By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (May 7, 2024) – In this edition of Fun with Maps we pay homage to an exceptional accomplishment in music composition.

Ode to Joy

Many regard this piece of music as one of the supreme achievements in the history of music.

First performed in Vienna 200 years ago on May 7, 1824, it is Symphony No. 9 in four movements, composed by Ludwig van Beethoven.

It is the first time a major composer scored vocal parts into a symphony.

Ode to Joy (An die Freude in original German) is the last movement of the Symphony with vocals commonly known. It is the anthem of the European Union.

As some might know, by the time Beethoven composed his masterpiece he was totally deaf. He suffered increasing loss of hearing in the last 30 years of his 57-year life. He felt Symphony No. 9 in his mind, saw it on paper as he composed it, but never heard it.

Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany, then moved around and eventually settled in Vienna. Here is a map of the state of Westphalia by Homann in 1710.  Bonn is center bottom.

Westphalia – Bonn Germany – Circa 1710 (Credit Steve Kovacs)

Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.

Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Fun with Maps here on Loveland Beacon.