The Ninth – only the original is more beautiful
Prestigious facsimile of Beethoven’s Symphony
The Ninth. No other work from the classical-romantic repertoire is surrounded by such myth as Beethoven’s symphony, with its setting of Schiller’s “Ode to Joy” in the last movement. It is still frequently performed today, when great state occasions are on the agenda.
Between 1822 and 1824, a few years after the Vienna Congress which cemented the European balance of power, Beethoven composed his 9th Symphony, and it soon came to be regarded as “a strong political statement made at a time when the practical possibilities of realizing Schiller’s ideals of universal brotherhood had been virtually extinguished by the post-Napoleonic regimes” (Lewis Lockwood).
Beethoven’s autograph manuscript of the symphony, the majority of which is now preserved in the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz, has had a chequered history. Since 1901 it has been in Berlin, except for a few folios which had ended up in Bonn and Paris. During the Second World War, however, the manuscript was stored in several different locations; the main body was preserved, unrecognised, in Krakow, and other parts passed through different locations on their journey. Only since 1992, two years after German reunification, have all parts except for the Bonn and Paris folios been reunited under the roof of the Staatsbibliothek Berlin. The autograph manuscript therefore also mirrors an episode in German history.
In a splendidly produced facsimile containing all 433 pages, Bärenreiter-Verlag has published a reproduction of the manuscript, comprising the many folios in different formats. The precision in detail and authenticity of colour are astounding and offer tremendous insights into the compositional process. The prestigious volume, published in a large format of 37 x 40 cm and with a weight of 8 kg, contains a historical classification of the work (Lewis Lockwood), commentary on the handwriting (Jonathan Del Mar) and a history of the work (Martina Rebmann).
Because of the universal significance of the symphony and the completeness of the autograph manuscript, it has been inscribed in UNESCO’s “Memory of the World” register. With this facsimile, conductors, musicians, music lovers and Beethoven enthusiasts now have the possibility of owning the treasure which is this unique manuscript.
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No. 9 op. 125.
Autograph score from the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz; Beethoven-Haus, Bonn; Bibliothèque nationale de Paris. Commentary by Lewis Lockwood, Jonathan Del Mar and Martina Rebmann: Bärenreiter Facsimile. Documenta musicologica II,42. ISBN 978-3-1678-2169-5. Bärenreiter-Verlag 2010. 422 + 11 pages facsimile, 40 pages Commentary (English/German/Japanese). € 698,–.