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BACKGROUND MUSIC: Beethoven: Symphony No.9 in D minor, Op.125 "Choral" (complete) (72:28)

7. An Everlastingly Overwhelming Symphony

貝多芬
(Beethoven, 1770-1827)
Beethoven's Symphony No.9 in D Minor, Op.125, the so-called "Choral Symphony", is one of my most favourite symphonies of classical music. Beethoven completed this symphony in 1824 and in its premiere he, as an assistant conductor, also stood in front of the orchestra throughout the performance. The premiere was a huge success as the audience burst into applause passionately at the end of the performance, but, owing to his complete deafness, Beethoven could only stand still emotionlessly on the stage with his back facing the audience until the contralto soloist turned him round to see the overwhelmingly enthusiastic audience.

The "Choral Symphony" is really an unexceptionable masterpiece and a historical milestone in classical symphonies. Beethoven successfully incorporated solo voices and choruses with Schiller's poem "Ode to Joy" as the vocal setting into the instrumental playing of the orchestra in the fourth movement of the symphony. This innovative creation sets the ultimate standard in the integration of vocal sound into the orchestral playing in the structure of classical symphonies.

The usual four movements format of a symphony is still used in the "Choral Symphony" except that the second movement is a scherzo and the third an adagio, not the usual arrangement with a slow movement in the second and a scherzo in the third movement. I like the adagio third movement the most and it was once described by the American composer Leonard Bernstein as "a beautiful and charming piece of music that could only be heard in Heaven". The first movement "Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso" and the scherzo second movement "Molto vivace" are powerful and thrilling in orchestration.

The opening part of the final fourth movement brings the "Joy Theme" to its variations thoroughly and magnificently and the concluding part of the movement introduces the voices of the four vocal soloists, namely the soprano, the contralto, the tenor and the bass, and the chorus. The voices and the orchestra are inextricably intertwining with each other, announcing to the world the joy and significance of life.

Beethoven's Ninth "Choral Symphony" is indisputably an everlastingly overwhelming symphony.

The original "Ode to Joy" is a German poem. The following is its English translation:



"Ode to Joy"

"O friends, not these sounds!
Rather let us turn to sounds more pleasant
and more joyful." (An introduction from Beethoven)

Joy, brilliant spark of the gods,
daughter of Elysium,
intoxicated with fire, we enter,
o heavenly being, your sanctuary.

Your spells reunite that which
was strictly divided by convention;
all men become brothers
where your gentle wing rests.

He who has had the good fortune
to find a true friend,
he who has won a loving wife,
let him join in our rejoicing!

Yes, if there is but one other soul
he can call his own on the whole earth!
And he who could never accomplish this,
let him steal away weeping from this company!

All creatures drink joy
at Natrue's breasts;
good and evil alike
follow in her trail of roses.

She gave us kisses, and the vine,
and a friend faithful to death;
even the worm was given desire,
and the Cherub stands before God!

Joyfully, as his suns speed
through the glorious expanse of heaven,
brothers, run your course,
joyously, like a hero towards victory!

Receive this embrace, you millions!
This kiss is for the whole world!
Brothers, above the starry vault
a loving father must surely dwell!

Do you fall prostrate, you millions?
Do you sense the Creator, world?
Seek him above the starry vault,
he must surely dwell above the stars!



以下是它的中文翻譯:



《快樂頌》

「哦,朋友們,不是這樣的聲音!
且讓我們愉快,愉快的唱奏,
和歡樂盡情。
快樂!快樂!」(貝多芬的引子)

快樂美麗的神光輝煌,
天國仙都的女郎,
我們陶醉聖火的熱狂,
闖進神聖的天堂!

你的精誠重新團結,
掃盡世俗的參商;
四海之內皆是兄弟,
看你的柔翼飛翔。

誰曾享受偉大的幸福,
只一個知己相親,
誰曾求得恩愛的淑女,
便請來歡慶同伸!

呀,誰若有密契的知心,
普天下僅此一人!
倘沒有遇見,
且讓他啜泣著離開人群!

大家都經自然的柔胸,
痛飲那快樂千鐘;
一切美好,一切醜惡,
緊跟她的玫瑰芳蹤。

她賜給我們美酒香吻,
朋友更是到死相從;
蟲豹也得領受歡樂,
天使長守護著聖宮!

快活,快活,且學太陽飛翔,
穿過那無邊的天空,
飛奔,兄弟們,同追蹤,
快樂的,像一個凱旋的英雄!

擁抱著歡愛,萬千的眾人!
這世上無雙的一吻!
兄弟們!在繁星的帳幕,
一定照臨著慈祥的父親。

你們禮拜嗎?萬千的眾人?
你們接受啟示嗎?人們?
去找他,在繁星的帳幕!
在那星幕他常照臨。

(Written on December 27, 2008)

MUSIC LISTENING: Beethoven: Symphony No.9 in D minor, Op.125 "Choral" (complete) (72:28): I. Allegro ma non troppo (un poco maestoso); II. Molto vivace (scherzo); III. Adagio molto e cantabile; IV. Presto - Allegro assai - Presto (O Freunde, nicht diese Tone!) (all in one file)