21 Responses to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony

  • My favorite instrumental work, unsurpassed in all of music. Leonard Bernstein’s conducting of the 9th in 1988 with the Berlin Philharmonic after the Wall came down was truly memorable. Ever see the film, Immortal Beloved, Don? A pretty good biopic of the greatest German composer (although there are days I’d give that honor to Mozart).

  • Correction. It was the Vienna and here is the vid link:

  • and a wonderful clip from the movie:

  • I haven’t seen Immortal Beloved Joe, but I’ll try and view it sometime. In regard to Beethoven and Mozart it is too bad we have very little documentation as to their one meeting. (Whether they met at all has been subject to controversy, although I suspect they did.)

  • The clip I posted will whet your whistle for sure. Amazing scene. Mozart, supposedly after meeting a young Beethoven, is reported to have said, “Some day we’ll hear more from this young man.” (paraphrasing.) Thank you, Don, for the starting this thread. Perhaps you might put up Mozart’s Requiem some time. Absolutely stunning.

  • This is my favorite piece of music as well. Absolute perfection. And it was watching Immortal Beloved that prompted me to start listening to Beethoven.

  • Paul, the slow movement (second) from his “Emperor” Concerto is perhaps the most sublime piece of piano music you’ll ever hear.
    Here is Glenn Gould playing it:

  • I like Cliburn’s better, though. Gould was better at Bach.

  • You knew this was coming:

    “I have watched greatness touch you in another way. I have seen you sit, uninvited and unforced, listening in complete silence to the third movement of the Ninth Symphony. I thought you understood, as much as children can, when I told you that that music was the moment at which Beethoven finally passed beyond the suffering of his life on earth and reached for the hand of God, as God reaches for the hand of Adam in Michelangelo’s version of creation.” – Whittaker Chambers, “Witness”

  • BLARG!

    The baroque has yet to be transcended.

  • Pretty hard to hum Bach except for his lullaby and Gesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring. As for Wagner, as Twain said: “His music is not as bad as it sounds.”

    My favorite compose is Giuseppe Verdi, which is no surprise given my screen name. : )

  • Meant Brahm’s lullaby, of course. Think before you type. I gotta remember that.

  • Brahms’

    There I go again. apostrophe transposed.

  • Do see “Immortal Beloved,” Don–Joe is right, it is a great film. Talented actors given superb material is too rare a combination.

    Sometimes laugh out loud funny, too: After Jeroen Krabbe’s Schindler has learned that Beethoven spurned Isabella Rossellini’s Anna Erdody, the flabbergasted Schindler blurts out “He was a *fool*!” to the flattered Erdody.

    I agreed wholeheartedly with Schindler–I’ve always been enchanted by Rossellini.

  • My favorite compose is Giuseppe Verdi, which is no surprise given my screen name.

    Joe, it’s good to see a man of such distinguished musical tastes. As you might have guessed from my name I do have a special place in my heart for Italian artists.

  • Figured that, Paul. I am an opera lover first and foremost. Any composer whose name ends in a vowel usually is OK by me. : )

  • Dale, agree. Isabella was and remains a beautiful woman and she and Gary Oldman did a great job in that flick.

  • Bernstein conducting the finale from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde:

    It is truly sublime.

  • Beethoven wrote the Missa Solemnis at the same time as the 9th Symphony. If you want to truly have your doors blown off, try the opening bars of the piece (the Kyrie), the entire Gloria, or the solo violin at the top of its register representing the Holy Spirit during the Sanctus/Benedictus. For the Gloria and the Sanctus, the tempi on the Robert Shaw/Atlanta recording is tough to beat. If you want the quality soloists, the Klemperer recording is phenomenal.

  • Great piece of music, and is the tune to a popular hymn we sing.

    I hang my head and confess to being a phillistine from the outer fringes of civilisation 😉 and hate to admit I didn’t know it was composed by Beethoven. I promise to do penance for my culpable ignorance – sack-cloth and ashes for 7 days.