Talk:Symphony No. 9 (Beethoven)

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First substantial example of a major composer using the human voice on a par with instruments in a symphony.[edit]

Does not Beethoven's Fantasia for Piano, Chorus and Orchestra qualify here instead? Rsduhamel 23:45, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Nope, not a symphony. Opus33 00:08, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)
  • Okay, I'll stand corrected. I was reading it as "instruments as used in a symphony" Rsduhamel 18:48, 13 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Key of 4th Movement[edit]

The key of the 4th movement is not mentioned. Please put it in! Otherwise really excellent article!

The work is the longest of all classical symphonies[edit]

Is this classical as in classical music or as in classical era (and is not the 9th more romantic than classical)? If classical means classical music then Mahler's 3rd symphony, at 95 minutes, would qualify as the longest. Rsduhamel 23:45, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)

If we're talking classical = the totality of "serious" art music, then Havergal Brian's 1st symphony qualifies as both longest and largest! The 9th certainly is the largest if we confine the discussion to the classical era, though I personally view it as a transitional work, classical in form but romantic in broad outlook. Phi1ip 06:55, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Fixed, for me at least, by changing "classical" to Classical. If, however, everybody thinks this is a Romantic work, then we need a more serious repair.
Debates among Wikipedia editors over what is "classical" vs. what is "Romantic" have proven remarkably unedifying, and I don't want to start one here! Maybe the whole sentence should just go...
(However, my own opinion, for what it's worth, is that 9th is utterly Classical--Beethoven's belated reply to The Creation. It's universes apart from Chopin and Wagner.)
Cheers, Opus33 00:08, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)
  • Wouldn't want to start an arguement over what is classical or romantic, I was just going by some of the arguements I've heard. Rsduhamel 18:59, 13 Oct 2004 (UTC)
(I later hopefully resolved this issue by revising to "one of the longest") Opus33 16:14, 25 Oct 2004 (UTC)
The link to the OGG file does not work. Bring it to the page itself. Thank you

Vienna Circle in Beethoven's Times?[edit]

Discussing the premier of the piece, we find:

"Beethoven was eager to get his work played in Vienna as fast as possible when he finished writing. He was equivocal, however, thinking also that the musical taste in Vienna was stricken by Italian composers such as Rossini. When his friends and financiers heard this they urged him to premiere the symphony in Vienna. (In Vienna, there was an learning group called the Vienna circle.)"

The line about the Vienna Circle troubles me. First, it seems irrelevant to the premier. And second, the Vienna Circle, the philosophical study group that famously rejected metaphysics, didn't exist in Beethoven's times -- that came in the early 20th century. What Vienna Circle is being referred to here?

Manuscript of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in UNESCO's Memory of the World Register[edit] Perhaps this decision by the UNESCO regarding the Ninth Symphony is something important to add on this page. - Spartan

Additions to section "Performing the symphony"[edit]

Have any of you thought about updating this section? It leaves out the scholarship undertaken by Jonathan del Mar on the presumed misinterpretation of Beethoven's metronome markings. Apparently, Beethoven's nephew Karl entered the metronome value of the Trio in the Scherzo and the Turkish march section in the finale in slower note values. This correction can be observed on the Mackerras, Zinman, JEG and Abbado renditions of the work.

"One of the most performed symphonies in the world"[edit]

The article currently states "In the 2010s, it stands as one of the most performed symphonies in the world", without any source given. But according to a statistic from for 2016 ("Top 10 works" at the bottom of the page), it didn't make the top 6 of symphonies and not even the top 4 of Beethoven's symphonies performed in 2016. But maybe I am misinterpreting the phrase "most performed"? What do others read into "most performed"? Top 10? Top 20? I read something like top 3 to top 5, in which case the claim is (currently) false, according to that specific source. --Jhertel (talk) 11:25, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

