The premier of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in Vienna on May 7, 1824, was the most significant artistic event of the year—and the work remains one of the most precedent-shattering and influential compositions in the history of music. Described in vibrant detail by eminent musicologist Harvey Sachs, this symbol of freedom and joy was so unorthodox that it amazed and confused listeners at its unveiling—yet it became a standard for subsequent generations of creative artists, and its composer came to embody the Romantic cult of genius. In this unconventional, provocative book, Beethoven’s masterwork becomes a prism through which we may view the politics, aesthetics, and overall climate of the era. Part biography, part history, part memoir, The Ninth brilliantly explores the intricacies of Beethoven’s last symphony—how it brought forth the power of the individual while celebrating the collective spirit of humanity.
“All music lovers should run, not walk, to purchase The Ninth.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“An inspiring examination of one of music’s supreme masterpieces.”—Pittsburgh Tribune Review
“Insightful . . . Reading this book, you feel for the composer, trying to bond with others through an astonishing symphony.”—The New York Times
“Sachs’ enthusiasm is infectious, his knowledge impressive.”—USA Today
“A revelatory ride through a creative time and four symphonic movements.”—The Dallas Morning News
“Will send readers to their CD players.”—The Washington Post
Harvey Sachs is a writer and music historian and the author or co-author of eight previous books, of which there have been more than fifty editions in fifteen languages. He has written for The New Yorker and many other publications, has been a Guggenheim Fellow and a Fellow of the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, and is currently on the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He lives in New York City.