This comprehensive guide to the Ninth Symphony offers insight into more than just the composition and structure of Beethoven's monumental work. It explores the controversial realm of period instruments and performance techniques, and challenges old assumptions about the sound and meaning of the music. Levy surveys and distils the latest research on the Ninth Symphony - material inaccessible to most general readers - and sets forth the elements that give this composition its pre-eminence as a symphony and the artistic choices that make it a monument of Western music. Levy begins in the present with the recent performances and interpretations on the Ninth. He then moves back in time to Beethoven's day to chart the progress that led the composer to produce, over a ten year period, the finished manuscript in 1824. The heart of the book is a clear, concise examination of the music itself. Through musical examples and analytical charts, Levy illuminates the inner workings of the Ninth for scholars and devotees alike. He shows how the Ninth cast its long shadow on the 19th century, and explains why this work continues to move and inspire audiences today.