Thursday, December 25, 2008

Beethoven's Ode to Freedom

On December 25, 1989, Leonard Bernstein gave a concert in Berlin celebrating the end of the the Berlin Wall. The centerpiece was the performance of Beethoven's 9th symphony (Ode to Joy) with the word Freude "Joy" changed to Freiheit or "Freedom" in the choral fourth movement. When Schiller wrote the original poem, to dedicate it to Freedom had been his intent. But out of fear that his use of Freiheit would be seen as support for the Napoleon, he changed his subject to the less controversial Freude.

According to Wikipedia, the orchestra and chorus for the 1989 Christmas concert were drawn from both East and West Germany, as well as the United Kingdom, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States. Enjoy this special Christmas treat available at YouTube. Here is part I of the fourth movement, with the chorus beginning in part II:


Dr. Psycho said...

One of the fondest memories I have from that time, watching that concert with my wife. We were in tears by the end, knowing that Europe was free, confident that Russia would soon follow, and most of all, knowing that the looming spectre of nuclear war was receding, after a lifetime of hanging over the world's shoulder.

Anonymous said...

video no work