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Beethoven after NapoleonPolitical Romanticism in the Late Works$
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Stephen Rumph

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780520238558

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520238558.001.0001

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Androgynous Utopias

Androgynous Utopias

Chapter:
(p.156) 7 Androgynous Utopias
Source:
Beethoven after Napoleon
Author(s):

Stephen Rumph

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520238558.003.0008

Any political study of Beethoven's late works must confront the Ninth Symphony finale. This chapter focuses on the musical analysis of “Ode to Joy,” which is about words as well as music and comprises eight stanzas, each of which divides into eight lines of solo declamation and four lines of choral refrain. The stanzas contrast day/night, sun/stars, striving/receptivity, and conquest/ submission. They evoke the duality that underlies even the sublime and the beautiful, male and female, much similar to the distinguished line of androgynous utopias in the Viennese tradition. This is illustrated with the classical example of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. Furthermore, the chapter explores Beethoven's double counterpoint, alternating pattern of odd and even bars. Beethoven departs from the simple quietism of a Schlegel in his insistence on a vigorous, humanistic element in the commonwealth. Viewed from that angle, the Ninth Symphony may still be considered a utopian work of art.

Keywords:   Ninth Symphony, Ode to Joy, Beethoven, double counterpoint, utopian

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