In a mixture of cantata and concert piece, Beethoven set a hymn to art in his Choral Fantasy. The work, about 20 minutes in length, is often seen as a precursor to the Ode to Joy in the 9th Symphony. After a piano introduction, a dialog between piano and orchestra develops in the space of just 400 measures, before the soloists and chorus enter for the last 200 measures. (If necessary, the solo parts can be sung by members of the chorus or a semi-chorus.)
In the main section, headed "Finale" (beginning with the double basses and celli), the theme from Beethoven’s early song Gegenliebe (WoO 118, also used in the Ode to Joy) is presented, varied and finally used in the "March" in F major.
The main source of the Choral Fantasy for the edition is the first edition of the parts, published in 1811 and corrected by Beethoven; alongside this an English edition of the parts published by Clementi (1810) has been consulted for comparison. The edition contains an English singing version in a translation by Natalia Macfarren from the 19th century.