Archive for December, 2009

Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in D minor (Op. 125)

Monday 21 December, 2009

Ludwig van Beethoven @ Wikipedia

Ludwig van Beethoven‘s “Choral” Symphony No. 9 in D minor (Op. 125) was the last symphony he wrote. It is one of the most famous pieces, if not the most famous, in Western classical music. It was completed in 1824 when he was 53 years of age, three years before his death.

Beethoven’s 9th Symphony is the first example of a major composer using voices. He uses both an SATB choir and vocal quartet comprising of Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Baritone voices. These appear only in the final 4th movement where we hear the familiar “Ode to Joy” tune. The words were adopted from a poem by Friedrich von Schiller.

Interestingly, Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” tune is used as the “Anthem of Europe“, most notably for the European Union. It is officially played as an instrumental only, and at a much slower tempo than the original.

Below are three videos excerpts of the famous final movement, conducted by one of the world’s most famous conductors Leonard Bernstein. It was recorded in the Konzerthaus Berlin in 1989. Underneath the first two videos are the German text with English translation under each section. Enjoy!

o

PART 1

o

Baritone (solo) (Presto)

O Freunde, nicht diese Töne
Sondern laßt uns angenehmere anstimmen
Und freudenvollere

translation

Oh friends, not these tones
Rather, let us raise our voices in more pleasing
And more joyful sounds

Baritone (solo) with Chorus (Allegro assai)

Freude! Freude!

translation

Joy! Joy!

Baritone (solo)

Freude, schöner Götterfunken
Tochter aus Elysium
Wir betreten feuertrunken
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum

Deine Zauber binden wieder
Was die Mode streng geteilt
Alle Menschen werden Brüder
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt

translation

Joy, beautiful spark of gods
Daughter of Elysium
We enter drunk with fire
Heavenly one, your sanctuary

Your magic binds again
What custom strictly divided
All men become brothers
Where your gentle wing rests

Chorus

Deine Zauber binden wieder
Was die Mode streng geteilt
Alle Menschen werden Brüder
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt

translation

Your magic binds again
What custom strictly divided
All men become brothers
Where your gentle wing rests

(more…)

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