My former teacher/mentor and friend, Kerry Candaele, is working on a documentary about Beethoven's 9th Symphony, and he is gathering stories about the 9th from around the world.
If you have a story about Beethoven's 9th, or have heard an interesting version of it from your part of the world, please take a moment to share it on the website: http://www.followingtheninth.com/home.html
Here's my story (which I've already offered to Mr. Candaele, but unfortunately he can't use it as I don't have a way of making a digital recording): It's safe to say I have Beethoven's 9th stuck in my head a good part of every day. My brother calls a snatch of music stuck in one's head an 'earworm.' I find this fitting. But why the 9th? Schools in Istanbul generally don't use bells to mark the periods. Instead, they use bits of music. The primary school near my flat uses the main chorus from Beethoven's 9th as their 'bell.' It's slightly off-key, totally lacking any proper syncopation, and sounds like it's being played on a synthesizer from the very early 80s. The reason it's always stuck in my head is that it plays through the first few measures, then suddenly cuts off in the middle. All day. Every day. It's maddening.