Sakura Salon – Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony 1/5/14

Lynn's Wagon

Throughout his career, Beethoven was a fervent believer in Enlightenment values and found ways to express those beliefs in many of his compositions, as well as in his letters and other writings. One of the reasons for the nearly universal appeal of his Ninth Symphony is that people enjoying or seeking freedom see this work as exquisitely expressing a message they wish loudly to proclaim. And that message is simple, almost embarrassingly naïve, one we learn as children: People should get along, we are all brothers and sisters.

As a child of the Enlightenment, Beethoven grew up during the American and French revolutions. He later followed political events closely in the newspapers and experienced war first hand when Napoleon’s troops invaded Vienna in 1805 and 1809. Beethoven’s first large composition, written at the age of 19, was an impressive 40-minute cantata commemorating the death of Emperor Joseph II, who had…

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