Beethoven included Enlightenment ideas into his ninth and last symphony. He finally recognized an opportunity to utilize Friedrich Schiller's "Ode to Joy"—Beethoven had long desired to set the poem to music because of its themes of liberty and fraternity. The finale begins with a majestic choral movement that expresses the ideals of the French Revolution: freedom, equality, and brotherhood. These concepts had been important to Beethoven from the beginning of his career but he had never used them in a work of art before.
The finale also includes another one of Beethoven's favorite pieces, a minuet. In it he demonstrates his familiarity with modern dance techniques by using repeated steps within each measure of the music (a feature common in many modern dances).
Finally, the finale contains a trio for piano, violin, and cello which many consider to be the best piece in the work. It has been called "the perfect ending to an amazing life" and "one final triumph over disease".
Beethoven died at the age of 57 after suffering from diabetes for several years. But even though he was unable to complete his ninth symphony, he left us with a masterpiece that will continue to inspire musicians and listeners alike hundreds of years later.
Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 is sometimes known as the "Choral" Symphony because Beethoven wrote the fourth movement for four vocal soloists and a chorus, setting sections of Schiller's uplifting poem An Die Freude (Ode To Joy), which has as its topic the universal brotherhood of mankind. The work was first performed on May 22, 1825, in Vienna. He died just nine months later.
The symphony is scored for an orchestra consisting of two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, timpani, and strings. It is divided into three movements:
I. Allegro con spirito – Moderato – Presto
II. Andante – Tempo di minuetto – Tempo I – III
III. Rondo: Vivace – Adagio – Presto
The work takes about 40 minutes to perform.
Beethoven intended the Choral Symphony to be played during Holy Week when churches across Europe would hold services led by musicians playing instruments such as harps, celestes, and organ pipes. The music was also used as a form of protest against slavery. In America, black citizens were still enslaved and unable to attend church services but they could hear the symphony played by white musicians on their behalf.
He was inspired by the values of liberty and equality displayed during the French Revolution, and his Ninth Symphony embraces the concepts of brotherhood and fraternity. Beethoven's Ninth Symphony was first played on May 7, 1824, after he had lost his hearing entirely. He wrote the work over a period of nine months to one year, but never publicly performed it because he believed it was unworthy of the stage.
Beethoven's friend Johann Wolfgang von Goethe described the composer as "the prophet who speaks only to awaken his people." Many commentators have seen references to Beethoven in Karl Marx's theories about history repeating itself, and many others have noted similarities between Beethoven's deafness and that of Jesus Christ. There are also those who compare Beethoven to Moses, Plato, Confucius, and Gandhi.
In addition to its prophetic qualities, the Ninth Symphony is known for its use of leitmotifs (each theme representing one of the themes of the work) or individual phrases that recur throughout the composition. These include themes related to nature (for example, wind instruments appearing at moments when Beethoven wanted to indicate the presence of air), human emotions (for example, joy or despair), political events (for example, the theme associated with the French Revolution), and personal memories (for example, the little tune that appears near the beginning).
But, in addition to his Symphony No. 9, which includes the "Ode to Joy," there is evidence that he began work on a tenth. Unfortunately, when the German composer died in 1827, he only left sketches and notes for the piece. It's possible that he changed his mind before he finished it, or that someone else may have completed it after his death.
The main problem with this theory is that none of the sketches or notes include instructions for how the music should be arranged. This means that we can't be sure what kind of finale Beethoven had in mind when he made these sketches. Also, despite the fact that he died before he could finish it, people continue to add new movements to Beethoven's ninth symphony. For example, Gustav Mahler added a final movement to his version of the work.
In conclusion, it is safe to say that Beethoven did not finish his tenth symphony but it is possible that he started it.
Without a doubt, Ludwig van Beethoven's innovative Ninth Symphony is one of the finest compositions in the musical repertory. "The Ninth Symphony is the pinnacle of Beethoven's talent," says Classic FM composer and Beethoven specialist John Suchet. For the first time in a symphony, he used solo voices, setting the lines of Schiller's poem An die Freude. The work also includes choruses, anthems, and some of Beethoven's most beautiful melodies.
Beethoven began work on the Ninth Symphony in 1823 when he was 26 years old. He planned to call it "Choral" but his publisher persuaded him to change the title. The work was not published until 1825 after several attempts due to difficulties with the publisher.
The Ninth Symphony is scored for an orchestra of two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, bassoon, horn, trumpet, timpani, and strings. It takes about fifteen minutes to perform.
The first performance of the Ninth Symphony was given by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Joseph Haydn on February 14, 1826. Within a few weeks, it became clear that this was something new, a symphony that would revolutionize music as we know it today. The work has remained popular ever since then and has been performed more than any other single piece of music.