Visionary conductor Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra are performing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at David Geffen Hall on Monday, February 6. Get ready to experience this epic call for hope and unity by revisiting Friedrich Schiller's eternally relevant "Ode to Joy," as set by Beethoven and published here in English translation. The first three lines—intoned by the bass in the final movement—were penned by Ludwig himself as a preface.

O friends, not these sounds!
But let us raise our voices
together in joyful song.

 

Joy, divine spark of the Gods,
daughter of Elysium,
we come drunk with fire,
Goddess, to your sanctuary!
Your magic brings together
all whom earthly laws divide.
All mankind shall be brothers
where you spread your wings.

 

He who has had the fortune
to his friend a friend to be,
he that's won a noble wife,
let him now rejoice with us!
Yes, and he who another
soul does love like his own!
But he who does not shall steal
away weeping from our band!

 

All beings drink in joy
from Nature's breast;
all good and all evil
follow her rose-strewn path.
Kisses she gives us, and wine,
friendship faithful unto death;
joy of life the worm receives,
and the Seraph stands by God!

 

Joyful as the sun's rays that
course through heavenly expanse,
hurry, Brothers, on your ways,
joyful as a hero in triumph.

 

Joy, divine spark of the Gods,
daughter of Elysium,
we come drunk with fire,
Goddess, to your sanctuary.
Your magic brings together
all whom earthly laws divide.
All mankind shall be brothers
where you spread your wings.

 

Be embraced, you millions!
This kiss is for all the world!
Brothers, above the stars
surely lives a loving Father.

 

Do you kneel, O millions?
Do you fear your Creator?
Seek Him beyond the stars!
There He must dwell.

 

Joy, divine spark of the Gods,
daughter of Elysium,
We come drunk with fire,
Goddess, to your sanctuary.

 

Be embraced, you millions!
This kiss is for all the world!
Do you kneel, O millions?
Do you fear your Creator?
Seek Him beyond the stars!
Brothers, above the stars
surely lives a loving Father.

 

Joy, Daughter of Elysium,
your magic brings together
all whom earthly laws divide.
All mankind shall be brothers
where you spread your wings.

 

Be embraced, you millions!
This kiss is for all the world!
Brothers, above the stars
surely lives a loving Father.

 

Joy, divine spark of the Gods,
daughter of Elysium,
Joy, divine spark of the Gods!

— Friedrich Schiller (1785)