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Beethoven's 9th Symphony
Transcript of Beethoven's 9th Symphony
- Talking about Ludwig van Beethoven and his influences
- How this piece of music is a result of its cultural times
- The lyrics of the song
- The meaning behind the lyrics and the meaning behind the meaning
- How Beethoven conveyed the meaning through the 6 elements of music
Followed by a personal reflection. So, let's begin! About Beethoven Ludwig van Beethoven was a Viennese musician and composer; and a prodigy, at that. But, I'm not here to recite a biography. Instead, I'll talk directly about the composition of this symphony. An important thing to note is that Beethoven was completely deaf when he created this symphony. Miraculously though, he could still compose brilliant musical works. Aside from the fact that he was audibly impaired, this was a very depressing point in Beethoven's life. He was very low in finances, (like most musicians at the time) and the fact that his recent musical output was lethargic, due to his multiple illnesses, didn't help matters. His time was also devoted to his deceased brother's son, Karl, whose mother Beethoven couldn't stand. However, aside from all these struggles, Beethoven managed to find inspiration in Friedrich Schiller's poem, Ode to Joy. This simple poem, essentially a drinking song, influenced him to create a masterpiece about... Wait! Before that, let's talk about what this movement (and the symphony, as a whole) are actually about. I assure you, it's not about being drunk. The Song The Musical Period First, the musical period is needing to be discussed. You see, Beethoven was one of the key factors of moving the arts from the classical period to the romantic period. Thus, his works of music often vary between the 2. For example, his third symphony, Eroica, completely broke away from the classical structure, while his 8th symphony follows it. However, his 9th symphony was a combination of ideas from all 3 of his personal musical periods. Therefore, as expected, this symphony goes all over the place; following structure one movement, throwing it out the window, the next. So, I guess you could say that this piece of music is highly romantic, tossing all of Beethoven's life into one, structure-less work of brilliance. The Lyrics The lyrics of this song appear about half-way the 4th movement; the rest of the movements are instrumental. This was a big step forward in musical history, as voices in a orchestrated symphony were unheard of, back then. The lyrics are in German, as both Schiller and Beethoven are German. When examined, one can clearly tell that the ode is about brotherhood and the unity of all people. Below are selections of the English translations, accompanied by their corresponding inferences. Your magic reunites
What custom strictly divided.
All men become brothers, The power of god brings together all people, separated by race or religion. Whoever has had the great fortune
To be a friend's friend,
Whoever has won a devoted wife,
Join in our jubilation! Anyone who was lucky enough to make another brother/sister in a fellow human being, become our brother/sister, too! Indeed, whoever can call even one soul
His own on this earth!
And whoever was never able to, must creep
Tearfully away from this band! Anyone who has made even one other brother/sister, even if it is yourself, join us! If have not even done that, run away in tears! Joy all creatures drink
At the breasts of nature;
All good, all bad
Follow her trail of roses.
Kisses she gave us, and vines, All living things follow the same path, be it happy or sad; they all stick together. Pleasure was given to the worm,
And the cherub stands before God All living things are given equality. Lyrics Inference Not to mention the word "brother" is stated countless times But, it's not just the lyrics, the music talks of brotherhood, too!