Symphony No. 9 in D Minor “Choral” Op. 125 (1824)
Santa Cruz Symphony directed by Daniel Stewart
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)
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Program Notes by Don Adkins
Symphony No. 9 was Beethoven's last completed symphony, written when the musical giant was profoundly deaf, only three years before his death. Originally commissioned by the London Philharmonic in 1817, it was among the earliest examples of a choral symphony.
Written in four movements, the symphony begins quietly and culminates in a dramatic finale featuring four soloists and a full symphonic chorus. The final movement is set to the text of Friedrich Schiller's poem "An die Freude," or "Ode to Joy," a paean to enlightenment. Both the music and the words represent a tribute to universal brotherhood and to the triumph of peace - providing a profound counter-narrative to the unrest and conflict in the world today.