Ode to Joy
15 February 2015, Sunday
Posterity views the figure of Beethoven as the embodiment of the Romantic artist, an epoch-making genius who changed the general conception of composers and performing artists. This view is only further reinforced by the story of the birth of his Symphony No. 9, or more precisely the melody of the Ode to Joy. The complex process of putting music to the famous Schiller ode was something Beethoven composed into the symphony. Some 30 years before the symphony's première, Beethoven was already occupied with setting the poem by Friedrich Schiller to music. At around the same time, the embryo of the melody itself had already begun to form, to which the composer would return in other works over the ensuing years. The difficult process of the melody's birth is almost programmed into Beethoven's composition: as listeners, we can follow its emergence into the world in the final movement of the symphony.


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