Ninth Symphony (Choral Symphony)

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN

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Item#: 124650 price:$48,000.00

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BEETHOVEN, Ludwig van. Sinfonie mit Schlus-Chor Über Schillers Ode "An Die Freude" für grosses Orchester, 4 Solo- und 4 Chor-Stimmen… Mainz und Paris: B. Schotts Söhnen, [1826]. Folio, modern half burgundy morocco gilt. $48,000.

First edition of the full score of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, fully engraved—his first (and only) to make use of the human voice.

"The Choral Symphony (composed 1817-23, performed 1824) can only be treated as a solitary masterpiece, with no immediate predecessor or successor" (New Grove, 18: 455). Beethoven's first symphony to make use of the human voice, and his last work for a large-scale orchestra, the Ninth culminates in an expansive choral setting of Schiller's Ode to Joy. "For almost a quarter of a century Beethoven had nursed the ambition of setting to music Schiller's Ode to Joy, in which the composer's own ideal of the brotherhood of all mankind was voiced… but he did not get around to the actual planning and writing of the work until [the Ninth Symphony]. No symphony of his had taken so long to germinate; to the writing of no other symphony had he brought such a feeling of dedication, such effort, such expenditure of creative energy; and in no other symphony had he produced such an all-encompassing feeling of humanity, spirituality, and exaltation… It is, as Richard Wagner wrote, 'a struggle conceived in the greatest grandeur of the soul contending for happiness against the oppression of that inimical power which places itself between us and the joys of the earth" (Cross, 61-62). This, the first edition of the score, was one of the magnificent publications with which the firm of Schott, as "B. Schotts Söhnen," established its reputation. "The firm first achieved eminence through the connection it formed with Beethoven in 1824 and through its first publication of such late works as the Missa Solemnis, the Ninth Symphony and the string quartets opp. 127 and 131" (Krummel & Sadie, 417). The first edition exists in both a regular and a subscribers' issue, distinguished by the presence of a subscribers' list. This copy, from the trade issue without the subscribers' list, is exceptionally fresh, indicating that it is from an early strike of the plates. Without price or metronome marks, and with "frech" instead of "streng" in the first bar of page 207, as called for in Fuld. Fuld, 563. See Kinsky, 371-380. With blindstamp on title page of Michael J. Cipkala and in ink of a London music dealer and of Her Majesty's Concerts of Ancient Music, founded in 1776 by the Earl of Sandwich (and disbanded in 1848).

Only very faint marginal foxing to title page. An extraordinary copy.

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