By the time the Ninth Symphony premiered in Vienna in 1824, Beethoven was almost completely deaf. Nevertheless, he insisted on conducting the orchestra himself.
He continued conducting even when the piece had ended because he could not hear that the orchestra had stopped playing. One of the sopranos tugged at his sleeve so that he would turn around to face the audience, Â an audience erupted into celebrationÂ which he could not hear. He left the hall with tears in his eyes, powerfully moved.
The finale of his magnificent Ninth Symphony is based on a poem written by the German poet Friedrich von Schiller, with words and music that yearn for peace, joy, and the brotherhood of man.
Like Beethoven, we have lived through enormous social and political upheaval: world conflicts, the rise and collapse of nations, and devastating political oppression around the world. We have also seen hopeful changes, such as the creation of the United Nations as the principal international organization committed to building peace and global security.
In Beethovenâ€™s time, as in ours, the arts have been a voice to rail against political oppression and to make us aware of the plight of those in the greatest need. All the world over, ordinary men, women, and children have been moved to action through music. Â And Beethovenâ€™s Ninth Symphony rang out at the Tiananmen Square protest in 1989 and at the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1990.
Find out more about Beethoven and his 9th Symphony below…
>Â Classic FM’s Fast &Â Friendly Guide to Beethoven
>Â Japan &Â Beethoven Ninth Symphony
<Â Seoul Philharmonic OrchestraÂ &Â Beethoven Ninth Symphony
<Â Hong Kong Festival OrchestraÂ &Â Beethoven Ninth Symphony
â€œDonâ€™t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine.â€
â€• Ludwig van Beethoven