Ode to Joy

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Ode to Joy 
by Friedrich Schiller
Schiller an die freude manuskript 2.jpg
Autographed manuscript, circa 1785
Original title An die Freude
Written 1785
Country Germany
Language German
Form Ode
Publisher Thalia
Publication date 1786, 1808

"Ode to Joy" (German: "An die Freude" [an diː ˈfʁɔʏdə]), 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.

"Ode to Joy" is best known for its use by Ludwig van Beethoven in the final (fourth) movement of his Ninth Symphony, completed in 1824. Beethoven's text is not based entirely on Schiller's poem, and introduces a few new sections. His tune[1] (but not Schiller's words) was adopted as the Anthem of Europe by the Council of Europe in 1972 and subsequently by the European Union.

The poem[edit]

Schillerhaus (de) in Gohlis

Schiller wrote the first version of the poem when he was staying in Gohlis, Leipzig. In the year 1785 from the beginning of May till mid September, he stayed with his publisher Georg Joachim Göschen in Leipzig and wrote "An die Freude" along with his play Don Carlos.[2]

Schiller later made some revisions to the poem which was then republished posthumously in 1808, and it was this latter version that forms the basis for Beethoven's setting. Despite the lasting popularity of the ode, Schiller himself regarded it as a failure later in his life, going so far as to call 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).[3]

Lyrics[edit]

"An die Freude" "Ode to Joy"

Freude, schöner Götterfunken,
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!
Deine Zauber binden wieder
Was die Mode streng geteilt*;
Alle Menschen werden Brüder*
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.

Wem der große Wurf gelungen
Eines Freundes Freund zu sein;
Wer ein holdes Weib errungen
Mische seinen Jubel ein!
Ja, wer auch nur eine Seele
Sein nennt auf dem Erdenrund!
Und wer's nie gekonnt, der stehle
Weinend sich aus diesem Bund!

Freude trinken alle Wesen
An den Brüsten der Natur;
Alle Guten, alle Bösen
Folgen ihrer Rosenspur.
Küsse gab sie uns und Reben,
Einen Freund, geprüft im Tod;
Wollust ward dem Wurm gegeben
und der Cherub steht vor Gott.

Froh, wie seine Sonnen fliegen
Durch des Himmels prächt'gen Plan
Laufet, Brüder, eure Bahn,
Freudig, wie ein Held zum siegen.

Seid umschlungen, Millionen!
Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt!
Brüder, über'm Sternenzelt
Muß ein lieber Vater wohnen.
Ihr stürzt nieder, Millionen?
Ahnest du den Schöpfer, Welt?
Such' ihn über'm Sternenzelt!
Über Sternen muß er wohnen.

Joy, beautiful spark of Divinity,
Daughter from Elysium,
We enter, drunk with fire,
Heavenly One, thy sanctuary!
Your magic binds again
What convention strictly divides;*
All people become brothers,*
Where your gentle wing abides.

Who has succeeded in the great attempt,
To be a friend's friend,
Whoever has won a lovely woman,
Add his to the jubilation!
Indeed, who calls even one soul
Theirs upon this world!
And whoever never managed, shall steal himself
Weeping away from this union!

All creatures drink of joy
At nature's breast.
Just and unjust
Alike taste of her gift;
She gave us kisses and the fruit of the vine,
A tried friend to the end.
[Even] the worm has been granted sensuality,
And the cherub stands before God!

Gladly, as His heavenly bodies fly
On their courses through the heavens,
Thus, brothers, you should run your race,
Joyful, like a hero going to conquest.

You millions, be embraced.
This kiss is for all the world!
Brothers, above the starry canopy
There must dwell a loving Father.
Do you fall in worship, you millions?
World, do you know your creator?
Seek him in the heavens
Above the stars must He dwell.

Revisions[edit]

The lines marked with * have been revised as follows:

Original Revised Translation of original Translation of revision Comment
was der Mode Schwerd geteilt Was die Mode streng geteilt what the sword of custom divided What custom strictly divided The original meaning of Mode was "custom, contemporary taste".[4]
Bettler werden Fürstenbrüder Alle Menschen werden Brüder beggars become brothers of princes All people become brothers

Ode to Freedom[edit]

Academic speculation remains as to whether Schiller originally wrote an Ode to Freedom (Ode an die Freiheit) and changed it to an Ode to Joy.[5][6] "... [T]he thought lies near that it was the early form of the poem, when it was still an 'Ode to Freedom' (not 'to Joy'), which first aroused enthusiastic admiration for it in Beethoven's mind".[7]

Use of Beethoven's setting[edit]

The ode to joy has been used as the anthem of Europe.

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 (Number Nine) concerts in Japan every December and one after the 2011 tsunami.[8] It has recently inspired impromptu performances at public spaces by musicians in many countries worldwide, including Choir Without Borders's 2009 performance at a railway station[9] in Leipzig, to mark the 20th and 25th 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.[10] A 2013 documentary, Following the Ninth, directed by Kerry Candaele, follows its continuing popularity.[8][11] It was played after Emmanuel Macron's victory in the 2017 French Presidential elections, when Macron gave his victory speech at the Louvre.[12] Pianist Igor Levit played the piece at the Royal Albert Hall during the 2017 Proms.[13]

The song's Christian context was one of the main reasons for Nichiren Shōshū Buddhism to excommunicate the Soka Gakkai organization for their use of the hymn at their meetings.[14]

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. ^ History of the Schiller House
  3. ^ The German text can be found at http://www.wissen-im-netz.info/literatur/schiller/briefe/koerner/1800/571.htm
  4. ^ Duden – Das Herkunftswörterbuch. Mannheim: Bibliographisches Institut. 1963. p. 446. ISBN 3-411-00907-1.  The word was derived via French from ultimately Latin wikt:modus. Duden cites as first meanings "Brauch, Sitte, Tages-, Zeitgeschmack". The primary modern meaning has shifted more towards "fashion".
  5. ^ W. Kubacki, "Das Werk Juliusz Slowackis und seine Bedeutung für die polnische Literatur", Zeitschrift für Slawistik, Volume 5, Issue 1 (Jan 1960)
  6. ^ Das "Alle Menschen werden Brüder", das Schiller in seiner Ode an die Freude (eigentlich Ode an die Freiheit) formuliert,... - Alexander Görlach, "Der Glaube an die Freiheit", Debatte, 4 August 2010
  7. ^ Thayer, A. W.(1817-97), rev and ed. Elliot Forbes. Thayer's Life of Beethoven. (2 vols. 1967,1991) Princeton: Princeton University Press. p. 895.
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ Video of a "flash mob" – "Ode to Joy" sung at Leipzig railway station (8 November 2009) on YouTube
  10. ^ Megan Garber (9 July 2012). "Ode to Joy: 50 String Instruments That Will Melt Your Heart". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2014-09-28. 
  11. ^ "Beethoven's Flash Mobs". billmoyers.com. November 14, 2013. 
  12. ^ Nougayrède, Natalie (8 May 2017). "Macron's victory march to Europe's anthem said more than words". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 July 2017. 
  13. ^ "EU anthem played at Proms' first night". BBC News. BBC. 14 July 2017. Retrieved 16 July 2017. 
  14. ^ Excommunication, daisakuikeda.org (undated)
  15. ^ Otto Erich Deutsch et al. Schubert Thematic Catalogue, German edition 1978 (Bärenreiter), pp. 128–129

External links[edit]