Symphony No. 9 (Beethoven)  

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"The point of recapitulation in the first movement of the Ninth is one of the most horrifying moments in music, as the carefully prepared cadence is frustrated, damming up energy which finally explodes in the throttling murderous rage of a rapist incapable of attaining release." -- Susan McClary

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral" is the last complete symphony composed by Ludwig van Beethoven. Completed in 1824, the Ninth Symphony is one of the best known works of the Western repertoire, considered both an icon and a forefather of Romantic music, and one of Beethoven's greatest masterpieces.

Symphony No. 9 incorporates part of the Ode an die Freude ("Ode to Joy"), a poem by Friedrich Schiller, with text sung by soloists and a chorus in the last movement. It is the first example of a major composer using the human voice on the same level with instruments in a symphony, creating a work of a grand scope that set the tone for the Romantic symphonic form. The symphony was first published with the German title "Sinfonie mit Schlusschor über Schillers Ode 'An die Freude' für großes Orchester, 4 Solo und 4 Chorstimmen componiert und seiner Majestät dem König von Preußen Friedrich Wilhelm III in tiefster Ehrfurcht zugeeignet von Ludwig van Beethoven, 125 tes Werk"; however, it is more commonly called the Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 or the "Choral" symphony.

Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 plays a prominent cultural role in the world today. In particular, the music from the fourth movement (Ode to Joy) was rearranged by Herbert von Karajan into what is now known as the official anthem of the European Union. Further testament to its prominence is that an original manuscript of this work sold in 2003 for $3.3 million USD at Sotheby's, London. The head of Sotheby's manuscripts department, Dr. Stephen Roe stated, "it is one of the highest achievements of man ranking alongside Shakespeare's Hamlet and King Lear."


Following the unhappy London premiere ofthe Ninth on 21 March 1825:

"elegance, purity and measure are gradually surrendering to a new, frivolous and pompous style adopted by the superficial talents of our time."
--"Beethoven's New Symphony" in The Quarterly Musical Magazine and Review

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Symphony No. 9 (Beethoven)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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