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Music and MonumentalityCommemoration and Wonderment in Nineteenth Century Germany$
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Alexander Rehding

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195385380

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195385380.001.0001

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The Ninth at the Wall

The Ninth at the Wall

(p.197) Epilogue The Ninth at the Wall
Music and Monumentality

Alexander Rehding

Oxford University Press

As the Cold War ended in November 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall, this event was celebrated with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony as this best portrayed what German society was then experiencing — “Alle Menschen warden Brüder.” Bernstein, the media star who performed the symphony, replaced joy with freedom, and justified this action by referring to an unproven theory of Friedrich Ludwig Jahn about Schiller’s poem entitled “An die Freiheit.” This situation is only one of the many historical instances in which the political content of Beethoven’s Ninth was given much attention. This chapter looks into how, in the context of this historical trajectory, Bernstein was able to generate debates regarding fiction and culturally sanctioned truth.

Keywords:   Cold War, Beethoven, Ninth Symphony, German society, freedom, Schiller, An die Freiheit, Friedrich Ludwig Jahn

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