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Shall we remark the 1st, 2nd and 3rd movements in Beethoven's 9th symphony

I will describe about "the ninth" -- the ninth symphony (op.125 with chorus) by L. van Beethoven. In Japan, there are many times of performance of this symphony in the end of year. Especially, the finale is very famous and even it has the character of "beginners' piece of classical music". in the meantime, there are not so many saying about previous three movements.

As you know, "the ninth" , the beginning of the finale, preceding three movements are recollected one after another, and the oppressive melody of cello and double bass stop and denies them. So these first, second and third movement would be regarded as "music to denied". But I don't think these thinking is outward and is not essential quality. The 4th movement of that music is certainly great music, and the sequence of introducing the melody of "Ode to Joy" after denying previous movement is certainly very nice idea. But I would like to say that preceding three movements are also great music. Beethoven's "the ninth" should be treat not only in its finale but whole of it, the first, second, third and fourth movements. I will explain about this,

Now, we watch the history of generation of "the ninth". Beethoven made tremendous volume of drafts (sketches). Analyzing these sketches, we can trace the way how he composed "the ninth". G. Nottebohm already reported these analysis and it have been published with the name "Beethoveniana". In following sentences, I describe the history of composing "the ninth".

The first public concert of "the ninth" was on May 1824, and the sheet of this music had been completed February, 1824. Nottebohm's "zwite Beethoveniana" says that the theme of the 1st movement was established about 1818 ( 6 years before the whole completion), and that composing many other pieces (e.g. five piano sonatas, D-major Mass etc.) stopped the composition of "the ninth" and that the composition of "the ninth" restarted about 1822, and that the first-half of 1823 (10 months before the completion) the 1st movement was completed. Nottebohm's "zwite Beethoveniana" also says that the 2nd movement was completed about August, 1824 (6 months before the whole completion) and that the 3rd movement was completed about October, 1824 (4 months before the whole completion)

The famous "Ode to Joy" melody appeared in his notebook on summer 1822.
[The first description of 'Ode to Joy' melody (Dok017-0.gif, 972Byte)]
After one and half years later, it changed to like the following. It is still differ from our well-known style.
[Old style of 'Ode to Joy' melody (Dok017-1.gif, 2.14KB)]

So we can say that when the finale was not still established in its theme, the preceding three movements were already completed or almost completed. According to this, the idea, "after denying preceding three movement and introducing 'Ode to Joy'" would be not exist in 1822-1823.

We have another remarkable fact. Please see the following sheet music. At present this melody has nothing to do with "the ninth". But it is important melody in the history of generation of "the ninth".
[The theme of instrumental finale (Dok017-2.gif 1.23KB)]
Beethoven considered another finale without chorus. The description "Finale instromentale"(instrumental finale) tells us this fact.

At that time, Beethoven still did not decided which types of finale was adopted, with chorus or without chorus. This melody still appeared the Autumn of 1823 ( 4 or 5 months before the whole completion ). So we can say that Beethoven could not judge to use chorus or not just before the completion of "the ninth".

Saying additionally, the final version of this melody is the following.
[The theme of the finale in the A-minor quartet for strings in his last yeaes (Dok017-1.gif, 966Byte)]
It is used for the theme of the finale of the latter A-minor quartet for strings in his last yeas.

The idea, "to deny preceding three movements and introduce new theme" appeared the end of October. ( 3 or 4 months before the whole completion.) So we can say that the idea, "to deny preceding three movements" was introduced in the last step of composition, in order to introduce 'Ode to Joy' impressively. "To deny preceding three movements" is not basic structure of "the ninth".

Now, we watch this from the another viewpoint. Beethoven had finished to compose all of his piano sonatas. Let us see the piano sonatas just before "the ninth". There are five piano sonatas and each sonata is regarded as his great work of piano music.

I can think "the ninth" -- which is not a piano sonata -- is the result of these piano sonatas. For example,

Seeing these, we can feel that "the ninth" especially its 1st, 2nd, and 3rd movements are on the series of preceding piano sonata. "The ninth" itself is not also a piano sonata, but its contents are the result of his piano sonatas. The 1st, 2nd, and the 3rd movements are not to be denied. Rather they are the result of his instrumental music. "Sonata form","variations", and "fugue" ... these are Beethvoen's favourite technique and important role in these piano sonatas and "the ninth".

And the another approach... The following music are the beginning theme in the 1st movement, the beginning of the 2nd movement, and the beginning theme in the 3rd movement, and the beginning of finale in "the ninth".
[D-A-F-D in the 9th symphony (Dok017-4.gif, 2.80KB)]

Please remark the notes with"*". Important note of these melody has commonly "D-A-F-D" series. It means that these four movements should be bound closely. More remarkable points are the theme of "the abandoned instrumental finale" alos begins with "D-A-F-D". Please see below music.
['D-A-F-D' in the instrumental finale (Dok017-5.gif, 832Byte)]

The melody "Ode to Joy" does not have "D-A-F-D". So , if Beethoven uses instrumental finale, the bind between these four movements might be more closer.

But he choice finale with chorus. After this choose, he paid tremendous and careful consideration for binding the proceeding three movements and the finale, and found the idea of "denying proceeding three movements". The reason of this action is not to be recognized word for word. This acton binds 4 movements and made great "one symphony".

When we approach "the ninth", we tends to remark the finale only. But we should taste this as "a symphony of 4 movements", that is, before tasting finale, we should taste the 1st, 2nd and 3rd movements equally. It is needed every person to approach "the ninth"-- instrumental player, listener, and singer.

** Reference : "Zwiete Beethveniana Nachgelassene Aufsaetze von Nottebohm." Verlag von J. Pieter-Biedermann Leipzig 1887. (Translated in Japanese by YAMANE Ginji and published by Ongaku-no-tomosha, 1952) All drafts (sketches) of sheet music are adopted from this literature.

** Note : The sheet of music in this page are made with "MusicTime Deluxe for Windows 3.1 and 95" ((C) 1996 Passport Designs Inc.)


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