Finally – Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony Live
I had the great pleasure of hearing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony live.
Originally it was supposed to be called the Ode to Freedom but the politically situation in Vienna at the time of Bonaparte overthrowing the aristocracy meant it was necessary to call it the Ode to Joy.
Beethoven is a rock star. THE original rock star.
People think that classical musicians are boring but what they forget is that they were the rock stars of their time.
Beethoven was the first breed of musician that didn’t have to go out and beg for work. Unlike Mozart who sometimes had to kiss ass to some rich snot for a commission, Beethoven did not. The rich came to him and begged him to write something.
The symphony reflects aspects of human life in its four movements. There are solo moments and instrumental interludes. It’s full of soft tender feelings and then violent booming explosions. Almost as if Beethoven wanted to document all the moments of his live – the violent, the tender, the joyous, and the righteous.
Finally the 4th movement begins.
Quietly, gently, the cello’s started to play the Ode to Freedom theme. Then the bass’ came in, adding the deep vibrating bottom notes. Next the second violins joined with the warm mid notes. Finally the first violins added the bravura top end. Suddenly the entire 40 voice choir filled the rest of the spectrum. The music swelled and grew and wrapped itself around me and filled my being with incredible light and hope. It was like coming out of a dark tunnel into a bright, sunny Spring day.
Tears were inevitable.
The Music of Heaven
At that moment, for the first time, in a long time, I believed that God existed.
This was the sound of Heaven opening up and the Heavenly hosts singing of freedom and hope for all human kind. Clearly the hand of a higher power had guided Ludwig Van and helped him to write the greatest music the world would ever know.
Though my German is rudimentary I understood what the general meaning of the words meant. I couldn’t bring myself to read the English translation on the screen it would have made me collapse into a sobbing mess. The music was moving and overwhelming. The meaning of the words would have been too much – at least in public. My son was already embarrassed that his mom was sitting there with tears streaming down her face.
Live, as it Should Be
I’ve listened to this symphony so many times. I know when each element comes in and how it sounds and yet hearing it live – it was like hearing it for the first time. Live and in person, just as Beethoven had intended.
Now I know the true meaning of magnificent and awe-some. Thanks Mr. B.