Without question, the final movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony contains one of the most famous tunes ever written.
- Scott Davie
- The Conversation
Since its first performance in 1824, the “Ode to Joy” has been repurposed in endless ways, both reverential and exploitative, from performances at the Berlin Wall to its use in tawdry advertising.
Beethoven started sketching ideas for a musical setting of the text in his late 20s, and, given an initial admiration for Napoleon, he was likely attracted to the poem’s revolutionary undertones…