chapter  2
9 Pages

Vox Humana: Choral Voices in the Nineteenth-Century Symphony

ByD. Kern Holoman

In hindsight one wonders, so obvious is the concept, why the symphony-with-chorus did not emerge sooner than Beethoven’s Ninth, in 1824. The means had been there all along. The oratorios of Handel and then Haydn coincide, after all, with the emergence of the public concert and the stand-alone symphony as its own genre. Any number of progressive composers-Spohr, Weber, Méhul-were concerned with subject and narrative, and might soon have discovered the same path. The pipe organ already had its vox humana.