ELCS6060 – Hearing Culture(s): Contextualised soundscapes of Europe (1770-1914)
1. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony As Ideological Or Political.
If there is one piece of music that has been discussed and used more than any other is Beethoven’s ninth Symphony. From political meetings to sport matches, Beethoven’s piece has been used for all kinds of purposes and by a wide variety of people, and it always seems to be supporting whatever ideas whoever uses it has. In this essay I intend to deepen into the various ideological and political environments in which the piece has been played and to explain why it has been a reference for several different ideologies and ideas, especially focusing on the 20th Century.
After a seven-year hiatus, including the war, in 1953 a significant number of the most important politicians in Europe gathered together in West Germany to hear the re-opening of the Bayreuth Festival. The piece played that night was Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and it doesn’t seem to be a random choice. The last of Beethoven’s symphonies seems to appeal to all kinds of people in all ideologies. The Ode To Joy in the last movement of the piece talks about brotherhood and harmony among all people. This message can be approached from any point of view and still make it support one’s ideologies. In this occasion it was seen as a celebration of the new unified Western Europe after the