Tag Archives: Beethoven's 9th Symphony

September 14: A Lesson on Beethoven’s 9th

–submitted by Ellsworth Brown

A Rotary program like none we’ve experienced before, presented with words and at keyboard by Maestro John DeMain with violin, clarinet, and bass—

Identifying revolutionary combinations of symphonic themes, new compositional approaches, and an unforgettably powerful last movement, the work of a deaf composer—

Discussing the Beethoven’s veiled human agenda on behalf of freedom, expressed not only in music, but also in word.

DeMain, renowned Madison Symphony Musical Director of 28 years, and a miniature orchestra explained and illustrated the four movements of Ludwig van Beethoven’s 9th Symphony:

  • The first, of longing and musical disputes
  • The second, a “farce” (so labeled by Beethoven), motor-driven in rhythm by three, then two opening notes, then a return to three
  • The third movement, a strong, slow melody of “excessive tenderness”
  • The fourth, unforgettable “Ode to Joy” with chorus to provide words calling for freedom, using as its anchor Friedrich Schiller’s poem of that name when music alone would not suffice

The program closed with the entire Rotary audience, using the language of “la, la, la”, singing the tune all seemed to know, accompanied by the four instruments.

For further information, please use this link about the symphony and the poem by Schiller:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ode_to_Joy.