The 2-page handout

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Beethoven's Ninth Symphony has been played in Vienna to mark the 200th anniversary of its first performance. The premiere of Beethoven's masterpiece took place at a theatre in Austria's capital city on the 7th of May, 1824. Vienna is the city where the German composer lived and worked for much of his life. He composed many of his most famous works there. The anniversary performance earlier this week was conducted by the world-famous Italian conductor Riccardo Muti. A member of the choir told the BBC how happy she was to sing in the 200-year celebration. She said: "It's the whole world to us to be able to sing this wonderful message of love. You're lifted up…when you're singing."

The Ninth Symphony is believed to be one of the greatest pieces of music ever written. It is also one of the most played and most widely-recognized classical works. The symphony's final part – the fourth movement – is called Ode to Joy. This was revolutionary 200 years ago because it used solo voices and a choir. An adapted version of Ode to Joy is the anthem of the European Union. It is loved and played by orchestras worldwide. In Japan, it is sung each December by a choir of 10,000 singers. The Ode represents peace and international understanding. Heidrun Irene Mittermair, a singer in a Viennese choir, called Beethoven's Ninth, "a wonderful message of love". She added that it "moves from the darkness to the light".



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