Prelude to Olympic Glory: Beethoven's "Ode to Joy"

As the world turns to London for the Games of the XXX Olympiad, join Classical New England for a live broadcast of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with its "Ode to Joy," from Royal Albert Hall in London.

1pm, Friday, July 27, live on Classical New England
Anna Samuil soprano
Waltraud Meier mezzo-soprano
Peter Seiffert tenor
René Pape bass
National Youth Choir of Great Britain
West–Eastern Divan Orchestra
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

In 1892, the founder of the modern-day Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin, said, "Let us export our oarsmen, our runners, our fencers into other lands. That is the true Free Trade of the future; and the day it is introduced into Europe the cause of Peace will have received a new and strong ally."

68 years earlier, Ludwig van Beethoven's setting of Friedrich Schiller's An die Freude in the Symphony No. 9, the "Choral" symphony, had established a similar world-view with the words

Joy, bright spark of divinity,
Daughter of Elysium,
Fire-inspired we tread
Thy sanctuary.
Thy magic power re-unites
All that custom has divided;
All men become brothers
Under the sway of thy gentle wings.

The spiritual and philosophical link between Beethoven's musical expression of faith in mankind and the Olympic movement's fostering of international peace through athletics is expressed on Friday at 1pm in a live concert broadcast from the BBC Proms with host Fred Child.

The expression comes through not only in the music itself, but also in the very existence of the orchestra performing it. The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra was founded by conductor Daniel Barenboim and the late Palestinian literary scholar Edward Said to bring together equal numbers of young Israeli and Palestinian musicians. In the spirit of both the Olympics and Beethoven's Ninth,

The only political aspect prevailing the West-Eastern Divan’s work is the conviction that there will never be a military solution to the Middle East conflict, and that the destinies of the Israelis and Palestinians are inextricably linked. Through its work and existence the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra demonstrates that bridges can be built to encourage people to listen to one another.

Learn more about the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.

Join us for this special broadcast on Friday at 1pm!

(photo of Olympic medals courtesy of London 2012)



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