Saturday, November 8, 2014

Top Singers Commemorate The Fall Of Berlin Wall 25th Anniversary

UPDATE 11/10/2014: Jonas Kaufmann was replaced by heldentenor Klaus Florian Vogt as seen in the photo below. Watch the finale of the performance from Sunday evening by clicking here.
The Brandenburg Gate Quadriga
On November 9, 2014, conductor Daniel Barenboim will step onto the podium in front of the Brandenburg Gate to conduct the Staatskapelle Berlin in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Berlin Wall falling. Soloists will include Renée Fleming, Elīna Garanča, Jonas Kaufmann, and René Pape. "The performance is part of a three-day, city-wide celebration of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, which includes a 15 kilometer Lightgrenze, or Light Frontier, from the Wall Memorial to the Brandenburg Gate. The Lightgrenze, by artist Christopher Bauder and filmmaker Marc Bauder, comprises 8,000 illuminated white balloons, each with its own story and patron. The installation also includes large-screen projections of historical film collages, along with guided tours and public exhibits. Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin’s performance will coincide with the release of the 8,000 balloons as they sail above the German capital. The performance will be broadcast on ARD and rbb beginning at 6.50 p.m. CET. Tell the world about your experiences of witnessing the fall of the Berlin Wall and what the Peaceful Revolution of 1989 means to you today. Use the hashtags #fallofthewall25 or #fotw25 on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and your message will appear in the virtual web portal here." [Source]
As we look back to that historic moment in 1989, let's remember the concert that marked the original event: "On December 25, 1989, Leonard Bernstein gave a concert in Berlin celebrating the end of the Wall, including Beethoven's 9th symphony ('Ode to Joy') with the word 'Joy' (Freude) changed to 'Freedom' (Freiheit) in the lyrics sung." The quartet of soloists were comprised of singers from around the world: soprano June Anderson, mezzo-soprano Sarah Walker, tenor Klaus König, and bass Jan-Hendrik Rootering. Conductor Leonard Bernstein led a chorus and orchestra was comprised of members from the Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Rundfunkchor Berlin, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks & Members of the
American soprano June Anderson and British mezzo-soprano
Sarah Walker singing at the historic event in 1989.
Staatskapelle Dresden, Orchestra of the Kirov Theatre, London Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris. "The fall of the Berlin Wall on November 1989 unleashed a wave of democratisation in Central and Eastern Europe that radically transformed the world order. In a typically grandiose yet eloquent gesture, Leonard Bernstein spontaneously accepted an invitation to conduct a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony to celebrate this freedom....In a typically grandiose yet eloquent gesture, Bernstein spontaneously accepted an invitation to conduct a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony to celebrate this freedom. It was only fitting that East Germany’s new-found freedom should be celebrated with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. The monumental works, perhaps the world’s most famous Symphony, was inspired by Schiller's poem “Ode to Joy”, a passionate paean to freedom. Adding to the symbolism of the event, Bernstein conducted an orchestra and chorus formed of musicians from both East and West Germany (Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden), as well as the United States (New York Philharmonic), Great Britain (London Symphony), France (Orchestre de Paris) and the Soviet Union (Orchestra of the Kirov
Polish-born and German raised tenor Klaus König and
German-born of Dutch ancestry bass Jan-Hendrik
Rootering sing Beethoven for Bernstein.
Theater). Recorded at the Schauspielhaus, Berlin, December 25, 1989, the German label Deutsche Grammophon would commemorate the event by issuing multiple CD versions with different title and one limited edition copy that contained a piece of the Berlin Wall for collectors. "The Berlin Wall (German: Berliner Mauer) was a barrier that existed between 1961 and 1990, constructed by the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany) starting on August 13, 1961, that completely cut off (by land) West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin until it was opened in 1989. The barrier included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, which circumscribed a wide area (later known as the 'death strip') that contained anti-vehicle trenches, 'fakir beds' and other defenses. The Eastern Bloc claimed that the wall was erected to protect its population from fascist elements conspiring to prevent the 'will of the people' in building a socialist state in East Germany. In practice, the Wall served to prevent the massive emigration and defection that marked East Germany and the communist Eastern Bloc during the post-World War II period....In 1989, a series of radical political changes occurred in the Eastern Bloc, associated with the liberalization of the Eastern Bloc's authoritarian systems
Lucky collectors were able to get a recording of the
event with a piece of the Berlin Wall inside
and the erosion of political power in the pro-Soviet governments in nearby Poland and Hungary. After several weeks of civil unrest, the East German government announced on November 9, 1989, that all GDR citizens could visit West Germany and West Berlin. Crowds of East Germans crossed and climbed onto the wall, joined by West Germans on the other side in a celebratory atmosphere. Over the next few weeks, euphoric public and souvenir hunters chipped away parts of the wall; the governments later used industrial equipment to remove most of what was left. Contrary to popular belief the wall's actual demolition did not begin until Summer 1990 and was not completed until 1992. The fall of the Berlin Wall paved the way for German reunification, which was formally concluded on October 3, 1990." [Source, Source] Watch the finale of that historic concert from 25 years ago, and see the different packaging for the DG recordings, after the jump.

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