Beethoven Finishes His Ninth Symphony

The Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral" is the final complete symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven.

Completed in 1824, the symphony is one of the best known works of the Western classical repertoire. It is considered one of Beethoven's most highly regarded masterpieces.

The symphony was the first example of a major composer using voices in a symphony. The words are sung during the final movement by four vocal soloists and a chorus. They were taken from the "Ode to Joy", a poem written by Friedrich Schiller in 1785 and revised in 1803, with additions made by the composer.

The Ninth, the Choral. Greatest Symphony ever written. Voices and music. New. Revolutionary. A theme adopted by the European Union as its anthem. The piece chosen by Leonard Bernstein to conduct after the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, substituting the word Freiheit (freedom) for Freude (joy) in the final movement. (Beethoven would surely have approved.) A slow movement of such beauty time seems to stand still. And in an outrageously audacious passage, in the white heat of the final movement the music really does stand still, as Beethoven puts on the brake and literally stops everything.

Symphony No. 9 in D minor, op. 125 represents the apotheosis of Beethoven’s symphonies. The idea for this symphony tormented Beethoven for many years. Dating as far back as 1809, we find notes of musical ideas which will be later used for this symphony. The material he gathered was ultimately used between 1822-1824 when the great symphony was elaborated with chorus and soloists. Its general tone is happiness captured in multiple instances. Perhaps that is why it was also titled "The Symphony of Joy."

Schiller’s poem " The Ode to Joy " interested him from 1793 when he sought to write a song, but the musical theme of Part IV was written only a year before the completion of the symphony