Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Ninth Sympathy

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Seeing as I’m looking at the musical side of A Clockwork Orange, I think it’s only fitting I check out Alex’s favourite piece – Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Sympathy.

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I found this great article written by Tom Service’s of the The Guardian Symphony guide: Beethoven’s Ninth – http://www.theguardian.com/music/tomserviceblog/2014/sep/09/symphony-guide-beethoven-ninth-choral-tom-service

Nicholas Cook puts it well: “Of all the works in the mainstream repertory of Western music, the Ninth Symphony seems the most like a construction of mirrors, reflecting and refracting the values, hopes, and fears of those who seek to understand and explain it … From its first performance [in Vienna in 1824] up to the present day, the Ninth Symphony has inspired diametrically opposed interpretations”. Those interpretations include those earlier listeners and commentators who heard and saw in it evidence that Beethoven had lost it compositionally speaking; that the piece, with its incomprehensible scale, nearly impossible technical demands, and above all its crazily utopian humanist idealism in the choral setting of Friedrich Schiller’s Ode to Joy in its last movement, amounted to madness. On the other side, Hector Berlioz thought it the “culmination of its author’s genius”.

As Theodor Adorno puts it, “Inherent in the bad collective is the image of the solitary, and joy desires to see him weep … In such a company, what is to become of old maids, not to speak of the souls of the dead?” Beethoven sets Schiller’s loneliness-punishing lines, in the middle of the exposition of the Ode to Joy theme, with a strange diminuendo, sung by the soloists and then the choir, a moment of doubt amid a foment of affirmation. A detail perhaps, but a reminder that even this universal Utopian society has its darknesses, its excluded citizens. The irony is that Beethoven himself, while dreaming in his music of that joyful and loving connection with other human beings, searched for but only rarely found those connections in his own life: his music became what he could not.

I spent over 30mins listening to the Ninth Sympathy, it’s been a while since I’ve listened to anything like this, and I could really feel the passion and emotion created by Ludwig. My Grandad enjoys classical music so I’ll see how he interprets this piece.

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Beethoven’s Ninth Sympathy – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPt7eiVCTxk

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