Sunday, May 26, 2024

Beethoven’s Ode to Joy

Written By Gauhar Iqbal (Grade 6)


“Ode to Joy” was created in the summer of 1785 by the German poet Friedrich Schiller. It was first published in 1786 in the magazine Thalia and later released with a slightly revised version in 1808.

Ludwig van Beethoven was inspired by Schiller’s work and used the text in the final movement of his ninth symphony, completed in 1824. This symphony was the first major symphony to include the human voice alongside traditional orchestral instruments. Beethoven’s work was not entirely based on Schiller’s original poem; he made changes and introduced new sections to the symphony.


“Ode to Joy” signifies the universal brotherhood and unity of mankind, which inspired social and political movements. Since the year 1985, “Ode to Joy” has been used as the anthem of the European Union, representing the heritage of the member states. Ludwig van Beethoven has influenced far beyond his compositions, touching the lives of all. The ninth symphony “Ode to Joy” melody has achieved worldwide recognition and is often performed at significant events and celebrations. “Ode to Joy” continues to unite people across the globe, breaking cultural and linguistic barriers with its passionate, emotional, and powerful music. The music lingers in your mind long after listening.


Beethoven is an inspiration for me, as he too was inspired by another great Mozart. This tells us that it is okay to be inspired by someone or to create something new by ourselves. He was an obedient student of Christian Gottlob Neefe, making us understand that following the instructions of teachers is an important part of the journey, and they help us immensely in our growth. He started getting affected by deafness in his 20s, but that did not stop him from composing music. Here we have one of the world’s most popular symphonies, created by someone who was deaf. I find it as God’s reiterating that nothing is impossible, inspiring me that in dire straits, Beethoven’s fighting spirit never waned. He was unaffected in his work, taking inspiration from his surroundings and incorporating them into his music. What I understand from Beethoven’s life and works is that even if we face obstacles, we must strive on! However, his life was a remarkable tale of resilience and creativity. Beethoven’s fighting spirit left behind a legacy of music, displaying human endurance and artistic expression. His story inspires us, telling us that, in the face of physical or personal hardships, nothing can stop us from achieving our goals. In adversity lies great opportunity.

Featured Image Courtesy – The Smith Center


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