Ode to Joy
Ode to Joy (or Hymn to Joy) is the English translation of the German song "Ode an die Freude" composed by the poet Friedrich Schiller in 1785. The hymn is best known for its musical setting by Ludwig van Beethoven in the final movement of his Ninth Symphony, for four solo voices, chorus, and orchestra. The hymn was adopted as the Anthem of Europe by the Council of Europe in 1972, and subsequently the European Union.
Freude schöner Götterfunken
Joy, bright spark of divinity,
"Ode to Joy" (German: "Ode an die Freude", first line: "Freude, schöner Götterfunken"), also called Hymn to Joy, is an ode written in 1785 by German poet, playwright and historian, Friedrich Schiller, who was enthusiastically celebrating the brotherhood and unity of all mankind. Schiller later made some small revisions to the poem when it was republished, and it was this latter version that forms the basis for Beethoven's famous setting. Despite the lasting popularity of the ode, Schiller himself regarded it as a failure later in his life, going so far as calling it "detached from reality" and "of value maybe for us two, but not for the world, nor for the art of poetry" in a letter to his long-time friend and patron Körner (whose friendship had originally inspired him to write the ode) that he wrote in the year 1800.
To the extent the foregoing account is true, it may be due to Schiller's having changed a key word out of fear. "Leonard Bernstein reminded his audiences, the poem was originally an 'Ode to Freedom' and the word 'Joy' (Freude instead of Freiheit, added to the third pillar, Freundschaft) came as a substitute for the more overtly political theme." However, despite widespread belief in this motive, there is no definite historical evidence or direct documentation of this particular change in the poem.
Musical setting to Symphony 9 (Beethoven)
The ode is best known for its musical setting by Ludwig van Beethoven in the final movement of his Ninth Symphony (completed in 1824), a choral symphony for orchestra, four solo voices and choir. There are also many other musical settings, both before and after Beethoven's, of part or all of the poem (see below).
Other versions and uses
The Beethoven setting was adopted as the Anthem of Europe by the Council of Europe in 1972 and the then European Community—since 1993 the European Union—in 1985; the tune was used for the national anthem of Rhodesia. It has been used in a number of other contexts: notably in The Beatles second film, HELP!, Stanley Kubrick's 1971 film A Clockwork Orange and in the Die Hard film franchise, as well as the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion and subsequent remake, Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo. In 1996, it became the theme song for Triple H in the World Wrestling Federation until early 1998. It is the basic melody for the hymn "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee" as well as for the songs "A Song of Joy" by Miguel Ríos, and "Road to Joy" by Bright Eyes. Since 2005 it is the Copa Libertadores official anthem. A version of the song was used as the Everybody Loves Raymond theme song. Recently, it is also used in the game Peggle. It is also used as a closing theme for both the Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics television broadcasts on many networks also classical radio station KUSC uses it and the official sign off for their pledge drive fundraising.
Other musical settings
Other musical settings of the poem include:
- Christian Gottfried Körner (1786)
- Carl Friedrich Zelter (1792), for choir and accompaniment, later rewritten for different instrumentations.
- Johann Friedrich Reichardt (1796)
- Ludwig-Wilhelm Tepper de Ferguson (1796)
- Johann Friedrich Hugo von Dalberg (1799)
- Johann Rudolf Zumsteeg (1803)
- Franz Schubert's song "An die Freude" D 189 (1815), for voice and piano
- Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1865), for solo singers, choir and orchestra in a Russian translation
- Pietro Mascagni cantata "Alla gioia" (1882), Italian text by Andrea Maffei
- "Seid umschlungen, Millionen!" (1892), waltz by Johann Strauss II
- Z. Randall Stroope (2002), for choir and four-hand piano
- Joyful, Joyful, we adore thee - The English version of this song
- Victoria Poleva (2009), for soprano, mixed choir and symphony orchestra
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