An exuberant battle ensues, depicted all by instruments. We see the youths hurl themselves valiantly into the fray--the spoils of which are joy. Once more we feel impelled to invoke words by Goethe:.
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Only he who is driven to conquer himself each day, Deserves freedom as if it were life. The victory, though never in doubt, is won. The exertions of the day give way to smiles of joy. Joy exults at the thought of happiness newly achieved. Amidst the highflown sentiment of joy, proud breasts now swear a vow of universal brotherhood. We turn in ardent fervor from the embrace of all humankind to the great Creator of Nature, whose beneficient being we with clear heart and mind attest; yes--whom, in a moment of supreme rapture as the blue ether seems to part for us, we fancy we espy:.
It is as if we became heirs through revelation to the seraphic belief that every man is created for joy. In all the force of strong conviction, we cry across to one another:. For in the bond of universal brotherhood , consecrated by God as it is, we are free to taste the purest joy.
Now we can respond, not merely in the thrall of awesome emotions but also in the knowledge of a bountiful truth revealed to us--now we can respond to the question:.
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Our long-sought happiness achieved, our childlike love of joy regained, we now surrender ourselves to their delights. Our guilelessness of heart regained, joy folds its velvet wing o'er us in benediction. To the gentle delights of happiness in joy now succeeds jubilation.
As we clasp the world to our breast, excitement and exultation fill the air like the thundering of the heavens and the roaring of the seas, set in perpetual motion and healing vibration, which quicken the earth and preserve it for the joy of men, to whom God gave the world so that he might find happiness there. Sullivan on Beethoven's Symphony 9. In the Choral movement of the ninth symphony Beethoven is in less exalted regions [than in his Mass in D]. Here he finds a solution of his intolerable yearning by making himself one with the whole human family, considered as the children of a Heavenly Father.
The solution is a natural one, and is apparently as "lofty" as could be desired, but it is nevertheless felt as an inadequate culmination of the spiritual process portrayed in the first three movements. It is usual to attribute this inadequacy to the employment of the human voice. It is doubtful, however, whether this is the real reason. It is rather that we feel that the spirit which has climbed up the heights of those three movements should now, like Moses on Sinai, be granted a vision of God Himself.
To turn back from the serene, unearthly heights of that great Adagio to the warm human world of humanitarian ideals and optimistic rejoicings, is to disappoint our expectation of, and craving for, some ultimate sublimity.
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That the human voice alone is not responsible is obvious from the Mass. The cause lies deeper, in the very character of the music. The aspiration expressed in the Choral movement, lofty as it is, is not an adequate culmination of the experiences described in the first three movements.
That Beethoven himself felt this inadequacy is nearly certain from the evidence we have, and also from the fact that he had the greatest difficulty in making a plausible bridge passage to the last movement from the other three. This movement may be taken, indeed, as the one instance of his failure, in a major work, to rise to the height of his great argument. And the argument was the greatest that he had yet presented.
To compare the ninth symphony with the fifth is to realize how greatly this man had grown in spiritual stature. That early, almost boyish idea of fate has become a much profounder conception in this first movement. Fate is no longer personified as some sort of powerful enemy that sufficient courage can defy, even if hopelessly. It is now a truly universal destiny, too complete to evoke any thought of resistance. The brooding mystery from which the theme emerges is, like the primeval darkness that preceded creation, something that conditions the human world, but which is not part of it.
And this extra-human power, as presented to us here, has nothing benevolent about it, necessary as it may be for the moulding of the human soul. As the answer to this fate theme Beethoven gives us no more than submission and resignation. But even resignation is overborne and crushed by this implacable destiny, and towards the end of this terrible movement After this experience we know, with Beethoven, exactly what to expect, and in the Scherzo [the second movement] we have once more that unconquerable uprising of blind energy that was the very core of the man.
This Scherzo is as headlong a movement as the fugue of the Hammerclavier sonata, but there is a fierce joyousness in it quite absent from that work. It is, indeed, part of an organic structure that reaches out to a quite different culmination, although that culmination is not the personal victory of the early works.
