O friends, no more these sounds!
Let us sing more cheerful songs,
more full of joy!
Joy, bright spark of divinity,
Daughter of Elysium,
Fire-inspired we tread
Thy sanctuary.
Thy magic power re-unites
All that custom has divided,
All men become brothers
Under the sway of thy gentle wings.
Whoever has created
An abiding friendship,
Or has won
A true and loving wife,
All who can call at least one soul theirs,
Join in our song of praise;
But any who cannot must creep tearfully
Away from our circle.
All creatures drink of joy
At nature’s breast.
Just and unjust
Alike taste of her gift;
She gave us kisses and the fruit of the vine,
A tried friend to the end.
Even the worm can feel contentment,
And the cherub stands before God!
Gladly, like the heavenly bodies
Which He set on their courses
Through the splendor of the firmament;
Thus, brothers, you should run your race,
As a hero going to conquest.
You millions, I embrace you.
This kiss is for all the world!
Brothers, above the starry canopy
There must dwell a loving Father.
Do you fall in worship, you millions?
World, do you know your creator?
Seek him in the heavens;
Above the stars must He dwell.

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The motto of this year’s Beethovenfest is “Macht.Musik,” which in German can mean both “power.music” and “make.music.” The play on words reflects the turbulent history of the Ninth Symphony: its repeated exploitation by powerful figures, as well as its withstanding power to move people.


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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, and has been adapted for use as the European Anthem. It is considered[who?] one of Beethoven’s masterpieces and one of the greatest musical compositions ever written.

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Notes that bind

25Jun11

DO YOU get a lump in your throat—as Hitler did—with the terrifying fanfare that opens the choral movement of Beethoven’s ninth symphony? Do your eyes mist over at the first throaty choral outburst of: Freude, schöner Götterfunken?

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