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Beethoven Symphony 9, First Movement, Bars 1-8

Beethoven’s 9th Symphony is arguably history’s greatest single artistic achievement. The Sistine Chapel comes to mind, but Michealangelo wasn’t blind when he painted it.

Begun in 1818, completed in 1824  incorporating the poetry of his friend, poet Freidrich Schiller, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony managed to be both popularly accessible and artistically groundbreaking simultaneously.  Never before had a symphony incorporated a chorale,  employing what was once the preserve of sacred music into a secular message.  Never before had anyone written a chord like the one that opens the climactic 4th movement. The musical architecture and sub structures, the themes and variations, the self referencing melodies, the chorale, the message…it’s a work of unimaginable depth and virtuosity . And, if the work itself isn’t extraordinary enough, consider that Beethoven was deaf when he wrote it, deaf when he conducted the world premiere.

Beethoven remains my most admired artist of all time. Symphony #9 remains my most admired composition of all time. This painting, reproducing bars 1-8 of the first movement in a stylistic tip-of-the-cap to Mark Rothko, is my homage to this Great work of Art.

acrylic on canvas   30 x 40


  1. Ann Hollingworth says:

    Asher, this is particularly FANTASTIC…


    • Asher says:

      I’m not 100% sure which comments I am responding to. These web engines replies are a bit confusing.
      I love the Beethoven painting, it is one of my very favorites.
      It hung at my club for 3 years and I had an open challenge to anyone who could name the composition. Name it and drinks are on me. Only one person did; he was a member of Yo Yo Ma’s string octet. He got an evening’s drinks on the house.
      Hope to see you soon,

    • Ifat says:

      Well what can I say. I am still rather lost for words after heanrig the first programme in Southampton last night. I was looking forward to it so much and always knew this would be the start of something very special, but nothing prepared me for enormous emotional impact the concert had on me. What a programme the second movment of op.59 no.3 was just devastating, and the whole journey through Op.131 was like listening to the piece being composed right in front of me. I wish I could hear that programme again but will have to wait for the Brighton Festival. Thank you all for a very very special evening.

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