Ode to Joy
"Ode to Joy" (German: "Ode an die Freude", first line: "Freude, schöner Götterfunken") is an ode written in 1785 by the German poet, playwright and historian Friedrich Schiller, enthusiastically celebrating the brotherhood and unity of all mankind. 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."
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 Stanley Kubrick's 1971 film A Clockwork Orange and in the Die Hard film franchise, 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.
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
- Victoria Poleva (2009), for soprano, mixed choir and symphony orchestra