On Hearing the Final Movement Of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony

Onslaught.

From woodwinds to brass, from brass over to strings -

suddenly the main theme

bursts upon us again with a force beyond

violence - yes, the sweet, redeeming force

of Schiller's ode in Beethoven's hands.

Finale.

One hundred and thirty-eight voices soar

on a single melodic phrase, unassuaged.

Now triumph, love, worship, joy -

melding indistinguishably together -

overwhelm the ear....

Sudden silence.

Not a cough or a stir.

At last applause ascends.

Standing ovation. Light

in faces everywhere.

Nothing ends....

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