1st: "The very beginning of the first movement is a representation of chaos. It's like the universe before it formed. It takes a couple minutes before you sort of launch into form. It's all murky and mushy and then it's like the heavens catch on fire. It's the storm of creation."
Listen to first movement (188K MIDI file), or right-click to download)
2nd: "A lot of people say the second movement is kind of a dance movement where the power of creation comes back as farce. The first movement is a real representation of the heavens on fire. And the second movement, maybe it's more about creation by man. Beethoven wasn't a religious person, but he had a strong sense of the Creator, however you want to define it.
Listen to second movement (212K MIDI file), or right-click to download)
3rd: "The third movement is the slow movement. Beethoven was really committed to an idea of nature, and the third movement is about that perfection of nature."
Listen to third movement (84K MIDI file), or right-click to download)
4th: "The fourth movement is really interesting aside from the fact that it starts in a really weird way. He had to find a way to bridge these first 50 minutes of the piece, which is just instrumental, with text. And so he starts his fourth movement with noise and unpleasant sounds, and then each of the three previous movements pops its head in. You get a snippet of creation, and then a little snippet of the farce and then the noise, and then the nature. Then the baritone soloist comes in and says, 'Friends, no more sounds like this. We need something more beautiful.' He leads into the 'Ode To Joy.' It's interesting. It's kind of wild, and it's out there. But there's a reason why he's one of the most interesting composers ever."
Listen to fourth movement (312K MIDI file), or right-click to download)