Friday, March 16, 2007

Beethoven 9 on Youtube

My music appreciation classes are finally starting to understand what we have been talking about for half a semester, so I thought for a treat I would play them this recording (boy, was I thrilled to find a film of it on youtube) that Leonard Bernstein made of Beethoven's Ninth on December 12 1989 in the Berlin Schauspielhaus right after Berlin Wall came down. The musicians are from the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Kirov Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and the Orchestre de Paris. The soloists are June Anderson, Sarah Walker, Klaus Konig, and Jan-Hendrik Rootering. Schauspielhaus Berlin, 25-12-1989. ) Notice that they changed the words in the last movement from "Freude" (joy) to "Freiheit" (freedom).

Here is some of last movement:

Before I came across the Bernstein video, I happened upon a film of a portion of a performance of the Ninth that Furtwangler did in 1942. I do not want to link to because it really gave me the creeps. You can search for it yourself if you are curious.

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Anonymous said...

I just got a Google Alert that led me to your blog entry about Wilhelm Furtwangler. I'm finishing a documentary film about him, so, by now, I know a lot about the period. The clip you're talking about dates from April of 1942 and the Big Time Nazi who shakes WF's hand is/was Josef Goebbels, the Minister of Propaganda. As you said, this is really creepy footage. How this footage was supposed to make Germans feel good about the war is hard to figure out. Maybe the thinking was, "Look, how can we be losing the war if our finest musicians are still able to perform the Beethoven Ninth?" But there isn't a happy face in the hall and the grotesque shots of wounded soldiers are depressing as Hell. For what it's worth, the conductor, Wilhelm Furtwangler, used his position to help people get out of Germany and protect people who couldn't. Most people don't know this and heavy-handed "prestige" films like "Taking Sides" don't help . He was considered some sort of Nazi sympathiser because he decided to stay in Germany. He aided or saved over an hundred people so he was probably stunned to find his reputation smeared for doing the right thing.

Bradleigh Stockwell

Elaine Fine said...

Bradleigh, I would love to be able to see your documentary about Furtwangler when it is available. Could you let me (and anyone who might read this post) know the specifics about the documentary and when/how it will be available to see?