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Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827): SYMPHONY NO. 9 IN D MINOR, "CHORAL": IV. Finale
Berlin Philharmonic; Herbert von Karajan, conductor. Beethoven: Symphonien / Ouvertüren (Deutsche Grammophon)
To put it bluntly, the finale of Beethoven's ninth and final symphony is one hell of an ending. Beethoven does many remarkable things in this movement. For one, he introduces voices, both soloists and a full choir, something that was basically never done in an orchestral symphony before. Also, instead of using a typical symphonic form, he uses his fourth and final movement to recap the melodies from the previous three movements, and then turns it into a set of variations on his "Ode To Joy" theme. It's essentially, what Charles Rosen calls, "a symphony within a symphony." And then there's the text, which comes from poet Friedrich Schiller, and calls for an idealistic universal brotherhood, remarkable given that Beethoven lived most of his life as a...how should I put this? An angry loner.