A choral symphony
is a large musical composition
, generally including an orchestra
, a choir
, which adheres to some extent to the tenets of musical form
for a symphony
in its internal workings and overall musical architecture. The term "choral symphony" in this context was coined by Hector Berlioz
when describing his Roméo et Juliette
in his five-paragraph introduction to that work. The direct antecedent for the choral symphony is Ludwig van Beethoven
's Ninth Symphony
. The Beethoven Ninth incorporates part of the Ode an die Freude
("Ode to Joy
"), a poem by Friedrich Schiller
, with text sung by soloists
and a chorus
in the last movement. It is the first example of a major composer using the human voice on the same level with instruments in a symphony
. While Berlioz, Felix Mendelssohn
and Franz Liszt
followed in Beethoven's footsteps, it was with the advent of the 20th century that the choral symphony seemed to come into vogue, with notable works by Benjamin Britten
, Gustav Mahler
, Sergei Rachmaninoff
, Dmitri Shostakovich
, Igor Stravinsky
and Ralph Vaughan Williams
, among others.
Wilhelm Richard Wagner (; German pronunciation: [ˈʁi.çaʁt ˈvaɡ.nɐ]; 22 May 1813, Leipzig, Germany – 13 February 1883, Venice, Italy) was a German composer, conductor, theatre director and essayist, primarily known for his operas (or "music dramas", as they were later called). Unlike most other great opera composers, Wagner wrote both the scenario and libretto for his works.
Richard Wagner was born at no. 3 ('the House of the Red and White Lions'), the Brühl, in Leipzig, on 22 May 1813, the ninth child of Carl Friedrich Wagner, who was a clerk in the Leipzig police service. Wagner's father died of typhus six months after Richard's birth, following which Wagner's mother, Johanna Rosine Wagner, began living with the actor and playwright Ludwig Geyer, who had been a friend of Richard's father. In August 1814 Johanna Rosine married Geyer, and moved with her family to his residence in Dresden. For the first 14 years of his life, Wagner was known as Wilhelm Richard Geyer. Wagner may later have suspected that Geyer was in fact his biological father, and furthermore speculated incorrectly that Geyer was Jewish.
Geyer's love of the theatre was shared by his stepson, and Wagner took part in his performances. In his autobiography, Wagner recalled once playing the part of an angel. The boy Wagner was also hugely impressed by the Gothic elements of Weber's Der Freischütz. In late 1820, Wagner was enrolled at Pastor Wetzel's school at Possendorf, near Dresden, where he received some piano instruction from his Latin teacher. He could not manage a proper scale but preferred playing theatre overtures by ear. Geyer died in 1821, when Richard was eight. Consequently, Wagner was sent to the Kreuz Grammar School in Dresden, paid for by Geyer's brother. The young Wagner entertained ambitions as a playwright, his first creative effort (listed as 'WWV 1') being a tragedy, Leubald begun at school in 1826, which was strongly influenced by Shakespeare and Goethe. Wagner was determined to set it to music; he persuaded his family to allow him music lessons.