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Beethoven 9th: Bigger than Christmas

Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is going off at Symphony Hall this weekend.

If Christmas is about peace on Earth and good will to all then Beethoven's setting of Schiller's poem fits well.

"Embrace each other now, you millions!

This kiss is for the whole wide world!

Brothers - over the starry firmament

A beloved Father must surely dwell.

Do you come crashing down, you millions?

Do you sense the Creator's presence, world?

Seek Him above the starry firmament,

For above the stars he surely dwells."

Beethoven's Ninth has become a symbol of unity in spite of its sundry history.

It was incorporated into the nationalism of The Third Reich as an example of German supremacy but the Ninth exceeds any context that is thrust upon it.

That holds true for contexts that we would consider to be positive such as the fall of the Berlin Wall, the creation of the European Union, Christmas, and a symbol of unity.

Beethoven's Ninth is its own master.

We all have holiday commitments but if you can find a way to get to Symphony Hall this weekend, go. Go experience the apex of Western Culture.

That's right, I said it. Beethoven's Ninth is the apex of European Culture. Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, Michelangelo's David, Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov, and Mozart's Magic Flute are contenders but Beethoven's Ninth stands apart.

Performances are Friday and Saturday night at 8:00 pm and Sunday at 2:30 pm.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IciKr8NUmKs

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Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is going off at Symphony Hall this weekend.

If Christmas is about peace on Earth and good will to all then Beethoven's setting of Schiller's poem fits well.

"Embrace each other now, you millions!

This kiss is for the whole wide world!

Brothers - over the starry firmament

A beloved Father must surely dwell.

Do you come crashing down, you millions?

Do you sense the Creator's presence, world?

Seek Him above the starry firmament,

For above the stars he surely dwells."

Beethoven's Ninth has become a symbol of unity in spite of its sundry history.

It was incorporated into the nationalism of The Third Reich as an example of German supremacy but the Ninth exceeds any context that is thrust upon it.

That holds true for contexts that we would consider to be positive such as the fall of the Berlin Wall, the creation of the European Union, Christmas, and a symbol of unity.

Beethoven's Ninth is its own master.

We all have holiday commitments but if you can find a way to get to Symphony Hall this weekend, go. Go experience the apex of Western Culture.

That's right, I said it. Beethoven's Ninth is the apex of European Culture. Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, Michelangelo's David, Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov, and Mozart's Magic Flute are contenders but Beethoven's Ninth stands apart.

Performances are Friday and Saturday night at 8:00 pm and Sunday at 2:30 pm.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IciKr8NUmKs

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Comments
3

I was good with your list until the Magic Flute. I think it's one of Mozart's sillier works. Pretty at times, but mostly pretty silly. If you had said Mozart's Requiem, I'd not have quibbled.

I'll quibble with the Mona Lisa, too. It's interesting because of the famous smirk. (Sister Wendy believes she's smirking at Da Vinci because she senses his homosexuality and consequent inability to understand her feminine nature.) But is it a contender for pinnacle of European culture. I think not. Now Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling, that is a very strong contender.

Speaking of Michealangelo, his Moses and Pieta are superior to the David.

Brothers Karamazov... no quibbles, though not my personal favorite.

You have painting, music, and literature, and sculpture on the list of contenders. Why no architecture? May I propose St. Peter's square and basilica?

Dec. 7, 2011

i would think as a gay (Michelangelo)would have completely understood the Mona Lisa's femininity

Dec. 8, 2011

I was thinking of including architecture but I'm not that well versed in it. I think a cathedral would have to be at the top of the list though--St. Peter's or maybe Westminster Abbey.

So far as Magic Flute goes, it does have that silly aspect but the O Isis und Osiris chorus sets it up there for me.

Mona Lisa? She's become an icon. It's the mystery--much like the opening bars of Beethoven's 9th--that make her different than the Sistine Chapel. The Sistine Chapel has a definite subject/topic. I've no issues with The Sistine Chapel, I just prefer the ambiguity!

Dec. 7, 2011

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