The Perfection of Joy in Beethoven’s Ninth

Beethoven Documentary ARTE TV. Music Press Asia

Beethoven is a name we all know well today.

As a composer in the late 18th century, Beethoven was already making headlines. And one of his profound creative work was composing Symphony No. 9; a four-movement symphony that continues to be heard in philharmonic halls all over the world.

Today marks the 200th anniversary since Beethoven’s ninth symphony was first performed.

With its famous chorale finale based on Schiller’s poem “An die Freude”(Ode to Joy), this monumental work of art is today one of the symbols of European unity. But how was this symphony created? And how has its message been interpreted and reinterpreted over the years?

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ARTE’s recent documentary directed by Carmen Traudes seek to answer these questions. In this 81-minute film, we see Beethoven’s music used by both sides during World War I.

The film begins with a brief introduction to the very Symphony this documentary film is focused on. From delightful molto vivace movement to unleashing the very ‘Ode to Joy’ theme that continues to span the creative lives of our music makers today.

Not only has the Ode to Joy theme rearranged and made the Anthem of Europe, it is now universally known to represent democracy, freedom and humanity. It is not a political symphony, but one that calls for brotherhood — also known as the Symphony of Freedom & Fraternity.

Beethoven Documentary 200 Years of Ninth. Music Press Asia
[The documentary film ‘The Power of Music – 200 Years of Beethoven’s Ninth’ is now available on ARTE.TV. Music Press Asia]

Ann-Katrin Zimmermann from Gewandhaus zu Leipzig said: “Music has a tendency towards transcendence and metaphysics because it can sensualize things that cannot be grasped in any other way…”

Monica Tong, Music Press Asia’s editor-in-chief reviews the documentary released by ARTE, titled The Power of Music – 200 Years of Beethoven’s Ninth, commented: “Truly remarkable! ARTE’s documentary on Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 showcased the tremendous shift Beethoven’s Ninth has represented culturally over the last two hundred years. We are, of course, talking about a hit song that lasted 200 years and is still significant in its adaptation to modern world twenty-first century pop culture.”

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“The documentary brings to life (again) the very element that spurs all music creators today. While we continue to see music being generated by artificial intelligence today, it is not easy to forget that music is joy, is brotherhood, is peace.”

Find out in arte’s documentary The Power of Music – 200 Years of Beethoven’s Ninth, here.

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