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About "An die Freude" ("Ode to Joy")

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Title Composer Description View or Listen Date Posted
An die Freude ("To Joy") Anonymous
Voice and guitar
Schiller's Ode to Joy, set by an anonymous composer c. 1799.  This is NOT the tune by Beethoven!
mus  pdf  mid  mp3  xml  2007-04-12

Title: "An die Freude" (Ode to Joy)

History

This delightful song will surprise people who have only heard Schiller's "Ode to Joy" sung to the music of Beethoven.

Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805) wrote the poem "An die Freude" as a young man in 1785, and revised it slightly in 1803.  Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) was familiar with both texts and chose the 1803 version as basis for his Hymn to Joy in his 9th Symphony (completed in 1824).

Before Beethoven's setting of Schiller's words, many other musical settings of "An die Freude" appeared.  The version presented here became popular around 1800.  In Werckmeister's Deutsches Lautenlied (1916), this song appears in a section bearing the heading "Louis Spohr".  This suggests that Werckmeister may have believed that the composer Louis Spohr (1784-1859) had some connection to the song, either as the original composer or as arranger.  However, the composer of the song is stated to be unbekannt (unknown).

The anonymous composer's tune is indeed a joyful vehicle for Schiller's poem about joy!  The guitar part by Georg Götsch (1895-1956) is easy, beautiful, and fun to play.

The lyric in Werckmeister's book is based on Schiller's original 1785 text.  However, I have used the more familiar 1803 text in my transcription.  The complete poem, in side-by-side German and English, appears below.  The English translation is by John Sullivan Dwight (see Remarks).

Text

 

