Androgynous Utopias

Stephen Rumph

in Beethoven after Napoleon

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2004 | ISBN: 9780520238558
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930124 | DOI:
Androgynous Utopias

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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

Chapter.  13287 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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