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


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

Quartet

Wem der große Wurf gelungen
Eines Freundes Freund zu sein
Wer ein holdes Weib errungen
Mische seinen Jubel ein

Ja, wer auch nur eine Seele
Sein nennt auf dem Erdenrund
Und wer’s nie gekonnt, der stehle
Weinend sich aus diesem Bund

translation

Whoever has had the great fortune
To be a friend’s friend
Whoever has won a devoted wife
Join in our jubilation

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

Chorus

Ja, wer auch nur eine Seele
Sein nennt auf dem Erdenrund
Und wer’s nie gekonnt, der stehle
Weinend sich aus diesem Bund

translation

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

Quartet

Freude trinken alle Wesen
An den Brüsten der Natur
Alle Guten, alle Bösen
Folgen ihrer Rosenspur

Küße gab sie uns und Reben
Einen Freund, geprüft im Tod
Wollust ward dem Wurm gegeben
Und der Cherub steht vor Gott

translation

Joy all creatures drink
At the breasts of nature
All good, all bad
Follow her trail of roses

Kisses she gave us, and wine
A friend, proven in death
Pleasure was to the worm given
And the cherub stands before God

Chorus

Küße gab sie uns und Reben
Einen Freund, geprüft im Tod
Wollust ward dem Wurm gegeben
Und der Cherub steht vor Gott
Und der Cherub steht vor Gott
Steht vor Gott, vor Gott, vor Gott

tranlation

Kisses she gave us, and wine
A friend, proven in death
Pleasure was to the worm given
And the cherub stands before God
And the cherub stands before God
Stands before God, before God, before God

Tenor (solo) with Chorus (Allegro assai vivace)

Froh, wie seine Sonnen fliegen
Durch des Himmels prächt’gen Plan
Laufet, Brüder, eure Bahn
Freudig, wie ein Held zum Siegen

translation

Glad, as His suns fly
Through the Heaven’s glorious design
Run, brothers, your race
Joyful, as a hero to victory

Chorus

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

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

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

o

PART 2

o

Male Chorus (Andante maestoso)

Seid umschlungen, Millionen
Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt

translation

Be embraced, millions
This kiss for the whole world

Chorus

Seid umschlungen, Millionen
Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt

translation

Be embraced, millions
This kiss for the whole world

Male Chorus

Brüder, über’m Sternenzelt
Muss ein lieber Vater wohnen

translation

Brothers, above the starry canopy
Must a loving Father dwell

Chorus

Brüder, über’m Sternenzelt
Muss ein lieber Vater wohnen

translation

Brothers, above the starry canopy
Must a loving Father dwell

Chorus (Adagio ma non troppo, ma divoto)

Ihr stürzt nieder, Millionen?
Ahnest du den Schöpfer, Welt?
Such’ ihn über’m Sternenzelt
Über Sternen muss er wohnen
Über Sternen muss er wohnen

translation

Do you bow down, millions?
Do you sense the Creator, world?
Seek Him beyond the starry canopy
Beyond the stars must He dwell
Beyond the stars must He dwell

Chorus (Allegro energico, sempre ben marcato)

Seid umschlungen, Millionen
Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt
Seid umschlungen, Millionen
Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt

translation

Be embraced, you millions
This kiss for the whole world
Be embraced, you millions
This kiss for the whole world

Chorus (two times)

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

translation

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

Chorus

Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt
Der ganzen Welt

Freude, schöner Götterfunken
Wir betreten feuertrunken
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum

Seid umschlungen, seid umschlungen
Millionen, millionen, millionen

Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt
Der ganzen Welt, der ganzen Welt

translation

This kiss for the whole world
The whole world

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

Be embraced, be embraced
You millions, you millions, you millions

This kiss for the whole world
The whole world, the whole world

Chorus

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

Ihr stürzt nieder, Millionen?
Ahnest du den Schöpfer, Welt?
Such’ ihn über’m Sternenzelt
Such’ ihn über’m Sternenzelt

Brüder, brüder…

translation

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

Do you bow down, millions?
Do you sense the Creator, world?
Seek Him beyond the starry canopy
Seek Him beyond the starry canopy

Brothers, brothers…

o

Part 3


o

Click here for a link to a PDF scan of the full orchestral and vocal score.

Click here for the words to Schiller’s original 1785 poem in German and English.

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2 Responses to “Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in D minor (Op. 125)”

  1. Siegen Says:

    Wow! Thank you! I always wanted to write in my site something like that. Can I take part of your post to my blog?

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