"Ode to Joy"

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Harper's discusses Friedrich von Schiller's famed "Ode to Joy" poem, the text sung in the fourth movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. As the author reminds us, Beethoven "knew the power of a dream, and he inspired millions with it, to the chagrin of his Hapsburg sponsors:"

Schiller's words are perfectly fused with Beethoven's music. It may indeed be the most successful marriage in the whole shared space of poetry and music. It is a message of striking universality which transcends the boundaries of time and culture. It is well measured in fact to certain turningpoints in the human experience.

The article includes YouTube clips of von Karajan conducting the Ninth, but--for some reason--not the obvious choice of Leonard Bernstein's Christmas 1989 performance (CD and DVD) of the symphony after the Berlin Wall fell. It would have been an especially appropriate choice considering Lenny's substitution of freiheit (freedom) for freude (joy) during that immortal performance.

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If there's every been a unifying work of art that draws all qualities human positive together it was/is the 9th.

I often think of Alex's masturbation fantasies in the film "A Clockwork Orange." Even when getting off to those images of destruction, it is through good old Ludwig Van that we're reminded of Alex's (and by extension, everyone's) humanity--not matter how buried it might be.

As an aside, I've been on a huge Patti Smith kick lately and immediately think of her pulling together poetry and music.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on November 12, 2008 11:38 AM.

Tom Tomorrow: The Future's So Bright I Can't Bear to Look was the previous entry in this blog.

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