Beethoven, The Street Musician?

Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” was composed in 1824, in the final movement of his last, and arguably most famous, symphony, Symphony No. 9. The premiere took place in Vienna on May 7, 1824, nearly 100 years ago this month.

Despite its unpracticed and under-rehearsed presentation, the audience was ecstatic. It was the first time Beethoven had appeared on stage in 12 years.

At the end of the performance (though some sources say it could have been after the 2nd movement), it was said that Beethoven continued conducting even though the music had ended. One of the soloists stopped him and turned him around to accept his applause. The audience was well aware of Beethoven’s health and hearing loss, so in addition to clapping, they threw their hats and scarves in the air so that he could see their overwhelming approval.

So, here’s a question:

Do you think that Beethoven would object to, or approve of, the performance of the 4th movement of his 9th Symphony as ‘street music’?


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