An die Freude
By Friedrich Schiller

Ode to Joy
By Friedrich Schiller
Translated by John Sullivan Dwight

1 Freude, schöner Götterfunken,
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische dein Heiligtum.
Deine Zauber binden wieder,
Was die Mode streng geteilt,
Alle Menschen werden Brüder,
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.
Seid umschlungen, Millionen!
Diesen Kuss der ganzen Welt!
Brüder—überm Sternenzelt
Muss ein lieber Vater wohnen.
Joy, thou brightest heaven-lit spark,
Daughter from the Elysian choir
On thy holy ground we walk,
Reeling with ecstatic fire.
Thou canst bind in one again
All that custom tears apart;
All mankind are brothers, when
Waves thy soft wing o’er the heart.
Myriads, join the fond embrace!
‘Tis the world’s inspiring kiss!
Friends, yon dome of starry bliss
Is a loving Father’s place
2 Wem der grosse Wurf gelungen,
Eines Freundes Freund zu sein,
Wer ein holdes Weib errungen,
Mische seinen Jubel ein!
Ja—wer auch nur eine Seele
Sein nennt auf dem Erdenrund!
Und wer’s nie gekonnt, der stehle
Weinend sich aus diesem Bund.
Was den grossen Ring bewohnet,
Huldige der Sympathie!
Zu den Sternen leitet sie,
Wo der Unbekannte thronet.
Who the happy lot doth share,
Friend to have, and friend to be—
Who a lovely wife holds dear—
Mingle in our Jubilee!
Yea—who calls one soul his own,
One on all earth’s ample round:—
Who cannot, may steal alone,
Weeping from our holy ground!
Sympathy with blessing crown
All that in life’s circle are!
To the stars she leads us, where
Dwells enthroned the great Unknown.
3 Freude trinken alle Wesen
An den Brüsten der Natur,
Alle Guten, all Bösen
Folgen ihrer Rosenspur.
Küsse gab sie uns und Reben,
Einen Freund, geprüft im Tod,
Wollust ward dem Wurm gegeben,
Und der Cherub steht vor Gott.
Ihr stürzt nieder, Millionen?
Ahnest du den Schöpfer, Welt?
Such ihn überm Sternenzelt!
Über Sternen muss er wohnen.
Joy on every living thing
Nature’s bounty doth bestow,
Good and bad still welcoming;—
In her rosy path they go.
Kisses she to us has given,
Wine, and friend in death approved;—
Sense the worm has;—but in heaven
Stands the soul, of God beloved.
Myriads, do ye prostrate fall?
Feel ye the Creator near?
Seek him in yon starry sphere:
O’er the stars he governs all.
4 Freude heisst die starke Feder
In der ewigen Natur.
Freude, Freude treibt die Räder
In der grossen Weltenuhr.
Blumen lockt sie aus den Keimen,
Sonnen aus dem Firmament,
Sphären rollt sie in den Räumen,
Die des Sehers Rohr nicht kennt.
Froh, wie seine Sonnen fliegen
Durch des Himmels Prächt’gen Plan,
Wandelt, Brüder, eure Bahn,
Freudig wie ein Held zum Siegen.
Joy impels the quick rotations,
Sure return of night and day;
Joy’s the main-spring of Creation,
Keeping every wheel in play.
She draws from buds the flowerets fair,
Brilliant suns from azure sky,
Rolls the spheres in trackless air,
Realms unreached by mortal eye.
As his suns, in joyful play,
On their airy circles fly,—
As the knight to victory,—
Brothers, speed upon your way.
5 Aus der Wahrheit Feuerspiegel
Lächelt sie den Forscher an.
Zu der Tugen steilem Hügel
Leitet sie des Dulders Bahn.
Auf des Glaubens Sonnenberge
Sieht man ihre Fahnen wehn,
Durch den Riss gesprengter Särge
Sie im Chor der Engel stehn.
Duldet mutig, Millionen!
Duldet für die bessre Welt!
Droben überm Sternenzelt
Wird ein grosser Gott belohnen
From Truth’s burning mirror still
Her sweet smiles th’ inquirer greet;
She up Virtue’s toilsome hill
Guides the weary pilgrim’s feet;
On Faith’s sunny mountain, wave,
Floating far, her banners bright;
Through the rent walls of the grave
Flits her form in angel light.
Patient, then, ye myriads, live!
To a better world press on!
Seated on his starry throne,
God the rich reward will give.
6 Göttern kann man nicht vergelten;
Schön ist's, ihnen gleich zu sein.
Gram und Armuth soll sich melden,
Mit den Frohen sich erfreun.
Groll und Rache sei vergessen,
Unserm Todfeind sei verziehn.
Keine Thräne soll ihn pressen,
Keine Reue nage ihn
Unser Schuldbuch sei vernichtet!
Ausgesöhnt die ganze Welt!
Brüder - überm Sternenzelt
Richtet Gott, wie wir gerichtet.
For the Gods what thanks are meet?
Like the Gods, then, let us be;
All the poor and lowly greet
With the gladsome and the free;
Banish vengeance from our breast,
And forgive our deadliest foe;
Bid no anguish mar his rest,
No consuming tear-drops flow.
Be the world from sin set free!
Be all mutual wrong forgiven;
Brothers, in that starry heaven,
As we judge, our doom shall be.
7 Freude sprudelt in Pokalen,
In der Traube goldnem Blut
Trinken Sanftmuth Kannibalen,
Die Verzweiflung Heldenmuth—
Brüder, fliegt von euren Sitzen,
Wenn der volle Römer kreist,
Laßt den Schaum zum Himmel spritzen:
Dieses Glas dem guten Geist!
Den der Sterne Wirbel loben,
Den des Seraphs Hymne preist,
Dieses Glas dem guten Geist
Überm Sternenzelt dort oben!
Joy upon the red wine dances
By the magic of the cup
Rage dissolves in gentle trances,
Dead despair is lifted up.
Brothers, round the nectar flies,
Mounting to the beaker’s edge.
Toss the foam off to the skies!
Our Good Spirit here we pledge!
Him the seraphs ever praise,
Him the stars that rise and sink.
Drink to our Good Spirit, drink!
High to him our glasses raise!
8 Festen Muth in schwerem Leiden,
Hilfe, wo die Unschuld weint,
Ewigkeit geschwornen Eiden,
Wahrheit gegen Freund und Feind,
Männerstolz vor Königsthronen,—
Brüder, gält' es Gut und Blut—
Dem Verdienste seine Kronen,
Untergang der Lügenbrut!
Schließt den heil'gen Zirkel dichter,
Schwört bei diesem goldnen Wein,
Dem Gelübde treu zu sein,
Schwört es bei dem Sternenrichter!
Spirits firm in hour of woe—
Help to innocence oppressed—
Truth alike to friend or foe—
Faith unbroken—wrongs redressed—
Manly pride before the throne,
Cost it fortune, cost it blood—
Wreaths to just desert alone—
Downfall to all Falsehood’s brood!
Closer draw the holy ring!
By the sparkling wine-cup now,
Swear to keep the solemn vow—
Swear it by the heavenly King!

