What Comes Before Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’?
Manfred honk One of today’s leading Beethoven conductors. As music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, he has composed a particularly exciting recording The third, Fifth And Seventh Symphony. Now he and the orchestra, which were established 125 years ago this month, are releasing His explanation of the powerful ninth.
What makes Hopeck’s approach so provocative in this most standard of performances is that it revives each bar of music. He took David Allen through the turbulent opening minutes of the ninth symphony’s finale – before the baritone “O Frende, down dice tune!” (“Oh guys, that’s not a voice!”) And announces the famous choral “Odd to Joy”. These are edited excerpts, along with audio excerpts from the new album, on reference recordings.
When we are listening to the fourth movement, we should not forget the three movements that we have heard before. Beethoven first illustrates the art of persuasive technique by using a small, atomic element in the movement and developing it. The second movement is not a slow movement, which was common at the time: it is a scholar, a ruthless scholar. Then they have this very beautiful slow tempo, with a singing melody, intimate phrase and silence.
And then timpani and trumpet come to start the fourth movement:
It shows chaos, discomfort; It is like a blast. Beethoven could immediately introduce solo and choral voices, but he wanted to tell a story in the first instruments. We know that he always fought for the ideals of the French Revolution. I’m sure he wanted to tell us here, “Listen, not everything in our world is beautiful.” Is this war Is this another type of conflict? Whatever it is, everything that destroys our soul is here in some way.
It should be as inconsistent as possible, and it is As disagreeable as possible. This is a “Presto” – very quickly – evident. And Beethoven starts not on the downbeat, but on the third beat; He starts with a rhythm, something that brings turbulence to a rhythm. He wanted it to be uneven. The slow movement had a happy ending, and then it needed to startle people. This is frustration; This is unrest; This is a riot.
For me, what Baritone sings later follows more important instruments. “Speaking” with instruments is very unusual for a symphony, but in opera it happens all the time, there are such sung-passage passages.
Beethoven uses cello and bass like a song without words, a recursive one without words. There is no text, of course, so you have to consider the words yourself. For the first and the last of these, it is easy to find out, since the words for the same notes are sung by the baritone later. I believe this is Beethoven himself speaking in the “voice” of these cellos and basses, but it could be anyone who is asking for more humanity.
So the orchestral riot ends, then the score has three rests. But if you hear a riot, you want to stop it; You go out and say, “Please don’t do this!” That is why I stop resting. I wanted Cellos and Bass to “speak” immediately, as if they were saying, “Hey Freinde, die down!” You have anarchy, and then someone bursts in and says: “Don’t do this! We’re looking for something else!”
But our rioters don’t care; It does not work. They shoot back, “Okay, what do you want?”
In the second recap, the “speaker” – our cellos and bass again – wants to teach them. “You must fight for an ideal,” he suggests. But what is the option of rioters? The first option they have is to echo the first movement, which shows chaos in a different way. It is only small motifs; It is not melody; It is nothing.
In Beethoven’s drawings, he writes that the “speaker” now says, “No, what I ask is more pleasant.” This speaker is still troubled, but this time he also brings in other emotional elements, a bit like a father. Finally, you have “nicht diese Töne” again – now in pianissimo, a heavenly sound.
So the crowd starts dancing, provoking scholars of other movement …
… but our “speaker” says two notes, “Nicot doc!”: “No, no!”
Then we can suggest to the speaker that he wants something more about beauty, love and freedom. It recalls Beethoven’s opera “Fidelio”, in which Floreston is imprisoned and dares Leonor to fight for his freedom, for love. Hence the instrumental crowd now tries a third movement. It is only twice, but when Beethoven writes “Dolce” direction – Sweet – It develops a human emotion. We all want love, and peace, and freedom.
And then the speaker’s response is very clear, as if he is saying: “I understand you, but don’t be sad, don’t be emotional.” Let’s stand up! Let us sing some more joyous songs. “In his sketches, Beethoven notes that the speaker may say,” I’ll sing it for you. “
Then of course comes the famous raga – but only for four times. I decided to do a crescent here, because it should sound like we’ve found what we were looking for, that we can go now.
Earlier, the speaker had said, “Nicot doc!”: “No, no!” Now he has “Ja, Ja!”: “Yes, yes!” And the music goes into a very lively and blissful dance, as if to say, “We’ve just got it.”
Beethoven could then immediately begin the “Odd to Joy” raga with the Full Orchestra, but it is the speaker himself who initiates – cellos and basses.
What makes Beethoven so special is that everything has a purpose. The melody begins at the piano, creating a long journey to full, blissful lyrics. It is as if one person starts singing something, then more people join, then a second, then a third – then everyone.