Sunday, December 15, 2013


Ten days until Christmas Eve. The greatest night in all of Christendom! What better way to celebrate this world changing, life affirming event than with - JOY? Joy is the one aspect of this season that is universal. So, commit to spreading some between now and the New Year. Today's Countdown features three different interpretations of a standard Christmas Musical Composition that has its roots in the classical music of Ludwig von Beethoven - the Fourth Movement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, generally referred to as the Choral and the 1907 poem of Henry van Dyke - Hymn of Joy (Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee). The three versions of Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee feature interpretations that, hopefully, will have something for every musical taste. The final composition for today features The Berlin Philharmonic performing the Ninth.

Joyful Joyful - Casting Crowns
This version of Joyful Joyful by the Christian Rock Band Casting Crowns, started in 1999  at First Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Florida, brings a fresh pop/rock sound that stays true to the original intent of this Christmas Standard.

Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee - Sister Act 2
First let me say - I am neither a Whoopee Goldberg fan or a Lauren Hill fan. Having said that, this rendition of Joyful Joyful from the movie Sister Act 2, complete with a killer arrangement, a seasoned gospel choir, a little bit of rap and even some great solo work by Lauren Hill, just gets down and completes the mission of this great song - It creates unadulterated feelings of joy. Great music does that, you know. If this tune doesn't get your motor going well - Merry Christmas!

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir - Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee
You really don't need to say much when the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs this classic Christmas standard.

Fourth Movement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D Minor (The Choral)
I saved the best for last. The first time I ever actually listened to classical music was in the bowels of the Auburn University Library, when I would sneak away from architecture studio and check out LP's of classical music and sit in one of the listening chairs with a set of headphones and enjoy my new found musical interest. At the time, I was reading one of Frank LLoyd Wright's books. As in all of Wright's books, he compared architecture to music as an edifice of sound. His favorite composer was Beethoven. So, being the young, ever curious student, I checked out Ludwig one day and I started listening to the Ninth. When the Fourth Movement started and then kept going higher and higher - it was an epiphany I tell ya! The choral text of the fourth movement is from Friedrich Schiller's poem Ode To Joy. I have included the full text under the video if you care to read along. I prefer just to enjoy the music. I have included the entire Fourth Movement in today's post by the Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by one of the twentieth century's greatest composers - Herbert von Karajan. It's lengthy but well worth your time. Put down the Iphone, turn off the tv - then plug the headphones into the Ipad and prepare to be impressed by what many consider to be the greatest piece of music ever written.

ODE TO JOY (Friedrich Schiller)
Text & translation of Symphony No. 9 Finale by Friedrich Schiller
Introduction by Beethoven
O Freunde, nicht diese To"ne!       Oh friends, not these tones!
Sondern lasst uns angenehmere    Let us raise our voices in more
anstimmen, und freudenvollere!    pleasing and more joyful sounds!
                     ODE TO JOY (Friedrich Schiller)    
                       BARITONE, QUARTET, AND CHORUS    
Freude, Scho"ner Go"tterfunken,    Joy, fair spark of the gods,
Tochter aus Elysium,             Daughter of Elysium,
Wir betreten feuer-trunken,         Drunk with fiery rapture, Goddess,
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!         We approach thy shrine!
Deine Zauber binden wieder,         Thy magic reunites those
Was die Mode streng geteilt;         Whom stern custom has parted;
Alle Menschen werden Bru"der,    All men will become brothers
Wo dein sanfter Flu"gel weilt.    Under thy gentle wing.
Wem der grosse Wurf gelungen,    May he who has had the fortune
Eines Freundes Freund zu sein,    To gain a true friend
Wer ein holdes Weib errungen,    And he who has won a noble wife
Mische seinen Jubel ein!         Join in our jubilation!
Ja, wer auch nur eine Seele         Yes, even if he calls but one soul
Sein nennt auf dem Erdenrund!    His own in all the world.
Und wer's nie gekonnt, der stehle    But he who has failed in this
Weinend sich aus diesem Bund!    Must steal away alone and in tears.
Freude trinken alle Wesen        All the world's creatures
An den Bru"sten der Natur;        Draw joy from nature's breast;
Alle Guten, alle Bo"sen          Both the good and the evil
Folgen ihrer Rosenspur.          Follow her rose-strewn path.
Ku"sse gab sie uns und Reben,    She gave us kisses and wine
Einen Freund, gepru"ft im Tod;    And a friend loyal unto death;
Wollust ward dem Wurm gegeben,    She gave lust for life to the lowliest,
Und der Cherub steht vor Gott.    And the Cherub stands before God.
                          TENOR SOLO AND CHORUS    
Froh, wie seine Sonnen fliegen    Joyously, as his suns speed
Durch des Himmels Pra"cht'gen Plan, Through Heaven's glorious order,
Laufet, Bru"der, eure Bahn,      Hasten, Brothers, on your way,
Freudig, wie ein Held zum Siegen.  Exulting as a knight in victory.

Freude, scho"ner Go"tterfunken,    Joy, fair spark of the gods,
          ...                               ...
Seid umschlungen, Millionen!     Be embraced, Millions!
Diesen Kuss der ganzen Welt!     Take this kiss for all the world!
Bru"der u"ber'm Sternenzelt      Brothers, surely a loving Father
Muss ein lieber Vater wohnen.    Dwells above the canopy of stars.
Ihr stu"rzt nieder, Millionen?    Do you sink before him, Millions?
Ahnest du den Scho"pfer, Welt?    World, do you sense your Creator?
Such'ihn u"ber'm Sternenzelt!    Seek him then beyond the stars!
U"ber Sternen muss er wohnen.     He must dwell beyond the stars.



No comments:

Post a Comment