Eurythmia has adopted Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy in E minor Op 80 (Chorfantasie e-moll Op 80) as its ‘theme tune’. It grabs me for two reasons: because of its inspiring text, and its playful and joyful music.


The text, written by Christopher Kuffner (1780 – 1846), sums up much of the philosophy of Eurythmia:

German text

Schmeichelnd hold und lieblich klingen
unsres Lebens Harmonien,
und dem Schönheitssinn entschwingen
Blumen sich, die ewig blüh’n.

Fried und Freude gleiten freundlich
wie der Wellen Wechselspiel.
Was sich drängte rauh und feindlich,
ordnet sich zu Hochgefühl.

Wenn der Töne Zauber walten
und des Wortes Weihe spricht,
muss sich Herrliches gestalten,
Nacht und Stürme werden Licht.

Äuß’re Ruhe, inn’re Wonne,
herrschen für den Glücklichen.
Doch der Künste Frühlingssonne
lässt aus beiden Licht entsteh’n.

Großes, das ins Herz gedrungen,
blüht dann neu und schön empor.
Hat ein Geist sich aufgeschwungen,
hallt ihm stets ein Geisterchor.

Nehmt denn hin, ihr schönen Seelen,
froh die Gaben schöner Kunst:
Wenn sich Lieb und Kraft vermählen,
lohnt dem Menschen Göttergunst.

English translation

Delightfully graceful and sweet sound
the harmonies of our life,
and from this sense of beauty arise
flowers that eternally bloom.

Peace and joy glide genially together
like the changing play of waves.
Formerly rough and aggressive forces
form into a sublime sense of delight.

When the music’s enchantment prevails
and intones the sacred word,
magnificence must take form;
night and storms give way to light.

Outer calm, inner bliss
rule the fortunate recipients.
But the artistic sun of spring
lets light arise from both.

Greatness, once lodged in the heart,
then blooms anew and beautiful.
Once a spirit has taken flight,
a spirit choir always accompanies.

Accept then, you beautiful souls,
joyously the gifts of high art:
When love and strength are united,
the Grace of God rewards humanity.

Translation – PGM (2016)


And if you listen to the music, written by Beethoven in December 1808, it reflects the sublime light spirit and playfulness of the words. If it’s the first time you’ve heard it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, every time I hear it. It’s one of my favourite pieces of music.

Here’s a YouTube video of the last part of the Finale in what I think is the best version I’ve seen on the Internet. I particularly like the youthful vigour and enthusiasm of the performers, who put more energy into the performance than any other version I’ve found.

Beethoven Chorfantasie
http://youtu.be/iWHEw_H_VkU

This was a Norddeutscher Rundfunk broadcast recorded live on 15th of August 2010, performed by the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Choir and the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra, conducted by Christoph Eschenbach with Ulrike Payer as Piano soloist.

If you’d like to hear the whole thing (about 20 minutes), the three sections are featured in the sidebar in a different version. And you have the bonus of some beautiful photography and artwork to admire as you listen. (Unfortunately, I can’t find a complete performance of the whole work on YouTube that is as good as either of these two versions. But if you can prove me wrong….)