The Adagio [the third movement] alone would, one thinks, be a sufficiently great culmination. That state of what we can only call serenity based, not on any turning away from suffering, but on its acceptance, is sufficient justification, surely, for the experience, portrayed in the first movement. So great a degree of understanding, in which nothing is ignored, is worth, it would seem, whatever price has been paid for it. But there is a state beyond, a condition of almost superhuman ecstasy, as Beethoven had already revealed to us in the last movement of the last pianoforte sonata.
The Adagio of the ninth symphony remains purely human and personal and Beethoven was, at this time, reaching out after something that should transcend what is called the human. He was, at this time, exploring a new region of consciousness. In the late pianoforte sonatas we get more than glimpses of a new state of being as revealed in a music utterly unlike any other music. In the late quartets he was to reveal to us even more unambiguously this new region. In the ninth symphony, however, he could not, for some reason, order this new experience on the scale required.
It may be that Beethoven was moving about in worlds not realized. He had, in the late pianoforte sonatas and in the Mass, given us glimpses of this new kind of awareness. He had probably said all that he could, at the moment, say. So he turned from his personal and solitary adventure as a forerunner of the human race to be a partaker in the joy and aspirations of his fellows. This is the last occasion on which Beethoven addresses his fellow-men as one of them.
Henceforth he voyages "in strange seas of thought, alone.
Donald Francis Tovey on Beethoven's Symphony 9. If a great work of art could be made responsible for all subsequent failures to imitate it, then Beethoven might have had cause for doubting whether the opening of his Ninth Symphony was worth the risk. It is a privilege of the greatest works of art that they can, if they will, reveal something gigantic in their scale, their range, and their proportions as the very first glimpse or moment. This power is quite independent of the possibility that other works may be larger; it is primarily a matter of proportion, and the actual size enters into the question only when the work of art is brought by some unavoidable accident into relation with the actual size of the spectator.
Contemporary critics throughout Beethoven's career were continually deceived about the scale of his designs, or they would not so constantly have considered Beethoven inferior to Mozart in power of construction. With the rarest exceptions they always listened to a work of Beethoven in the expectation that its proportions would be those of a work of Mozart; and the mere measurement of the actual length of the work as a whole would not suffice to correct that assumption, for several very perfect works of Mozart may be found which are considerably longer than some characteristic great works of Beethoven.
The enlargement of the time-scale is not a matter of total length; it is a matter of contrasts in movement. Mozart's aesthetic system does not admit of such broad expanses side by side with such abrupt and explosive actions as are perfectly natural in Beethoven's art. The first signs of intelligence in this matter came from those contemporary critics of Beethoven who had the sense to be bewildered by many things which are now accepted inattentively.
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Two of Weber's notorious gibes will clear up the matter once for all. He regarded the introduction to the Fourth Symphony as a monstrous and empty attempt to spread some four or five notes over a quarter of an hour. This shows that he had a sense of something new in Beethoven's time-scale. The other case was that of the sustained note five octaves deep [i. This shows that he perceived something unprecedented in Beethoven's scale of tone The opening of the Ninth Symphony is an immediate revelation of Beethoven's full power in both of these ways The opening of the Ninth Symphony is, then, obviously gigantic.
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It is gigantic in relation to the sonata style of which it is still a perfect specimen. But its gigantic quality is so obvious in itself that it has been the actual and individual inspiring source of almost all the vast stream of modern music that has departed from the sonata style altogether.
The normal opening for a sonata movement is a good, clear, pregnant theme. Whatever happens before the statement of such a theme is evidently introductory, and the introduction is generally so separable that it is in an obviously different tempo [typically a slower pace], whether or not it does itself consist largely of something broadly melodious. But it would hardly do to call the opening of the Ninth Symphony an introduction: it is impossible to imagine anything that more definitely plunges us into the midst of things.