Welcome to the TAN, the infamous Thread About Nothing, Ode To Joy edition. The Ode To Joy is the choral movement in Beethoven's last symphony, Symphony #9. Par for the course for Beethoven, it was groundbreaking, for the first time incorporating a choral movement in a symphony. Tradition has it that the premiere performance of the work was Beethoven's last public appearance.
Beethoven directed the piece himself; that is, he stood before the lectern and gesticulated furiously. He was turning the pages of his score and beating time for an orchestra he could not hear. At times he rose, at other times he shrank to the ground, he moved as if he wanted to play all the instruments himself and sing for the whole chorus. All the musicians paid his rhythm no mind while playing.
When the symphony ended and the audience applauded, Beethoven was several measures off and still conducting. Because of that, the contralto Caroline Unger walked over and turned Beethoven around to accept the audience's cheers and applause. The audience, part in sympathy and part in raucous approval of an extraordinary work, stood and let loose a thunderous ovation.
The Ode To Joy is chosen here to celebrate the return of football. It provides the original "Wall of Sound" effect, hundreds of years before that term became popularized. In this movement a vast chorus sings without harmony, without baroque counterpoint, without complexity. Just a simple yet extraordinarily powerful musical shout of joy, all singers in one voice, one melodic line, lifting their voices to heaven in an outburst of sheer musical joy.
In this video enjoy as one little girl starts a flash mob and unites the onlookers in raising their voices in unison in the Ode To Joy. Pure magic.
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And now, the Ode To Joy.