If ever you need inspiration to believe in what may seem impossible, turn up your speakers, close your eyes and basque in the glory of the miracle that was and remains Ludwig van Beethoven (December 16, 1770 – March 26, 1827).
It is believed at the time Beethoven completed this massive work, he was isolated from most human contact due to his complete deafness. He had not performed in 12 years and finally was able to conduct and perform his miraculous creation. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Ode to Joy, was performed for the first time on May 7th, 1824, 30 years after his initial idea for the composition.
Alle menschen werden bruder. All men become brothers: the inspiring words Beethoven added to the Fredrich Schiller poem entitled To Joy, the catalytic poem behind Beethoven’s transcendental work.
Consider the English translation of the lyrics Beethoven created (part Beethoven, part Schiller) for the Symphony’s choral portion in the 4th movement.
O friends, no more these sounds!Let us sing more cheerful songs,More full of joy!
Joy, bright spark of divinity,Daughter of Elysium, Fire-inspired we tread Thy sanctuary.Thy magic power re-unites All that custom has divided, All men become brothers, Under the sway of thy gentle wings.
Whoever has created An abiding friendship, Or has won A true and loving wife, All who can call at least one soul theirs, Join our song of praise; But those who cannot must creep tearfully Away from our circle.
All creatures drink of joy At natures breast. Just and unjust Alike taste of her gift; She gave us kisses and the fruit of the vine, A tried friend to the end. Even the worm can feel contentment, And the cherub stands before God!
Gladly, like the heavenly bodies Which He sent on their courses Through the splendor of the firmament; Thus, brothers, you should run your race, like a hero going to victory!
You millions, I embrace you. This kiss is for all the world! Brothers, above the starry canopy There must dwell a loving father.
Do you fall in worship, you millions? World, do you know your creator? Seek Him in the heavens; Above the stars must he dwell.
3 thoughts on “Happiness Ray #1 – Ode to Joy”
Here, for the one millionth time, you have brought radiance and tenderness and warmth to my life. Grace and peace and love to Becky. Always.
Magnificent! If this is the first Happiness Ray I can’t wait to see the next one. The standard has been set. Absolutely beautiful… What Joy! Thank you!
Found this by Twyla Tharp this morning, thought it interesting:
Beethoven, despite his unruly reputation and wild romantic image, was well-organized. He saved everything in a series of notebooks that were organized according to the level of development of the idea. He had notebooks for rough ideas, notebooks for improvements on those ideas, and notebooks for finished ideas, almost as if he was pre-aware of an idea’s early, middle, and late stages.