The Ninth Symphony was presented by Ludwig van Beethoven on May 7, 1824 in Vienna. At the conclusion of this epic work, the audience broke out in tumultuous applause. Oblivious to the uproar, Beethoven stood on the stage with his back to the audience. A soloist had to gently turn Beethoven around for him to see the ovation he had earned.
Now, almost two centuries later, music lovers still hum the theme from the symphony's fourth movement, "Ode to Joy". It was the Ninth Symphony that the composer Leonard Bernstein chose to play as the Berlin Wall fell and East and West Germany were reunited in peace and friendship. In Japan, performances of the Ninth Symphony are reserved for the most sacred religious rites.