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Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony

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Ludwig van Beethoven wrote nine symphonies in his lifetime, ​32piano sonatas, one opera, five piano concertos, and many chambers works. But he is known mostly for his Ninth Symphony. A little background about the 9th symphony was that it was the longest and most complex piece that had been written at that time.

Beethoven was a huge believer in the values of the Enlightenment era. Since he was such a fond believer of the era, he would incorporate the values and beliefs of that time into his works. So for the 9th Symphony, he chose to incorporate the message and theme of unity amongst the time. The theme is also magnified through the poem “Ode to Joy” by Friedrich Schiller. “​Thy magic power re-unites, All that custom has divided, All men become brothers, Under the sway of thy gentle wings” (Green). Those are words from the German poem translated to English. The lines stated above help to stress the unity theme by saying that all the men would become brothers.

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So Ludwig van Beethoven composed this symphony. Beethoven’s birth date is not fully certain but he was baptized on December 17, 1770. He was born in ​Bonn in the Electorate of Cologne, a principality of the Holy Roman Empire, which is in Germany ( Beethoven did not have the best childhood growing up. His father, Johann van Beethoven, was a court singer of the time and would physically abuse Beethoven. When he would teach Beethoven he would beat him, lock him in a cellar, or other dangerous things just to get him to practice more. Which would take place daily. Beethoven attended a Latin grade school, but he struggled greatly. His biggest problems were with math and spelling ( He was thought to have had dyslexia. He decided to withdraw from school in 1781, when he was only 10 years old, to focus on music full time. At the age of 12 years old, Beethoven wrote his first piece. But Beethoven is most known for composing his most famous symphonies while going deaf. He composed his 9th symphony fully deaf.

The 9th symphony was completed in 1824 which was in the Romantic era. During the romantic era, music grew closer to the literature, theater, and art of the time. The music during this time began to become more song-like melodies which are more lyrical. The music also started to have big orchestras, like mainly brass.

The genre of the 9th ​symphony is choral symphony (​Schwarm)​. ​A choral symphony is a musical style that incorporates an orchestra, a choir, and often it uses vocalists. This piece has four movements throughout the whole composition. The fourth movement is where the vocalists come into the piece because that is where the poem “Ode to Joy” is.


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