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Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony no 9, d minor, op. 125

Documentary heritage submitted by Germany and recommended for inclusion in the Memory of the World Register in 2001.

The ninth Symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) is one of the best known compositions world-wide. It has one of the most impressive and tremendous conceptions of Beethoven’s works. Its influence on the history of music was decisive and intense in the 19th and 20th century and not restricted to the genre of symphonies only. In the last movement human voice has been included for the first time in a symphony. This "Ode to Joy" (An die Freude), which sets a poem of Friedrich von Schiller to music, has become as a symbol of peace between all nations and the peoples in the world. Many orchestras play this work traditionally at New Year’s Eve, stressing the symbolical power of the symphony. During the Olympic Games 1956-1964 the first stanza of the last movement has been used as hymn for both teams from Federal Republic of Germany and German Democratic Republic; later other countries used it as their own national hymn with different lyrics.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 this symphony got a special importance for people from East and West in Germany but also in Eastern Europe. This demonstrates the significance of this music in the peoples’ memory and consciousness.

  • Year of submission: 2001 
  • Year of inscription: 2001
  • Form Country: Germany
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