The European Anthem
Music from the last movement of the Ninth Symphony
The European Hymn is thehymn not only of the European Union but of Europe in a broader sense. The melody has been taken from the Ninth Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven from 1823.
In the last movement of this symphony Beethoven set music to the ´Ode to Joy´ by Friedrich von Schiller from 1785. This poem sprang from Schiller´s idealistic vision of men who become brothers – a vision Beethoven shared with him.
In 1972 the Council of Europe adopted Beethoven´s ´Ode to Joy´ as its anthem. The well-known conductor Herbert von Karajan was commissioned to arrange three instrumental versions – for solo piano, wind orchestra and symphony orchestra. Without words, in the universal language of music, the anthem is an expression of the idealistic values of freedom, peace and solidarity which Europe stands for.
In 1985 the heads of state and government adopted the hymn as the EU´s official anthem. It does not replace the national anthems of the member states, but rather celebrates common values as well as unity in diversity.
The score of this offical anthem is exclusively available from the Schott publishing house.