Beethoven's Ninth: A Political History / Edition 1

Beethoven's Ninth: A Political History / Edition 1

2.0 1
by Esteban Buch
     
 

ISBN-10: 0226078248

ISBN-13: 9780226078243

Pub. Date: 04/01/2004

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Who hasn't been stirred by the strains of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony? That's a good question, claims Esteban Buch. German nationalists and French republicans, communists and Catholics have all, in the course of history, embraced the piece. It was performed under the direction of Leonard Bernstein at a concert to mark the fall of the Berlin Wall, yet it also serves

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Overview

Who hasn't been stirred by the strains of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony? That's a good question, claims Esteban Buch. German nationalists and French republicans, communists and Catholics have all, in the course of history, embraced the piece. It was performed under the direction of Leonard Bernstein at a concert to mark the fall of the Berlin Wall, yet it also serves as a ghastly and ironic leitmotif in Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. Hitler celebrated his birthdays with it, and the government of Rhodesia made it their anthem. And played in German concentration camps by the imprisoned, it also figured prominently at Mitterand's 1981 investiture.

In his remarkable history of one of the most popular symphonic works of the modern period, Buch traces such complex and contradictory uses—and abuses—of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony since its premier in 1824. Buch shows that Beethoven consciously drew on the tradition of European political music, with its mix of sacred and profane, military and religious themes, when he composed his symphony. But while Beethoven obviously had his own political aspirations for the piece—he wanted it to make a statement about ideal power—he could not have had any idea of the antithetical political uses, nationalist and universalist, to which the Ninth Symphony has been put since its creation. Buch shows us how the symphony has been "deployed" throughout nearly two centuries, and in the course of this exploration offers what was described by one French reviewer as "a fundamental examination of the moral value of art." Sensitive and fascinating, this account of the tangled political existence of a symphony is a rare book that shows the life of an artwork through time, shifted and realigned with the currents of history.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226078243
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
04/01/2004
Edition description:
1
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
878,384
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: The States of Joy1
Part I.The Birth of Modern Political Music
1God Save the King and the Handel Cult11
2La Marseillaise and the "Supreme Being"26
3The Ode to Joy and the Emperor's Anthem45
4Beethoven and the Concert of Europe66
5The Ninth Symphony87
Part II.Political Reception of the Ode to Joy
6The Romantic Cult111
7The 1845 Ceremony at Bonn133
8The Ninth in the Era of Nationalist Movements156
9The 1927 Centenary178
10Beethoven as Fuhrer201
11From Year Zero to the European Anthem220
12From Apartheid's Anthem to the Dismantling of the Berlin Wall243
Conclusion: Criticism and Future of a Dream263
Acknowledgments269
Notes271
Bibliography305
Index317

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