Ode to Joy

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Autograph manuscript

"Ode to Joy" (German: "Ode an die Freude", first line: "Freude, schöner Götterfunken") is an ode written in the summer of 1785 by German poet, playwright and historian, Friedrich Schiller and published the following year in Thalia. A slightly revised version appeared in 1808, changing two lines of the first and omitting the last stanza.

It is best known for its use by Ludwig van Beethoven in the final movement of his Ninth Symphony, which does not set the entire poem and reorders some sections (Beethoven's text is given in that article). Beethoven's tune[1] (but not Schiller's words) was adopted as the Anthem of Europe by the Council of Europe in 1972, and subsequently the European Union.

The poem[edit]

The Schillerhäuschen (de), the cabin (now a museum) on the outskirts of Dresden where Schiller wrote the Ode to Joy.

Friedrich Schiller, who was enthusiastically celebrating the brotherhood and unity of all mankind, later made some small revisions to the poem when it was republished in 1803[citation needed], 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 1800 letter to his long-time friend and patron Körner (whose friendship had originally inspired him to write the ode).[citation needed]

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."[2][dubious ]

Musical setting to Symphony 9 (Beethoven)[edit]

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[edit]

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.[citation needed] 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[edit]

Other musical settings of the poem include:

References[edit]

  1. ^ The usual name of the Hymn tune is HYMN TO JOY "Hymnary – Hymn to Joy". Retrieved 11 October 2013. 
  2. ^ Scott Horton, "Schiller – Freedom's Hymn", Harper's Magazine, 9 November 2008.
  3. ^ "Ode to Joy – sung at Royal Albert hall (London)". British Christian Music Programme. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 

External links[edit]