The Ninth Symphony is one that demonstrates the power and genius of Beethoven’s mind. The first two movements depict conflict, intense joy, and incredible depth into the soul that resounds the common conflict in History. The expert use of the timpani in the second movement and throughout the Symphony confounds even the modern concert-goer. The third movement clears away all the conflict and intensity, and begins a great lyrical moment of peace and melody. It is a precursor to the great eminence of fourth movement. The Fourth movement brings us the great triumph of man and peace; a triumph of brotherhood. Using the lyrics from Schiller’s “Ode to Joy,” Beethoven makes his ending clear. “O friends, not these tones! Let us raise our voices in more pleasing and more joyful sounds! All men will become brothers.” The clash between orchestra and choir in the fourth movement instills a great sense of camaraderie in the listener that successfully fulfills Beethoven’s purpose of this symphony, that all men will indeed once become brothers. In another resounding of our human history, after all the conflict, there will be an awesome ascendancy of unity, brotherhood, and peace. It is a telling of our striving for peace, and that it will one day come. This is why it is so recognizable in the national anthem of the European Union; the strive for unity and brotherhood.
The lyrics of Schiller’s Ode to Joy as they appear in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony:
O friends, no more these sounds!Let us sing more cheerful songs,More full of joy!
Joy, bright spark of divinity,Daughter of Elysium, Fire-inspired we tread Thy sanctuary.Thy magic power re-unites All that custom has divided, All men become brothers, Under the sway of thy gentle wings.
Whoever has created An abiding friendship, Or has won A true and loving wife, All who can call at least one soul theirs, Join our song of praise; But those who cannot must creep tearfully Away from our circle.
All creatures drink of joy At natures breast. Just and unjust Alike taste of her gift; She gave us kisses and the fruit of the vine, A tried friend to the end. Even the worm can feel contentment, And the cherub stands before God!
Gladly, like the heavenly bodies Which He sent on their courses Through the splendor of the firmament; Thus, brothers, you should run your race, like a hero going to victory!
You millions, I embrace you. This kiss is for all the world! Brothers, above the starry canopy There must dwell a loving father.
Do you fall in worship, you millions? World, do you know your creator? Seek Him in the heavens; Above the stars must he dwell.