programme of the second half. It was performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Leonard Slatkin. •The six-note introduction to the second movement had been featured on NBC News programs as early as the Huntley-Brinkley Report of the 1950s.
The Huntley-Brinkley Report also featured a longer section of the movement during the end credits. It still survives on NBC’s cable network, MSNBC, most prominently, in remixed form, on Countdown with Keith Olbermann. •FM stations which broadcast classical music do not play the 9th as frequently as the other Beethoven symphonies. For example, KVOD, the PBS FM station from Denver broadcast the 9th only 3 times in 2006, whereas the other 8 symphonies had the following number of broadcasts in 2006: 1(29), 2(29), 3(21), 4(23), 5(30), 6(30), 7(28) and 8(31).
The opening also appears in the film “Equilibrium”. This film is set in a world where all art and emotion has been destroyed by society. The rebellious government agent/hero, who enforces these laws, soon stumbles upon a vinyl recording of the Ninth and bursts into tears after listening it having never heard music before. •The hymn, “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee”, with words written in 1907 by Henry Van Dyke, is sung to the “Ode to Joy” tune and is included in many hymnals.
These are just a few examples on how his astonishing work impacted literally everyone around the globe.These examples do not even include the over thirty two notable recordings of his work. Ranging from Felix Weingartner conducting the Vienna Philharmonic in 1935, to Osmo Vanska conducting the Minnesota Orchestra as part of an ongoing Beethoven symphonies complete set in 2007. (KTB) Symphony No. 9 was not only my favorite piece composed by Beethoven, but the affects it has made around the world are monumental.
Not even to mention Beethoven was virtually deaf when he composed this piece, he was not able to conduct his symphony, and yet it is by far the most heard, famous, and notable piece he has ever written.