Above the Stars
2020 sees the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. It is also the year that the UK left the European Union. Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s 9th symphony has been used as a European anthem since 1972. It expresses the ideals of a united Europe: freedom, peace and solidarity.
In 2017, members of the Scottish National Party whistled and then sang the Ode to Joy theme during a vote at The House of Commons in protest against Brexit. The theme has now become something of an anti-brexit anthem. Numerous musicians have gathered in Westminster’s Parliament Square to play the melody in protest.
“Scotland’s 62% vote to remain in the EU counted for nothing. Far from being an equal partner at Westminster, Scotland’s voice is listened to only if it chimes with that of the UK majority. If it does not, we are outvoted and ignored.” – Nicola Sturgeon
Above the Stars is a snippet of text taken from the English translation of Ode to Joy. It nods to the 12 stars of the European flag, the number 12 being the symbol of perfection and entirety.
Written as part of The London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Young Composers’ Scheme 2019/20 for the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Foyle Future Firsts and conductor James MacMillan.
Instrumentation Genre Ensemble (with conductor)
Duration 4 minutes
Performances of this work
- James MacMillan, Tuireadh
- Anna Clyne. Overflow (SCO commission, World Premiere)
- Sonic Bites: Crystalline Unclear