Deafness doesn't prevent composers from hearing the music. It prevents them from hearing the distractions.
— Terry Pratchett
The Ninth manages to, in fifteen notes, define joy itself.
"Ever since I can recall, the first association that springs to anyone's mind when serious music is mentioned is "Beethoven". When I must give a concert to open a season an all-Beethoven program is usually requested. When you walk into a concert hall bearing the names of the greats inscribed around it on a frieze, there he sits, front and center, the first, the largest, the most immediately visible, and usually gold-plated. When a festival of orchestral music is contemplated, the bets are ten to one it will turn out to be a Beethoven Festival. What is the latest chic among you neo-classical composers? Neo-Beethoven! What is the meat and potatoes of every piano recital? A Beethoven sonata. Or of every quartet program? Opus one hundred, et cetera. What did we play in our symphony concerts when we wanted to honor the fallen in war? The Eroica. What did we play on V-day? The Fifth. What is everybody's farewell concert? The Ninth. What is every Ph.D. oral exam in music school? Play all the themes you can from the nine symphonies of Beethoven! Beethoven!"
— Leonard Bernstein, The Joy of Music