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Beethoven's Ninth Symphony

Tom Service explores the Ode to Joy from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and asks whether this musical vision of utopia is more dangerous than the composer could ever have imagined.

Tom Service explores arguably the most famous piece of music in the world: the Ode to Joy from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. It's a piece which has been appropriated by everyone from the European Union, to the writer Anthony Burgess, who used it as an unsettling counterpoint to the murderous exploits of the characters in his novel A Clockwork Orange. Tom asks whether Beethoven's original vision of a musical utopia has actually turned out to be far more dangerous than the composer could ever have imagined.

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30 minutes

Music Played

  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    March from a Clockwork Orange (Ninth Symphony, Fourth Movement)

    Performer: Wendy Carlos.
    • Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange (Music from the Soundtrack).
    • Warner Bros.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Ode to Joy

    Performer: Paul Robeson.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony No. 9, 1st Mvt

    Performer: Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. Performer: GewundhausChor. Performer: Gewundhaus Kinderchor. Performer: MDR Rundfunkchor Leipzig. Performer: Riccardo Chailly.
    • DECCA.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony No. 9, 3rd Mvt

    Performer: Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. Performer: GewundhausChor. Performer: Gewundhaus Kinderchor. Performer: MDR Rundfunkchor Leipzig. Performer: Riccardo Chailly.
    • DECCA.
  • Michael Tippett

    Symphony No. 3, Slow blues

    Performer: Heather Harper. Performer: London Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Colin Davis.
    • LONDON.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony No. 9, last Mvt

    Performer: Leonard Bernstein. Performer: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Staatskapelle Dresden. Performer: Orchestra of the Kirov Theatre. Performer: Leningrad Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. Performer: London Symphony Orchestra. Performer: New York Philharmonic. Performer: Orchestre de Paris. Performer: Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks. Performer: Members of the Berlin Radio Chorus. Performer: Dresden Philharmonic Children's Chorus.
    • DG.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony No. 9, last Mvt

    Performer: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Performer: Bruno Kittel Choir. Performer: Wilhelm Furtwängler.
    • MUSIC & ARTS.

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