@Michael Bednarek: 1) You reversed my edit where I added "citation missing" and you inserted a reference at the same time; I would like if another time you would just replace the "citation missing" text, which was correct, with the reference, without reverting anything. Reverting has a negative connotation, like saying that the edit was wrong, which it really wasn't. In effect you just further improved on my positive and correct edit; no need to use revert to simply make further improvements on an article. It doesn't matter that the final result was the same; what matters is the message that is being sent to the person making a positive and constructive change.
2) About the reference you inserted: It is to an unsourced remark in a newspaper article. I believe that actual statistics as the one mentioned above (which you probably didn't see until now) should override such an unsourced remark (the journalist does not state a source). The journalist might even have the claim from the unsourced Wikipedia statement, in which case it would be cyclic, or from hear-saying, in both cases sustaining a myth. If the current reference is to stay, the text in the article should rather say "Some believe the symphony is one of the most performed symphonies in the world", as that is really all that can be deducted from the specific reference. But I suggest removing the statement altogether, due to the statistics, or making it more precise (stating what "top X" of symphony performances it belongs to and finding a statistical source for that). --Jhertel (talk) 14:02, 20 November 2017 (UTC)
"One of the most performed symphonies in the world" is a vague statement. Consequently, sources can be found to support it. Statistics can only tabulate data that has been entered. The BachTrack statistics are based on performances listed there. I checked Alondra de la Parra's concerts this month (Cologne, Dortmund, Brisbane); none are listed there. They have no listings for the Queensland Symphony Orchestra at all; searching for them returns 2 events with the Australian Chamber Orchestra instead. So their results are flawed. The Boston Symphony Orchestra published what they counted from the 89 largest symphony orchestras in the US (how did they determine "largest"?). Their results show the Ninth as the second-most performed symphony, after Eroica. Given these vagaries, I think such a vague statement will always find supporting sources, both in statistics (it's just a matter of what is counted), and in opinion/judgement/assessment by reputable sources. Is it worth having it in the lead? It's been in the article since late 2012, and hasn't raised any concerns so far. I think many Wikipedia articles, especially in classical music, are being drained of expressive statements which might help those not overly familiar with the subject in forming a view about a work. Cheers, Michael Bednarek (talk) 15:36, 20 November 2017 (UTC)
First of all, I don't quite understand your last statement: "I think many Wikipedia articles, especially in classical music, are being drained of expressive statements which might help those not overly familiar with the subject in forming a view about a work." I'm not sure I get your point. Do you want unsupported statements that might be simple myths to stay, so that people can "form a view" about a work? In that case: 1) If their views on a subject should build on myths, that view doesn't seem to have much value. 2) In my opinion, views should be formed from actual facts and not just what others happen to believe is true. If they want to form an opinion, they should listen to the music and/or read actual facts about it.
Secondly, while I am well aware that the source I found is flawed, like any source is to varying degrees, the sources you found are at least as flawed. One of them only listed the US, which is very far from "the world" (it accounts for only 4 % of the world population and as such has close to no importance at all on a world scale). So, from what you said, the conclusion is that there really isn't any statistics we are aware of that say anything about how often played symphonies are in the world. Therefore, we cannot really say anything about it. And therefore, being Wikipedia, we shouldn't.
Thirdly, that the statement hasn't been challenged could be because nobody bothered to challenge it and just accepted it. Or that they simply didn't care. Or took at at face value. But that is not enough reason for Wikipedia to claim it is true. Personally, I believe it could simply be a myth that nobody ever bothered to actually look into. And myths don't belong on Wikipedia, unless we present them as such and that they are important for some reason. In this case: "Some people believe that it is one of the most performed symphonies in the world, but there is no statistics that can confirm that." But I'm not sure that the importance of this apparent myth really warrants a mention at all.
Should anything like the given statement be mentioned, it should be in the form of a verifiable fact, maybe limited to a specific country for which factual and complete information is actually available, or by stating a claim that is closer to a verifiable fact, such as "Ken Glickman and the Great Falls Symphony Association believe it to be one of the most performed symphonies in the world". --Jhertel (talk) 00:02, 21 November 2017 (UTC)
Bottom line: do you really think that "one of the most performed symphonies in the world" is not true? (And don't lawyer me with verifiability, not truth.) -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 15:03, 21 November 2017 (UTC)
(watching:) actually, I doubt that it's true, because you need soloists and a choir, and all sopranos have to be able to sing notes that Beethoven composed as bright, but couldn't hear himself where the border to shrill is ;) - I bet looking at sheer numbers, his Fifth is performed more often. Ninth is the chosen piece for high celebrations, - could we word something like that? Fall of the Wall. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 15:39, 21 November 2017 (UTC)
@Gerda Arendt: Thank you for your positive attempt at finding a solution. :-) I still believe that if we do state something that expresses a quantitative measurement (such as "one of the most played"), actual statistics should be behind such a statement. I wouldn't disagree that much, though, about a statement such as "The Ninth Symphony is often used for high celebrations" or something like that, although I would still feel some sources should back it up, and as a matter of principle I would still not like it. My suggestion is still to remove quantitative claims where statistics cannot be found, or limit them to "Some believe that …", with appropriate references to examples of those beliefs. --Jhertel (talk) 15:48, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
@Michael Bednarek: What I personally think is irrelevant and has nothing to do with what the article should state. That's the point. Using personal belief is how myths are created and sustained. But Wikipedia is about facts, not beliefs – unless we state them as beliefs. And facts and beliefs can very easily differ a lot; a simple example is how 1/4 of Americans believe the Sun revolves around the Earth.[1] And remember, we are talking about the world here; how many really travel all over the world all of the time, knowing about all concerts played in China, India, the entire continent of Africa, etc., and last and least Europe and America (only 10% and 4% of the world population live there, respectively)? I am directly trying to challenge what to me looks like a myth with no statistics backing it up.
The other thing is, what does "one of the most performed symphonies in the world" actually mean? We should be more clear in our language, otherwise people will put many different interpretations into it. I already discussed that above.
And lastly, if you refer to something I did that you did not like, then be more precise. What exactly did I say that you disagree with or find to be "lawyering"? I will not spend time trying to figure out what you meant. Be precise. --Jhertel (talk) 15:48, 25 November 2017 (UTC)

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  1. ^ Neuman, Scott. "1 In 4 Americans Thinks The Sun Goes Around The Earth, Survey Says". NPR. Retrieved 25 November 2017.