FANTASIA IN C MINOR: FINALE Ludvig van Beethoven
Commonly known as the Choral Fantasy (opus 80), this work
was introduced to the world under extraordinary circumstances. Beethoven had
been ruminating about a massive orchestral work involving a choral finale, many
years before he did the ultimate in that area with his Ninth Symphony.
In a single evening in December of
1808 — a concert lasting more than
four hours — he premiered the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies,
a lengthy piano improvisation, a concert aria, movements from the Mass in C,
the Piano Concerto #4, and this Fantasia. The expense
of rehearsing so much music had left no money in the budget to heat the hall;
what audience remained at the end might simply have been too cold to get out of
The Choral Fantasy came last on the program, having been designed to end the evening on a triumphal note. Beethoven had been overwhelmed, barely finishing the orchestral and choral parts in time for the event; during the performance, he improvised the piano part at the keyboard himself. Having had inadequate rehearsal, the work collapsed in a horrific mess, humiliating both composer and orchestra. Even so, in its debut setting, the piece must have captured a sense of culmination and celebration. Today, it makes an excellent choice for closing programs of a particularly festive nature.
In Part III (the finale), there are three long passages during
which the piano is normally inactive. Those combined 84 measures comprise
nearly half the movement; yet this is is supposed to be a
activity. To that end, I have converted the silent sections to
"piano-optional" modules by adding the accompaniment from the
"mini" version of this work for chorus and piano only. As the notes
are duplicated in the orchestra, the performer can choose what to play or not play
in these areas.
In the sheet music, the four choral parts have been combined onto
two staves, to save space. The chorus itself is simulated by MIDI
#53: Choir Aahs.
The MP3 playback file has a 1-measure, 4-note lead-in.
|Choral Fantasy .mid||preview (5:08)||113 kb|
|Page 1||41 pages total||143 kb|
|Piano part, page 1||7 pages total||264 kb|
|Choral Fantasy-orch & chorus .mp3||Orchestra & Chorus||4.8 mb|
|Choral Fantasy-sheet music .zip||48 pages in pdf format||1.3 mb|
|Choral Fantasy .zip||2 MIDI files,
3 Finale 2005 files,
2 XML transportable files