Symphony No. 9 (Beethoven)
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Symphony No. 9 incorporates part of the Ode an die Freude ("Ode to Joy"), a poem by Friedrich Schiller, with text sung by soloists and a chorus in the last movement. It is the first example of a major composer using the human voice on the same level with instruments in a symphony, creating a work of a grand scope that set the tone for the Romantic symphonic form. The symphony was first published with the German title "Sinfonie mit Schlusschor über Schillers Ode 'An die Freude' für großes Orchester, 4 Solo und 4 Chorstimmen componiert und seiner Majestät dem König von Preußen Friedrich Wilhelm III in tiefster Ehrfurcht zugeeignet von Ludwig van Beethoven, 125 tes Werk"; however, it is more commonly called the Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 or the "Choral" symphony.
Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 plays a prominent cultural role in the world today. In particular, the music from the fourth movement (Ode to Joy) was rearranged by Herbert von Karajan into what is now known as the official anthem of the European Union. Further testament to its prominence is that an original manuscript of this work sold in 2003 for $3.3 million USD at Sotheby's, London. The head of Sotheby's manuscripts department, Dr. Stephen Roe stated, "it is one of the highest achievements of man ranking alongside Shakespeare's Hamlet and King Lear."