An die Freude

Image: (Wikipedia) “The original Goethe–Schiller Monument (German: Goethe-Schiller-Denkmal) is in Weimar, Germany. It incorporates Ernst Rietschel’s 1857 bronze double statue of Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749–1832) and Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805), who are probably the two most revered figures in German literature.

Goethe and Schiller had a remarkable friendship and collaboration that was “like no other known to literature or art.” Both men had lived in Weimar, and were the seminal figures of a literary movement known as Weimar Classicism. The bronze figures of the Goethe–Schiller statue are substantially larger than life-size; notably, both are given the same height, even though Goethe was nearly 20 cm shorter than Schiller.

The figures were mounted on a large stone pedestal in front of the Court Theater that Goethe had directed, and that had seen premieres and countless performances of Schiller’s plays. Goethe is on the left in the photograph, his left hand resting lightly on Schiller’s shoulder. Goethe grasps a laurel wreath in his right hand, and Schiller’s right hand is stretched out toward the wreath. Goethe wears the formal court dress of the era; Schiller is in ordinary dress.”

From Wikipedia:

” “Ode to Joy” (German: “An die Freude”) is an ode written in the summer of 1785 by German poet, playwright, and historian Friedrich Schiller and published the following year in Thalia. A slightly revised version appeared in 1808, changing two lines of the first and omitting the last stanza.

“Ode to Joy” is best known for its use by Ludwig van Beethoven in the final (fourth) movement of his Ninth Symphony, completed in 1824. Beethoven’s text is not based entirely on Schiller’s poem, and introduces a few new sections. His tune (but not Schiller’s words) was adopted as the “Anthem of Europe” by the Council of Europe in 1972 and subsequently by the European Union. Rhodesia’s national anthem from 1974 until 1979, “Rise, O Voices of Rhodesia”, used the tune of “Ode to Joy”.

Schiller wrote the first version of the poem when he was staying in Gohlis, Leipzig. In the year 1785 from the beginning of May till mid September, he stayed with his publisher Georg Joachim Göschen in Leipzig and wrote “An die Freude” along with his play Don Carlos.

Schiller later made some revisions to the poem which was then republished posthumously in 1808, and it was this latter version that forms the basis for Beethoven’s setting. Despite the lasting popularity of the ode, Schiller himself regarded it as a failure later in his life, going so far as to call it “detached from reality” and “of value maybe for us two, but not for the world, nor for the art of poetry” in an 1800 letter to his long-time friend and patron Christian Gottfried Körner (whose friendship had originally inspired him to write the ode).”

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