Is Beethoven the "greatest composer in musical history"?
Is his Ninth Symphony his greatest masterpiece ?
What would one think of this great work, if one could hear it today for the first time?
No one can tell, of course, for the Ninth received its first public performance almost exactly 100 years ago (May 7, 1824) under peculiarly dramatic circumstances. The Master had spent years of agonized effort on its composition; it was to be the crowning achievement of his career. An orchestra and chorus had finally mastered the...