Ted's Piano World *

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 their chairs.

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 piano-oriented 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 definition #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 total143 kb
Piano part, page 1 7 pages total264 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
629 kb

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