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Discussion Questions - Freshman Essays

Discussion Questions

Read: “The Ninth Symphony” (Lockwood) – Read pp. 411-427 and 433-440 only and answer those questions. each answer should be 4-5 sentences

1.Why is the Ninth Symphony so central to the Beethoven legend/myth that “was created in the nineteenth century [and] has been reshaped and enlarged many times over in the twentieth” (Lockwood, p. 412)?

2.What does Lockwood see as Beethoven’s most significant motivations for writing the Ninth Symphony? (Think about the political context in Vienna and how Beethoven felt about it.)

3.How did post-Beethoven, nineteenth-century composers view the Ninth Symphony?

4.What are some examples of 20th-century performances of the Ninth Symphony that represented opposing ideologies?

5.Lockwood acknowledges that the Ninth Symphony can mean many different things, but he is particularly interested in what it meant to Beethoven at the time that it was composed. This is an example of a scholar drawing connections between a composer’s life and works, which is sometimes very difficult to do. Lockwood uses the sung text in the final movement to help him interpret the symphony’s possible meaning. What kind of statement does Lockwood believe the symphony would have made when it premiered in 1824?

6.Lockwood uses different types of primary sources, including Beethoven’s sketchbooks, as sources of information about the compositional process behind the Ninth Symphony. What kind of things do we learn by investigating the sketchbooks?

7. What was essentially unprecedented about the final movement of the ninth symphony?

8.What is the “Ode to Joy” text about, and why does Lockwood think Beethoven was so attracted to it?

9.Consider the three historical performances I asked you to view. Why was the Ninth Symphony chosen for these three distinct events?