 

Remarks

The author of the above English translation, John Sullivan Dwight (1813-1893), was an interesting figure in 19th-century New England's intellectual and artistic world.  A graduate of Harvard, he served briefly as a Unitarian minister in Northampton, Massachusetts.  He was a member of Brook Farm (1841-1847), a socialist community dedicated to integrating fine arts into everyday living, and served as the school teacher for that community.  After the demise of Brook Farm, Dwight acquired renown as a lecturer on classical music and published an influential journal, Dwight's Journal of Music.

"O Holy Night"

Johh Sullivan Dwight is best-known today as the author (in 1855) of the English translation of the great Christmas carol, "Cantique de Noël" ( "O Holy Night").  French composer Adolphe Charles Adam (1803-1856) wrote the music for the song in 1847, as a setting for the poem "Minuit, Chretiens" ("Midnight, Christians") by Placide Cappeau (1808-1877). 

A fascinating footnote in music history is the fact that "Cantique de Noël" was suppressed for many years in France; the song was deemed unsuitable for performance in churches.  Why?  Because its composer, Adam, was a Jew, and its lyricist, Cappeau, was a socialist! 

John Sullivan Dwight, an abolitionist, was attracted to "Cantique de Noël" in part because of its words on slavery:

Le Rédempteur a brisé toute entrave:
La terre est libre, et le ciel est ouvert.
Il voit un frère où n'était qu'un esclave,
L'amour unit ceux qu'enchaînait le fer.

Dwight's free translation of these lines is as follows:

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.

References

"Friedrich Schiller", article in Wikipedia.

"Georg Götsch", article in German Wikipedia.

"O Holy Night" (2008, July 16). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:52, July 16, 2008, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=O_Holy_Night&oldid=225938828

"Placide Cappeau" (2008, May 21). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:22, July 16, 2008, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Placide_Cappeau&oldid=213985613

Adam, Adolphe, "Extra Supplement: O Holy Night", with English words by John Sullivan Dwight, The Musical Times, v. 51, No. 814 (Dec 1, 1910), published by Musical Times Publications, Ltd., pp. 1-12.  Available online in JSTOR (subscription required).  [An arrangement of "O Holy Night" for organ, chorus, and soloist.]

Cobra, Maximianno, "Von Ode zu Hymne, Von Schiller zu Beethoven", pdf file on the Hodie Productions website, 2000, (in German).  [Gives Schiller's 1803 text and Beethoven's lyrics side by side, with arrows that explain which parts of Schiller's poem were used by Beethoven, and in what order.]  See http://www.hodie-world.com/vohde.pdf .

Delano, Sterling F., Brook Farm, The Dark Side of Utopia, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2004.

Lester, Meera, Why Does Santa Wear Red...and 100 Other Christmas Curiousities, Adams Media, 2007 (256 pages).  [See p. 112 for the story of "O Holy Night".]

Robinson, David, "John Sullivan Dwight", biographical article in the Unitarian-Universalist Association website.

Schiller, Friedrich, "An die Freude" (1803 version), in the German Project Gutenberg website, http://gutenberg.spiegel.de/schiller/gedichte/freude.htm

Schiller, Friedrich, "An die Freude" (1803 version), in The Oxford Book of German Verse (Das Oxforder Buch Deutscher Dichtung vom 12ten bis zum 20sten Jahrhundert) (in German), Hermann Georg Fiedler, editor, Oxford University Press, London, 1911, pp. 149-150. In books.google.com

Schiller, Friedrich, "And die Freude" (1785 version), in WikiSource

Schiller, Friedrich, "To Joy" (1803 version), translated by John Sullivan Dwight, in Selected Minor Poems, Translated from the German of Goethe and Schiller, by John Sullivan Dwight, Hilliard, Gray and Company, Boston, 1839, pp. 203-206.  In books.google.com

Werckmeister, Walther, editor, Deutsches Lautenlied, A. Köster Verlag, Berlin, 1916, pp. 590-591.

 

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