Friday, December 16, 2005

"Seek Him Above The Starry Canopy" ... Or Music To That Effect

Beethoven's grave in the Zentralfriedhof, Vienna, Austria.

Beethoven was baptised on December 17, 1770; and until recently December 16, 1770 has been the assumed date of birth of one of mankind's supreme musical creators.

In 2003, the European Union chose Beethoven's music for the poem as the EU anthem, without German lyrics, because of the many different languages used within the European Union. Therefore, the EU anthem is in effect the Beethoven theme (or melody) rather than Schiller's poem, although its connection with the ideal of human brotherhood in the text is understood. This ideal is stated in much more universal terms in Beethoven's adaptation ("All men become brothers") than in Schiller's original, which states that "beggars become the brothers of princes."

Less famous musical settings of the poem were written by Franz Schubert (for voice and piano, 1815) and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (for solo singers, choir and orchestra in a Russian translation, 1865).

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