Ode to Joy

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This article is about Schiller's poem. For other uses, see Ode to Joy (disambiguation).
Autograph manuscript

"Ode to Joy" (German: "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 an 1800 letter to his long-time friend and patron Christian Gottfried Körner (whose friendship had originally inspired him to write the ode).[2]

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."[3][dubious ]

Beethoven's musical setting[edit]

Beethoven house (1821-1823) at the Rathausgasse 10, Baden bei Wien in Austria, where he wrote the Missa Solemnis and completed the 9th symphony "Ode to Joy"

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.

Uses as a theme song[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.[4] 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.

In popular culture[edit]

Over the years, Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" has remained a protest anthem and a celebration of music. From demonstrators in Chile singing during demonstration against the Pinochet dictatorship, Chinese student broadcast at Tiananmen Square, the concert conducted by Leonard Bernstein after the fall of the Berlin Wall and Daiku concerts in Japan every December and one after the 2011 tsunami.[5] It has recently inspired flashmob performances at public spaces by musicians in many countries worldwide, including Choir Without Borders's 2009 performance at a train station in Leipzig, Germany, to mark the 20th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Hong Kong Festival Orchestra's 2013 performance at a Hong Kong mall, and performance in Sabadell, Spain.[6] A 2013 documentary, Following the Ninth, directed by Kerry Candaele, follows its continuing popularity.[7][5]

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. ^ The German text can be found at http://www.wissen-im-netz.info/literatur/schiller/briefe/koerner/1800/571.htm
  3. ^ Scott Horton, "Schiller – Freedom's Hymn", Harper's Magazine, 9 November 2008.
  4. ^ "Intro Copa Santander Libertadores 2010". CONMEBOL. April 26, 2010. Retrieved June 5, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Daniel M. Gold (October 31, 2013). "The Ode Heard Round the World: Following the Ninth Explores Beethoven's Legacy". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 Sep 2014. 
  6. ^ Megan Garber (9 July 2012). "Ode to Joy: 50 String Instruments That Will Melt Your Heart". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2014-09-28. 
  7. ^ "Beethoven's Flash Mobs". Bill Moyers. November 14, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Ode to Joy – sung at Royal Albert hall (London)". British Christian Music Programme. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 

External links[edit]