Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony A Holiday Tradition in Japan

Russian conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy conducted Japan's NHK Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D minor in Tokoyo, Japan.(Photo: Petr Novák, Wikipedia)
Russian conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy conducted Japan's NHK Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D minor in Tokoyo, Japan.(Photo: Petr Novák, Wikipedia)

Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor premiered on May 7, 1824 in the Kärntnertor theater in Vienna.

This symphony has become one of the most famous pieces of music in the world.

According to The Japan Times, there were 55 performances of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in Japan in December of 2009.  Apparently, it’s a big holiday tradition there, especially for New Year’s Eve.

As the article notes, while there are historical ironies in how Beethoven’s music was used at times (in Japan and elsewhere), the central positive message keeps breaking through.

Sometimes human beings’ inability to “get it” seems endless, but so does our ability to keep trying anyway, and that gives me hope. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor is, I think, one of the most hopeful artistic creations ever produced.

Happy New Year!

You can hear all of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on New Year’s Eve on Classical 101 during Symphony at 7. But in the meantime, here’s part of a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy with Japan’s NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo, in 2005:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtU8dm08XCE

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