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Monday, December 14, 2009

§ I Am Music and I Pick the Songs: Ode to Joy

{Song #43 « Song #44 » Song #45}

§ ≡ One of an ongoing series of posts in which I pick, in my not-so-humble opinion, the best songs of the second millennium. Feel free to offer constructive dissenting opinions; preferably set to music.

Song #44 is Ode to Joy, composed by Beethoven.

The Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral" is the final complete symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven. Completed in 1824, the symphony is one of the best-known works of the Western classical repertoire and is considered one of Beethoven's greatest masterpieces. It was the first example of a major composer using voices in a 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.

“The Ninth Symphony was premiered on May 7, 1824 in the Kärntnertortheater in Vienna. This was the composer's first on-stage appearance in twelve years; the hall was packed. The soprano and alto parts were interpreted by two famous young singers: Henriette Sontag and Caroline Unger. Although the performance was officially directed by Michael Umlauf, the theatre's Kapellmeister, Beethoven shared the stage with him. [...] [Umlauf] instructed the singers and musicians to ignore the totally deaf Beethoven. [...] When the audience applauded [...] 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. [...] 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. [...] Beethoven left the concert deeply moved.” [emphasis added]
— ‘From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia’
UPDATE: December 16, 2009
Happy 239th birthday, Ludwig!

Thirteen-year-old Beethoven

Post #1,045 § I Am Music and I Pick the Songs: Ode to Joy


  1. Debbie Harry is better looking, but Bernstein has a much better band.

    Just my $0.02.

  2. No doubt, mon ami, no doubt. But, with the sound muted, there is no doubt which vid rules.