Friday, June 25, 2010

a memorable bit of Outdoor Beethoven—

having recently come back from a short week in Berlin, I got into a little discussion about Beethoven and other symphonists—along with the great conductors—on one of the wine boards.
Something that's worth recycling:

Berlin, Germany—9 November 2000

the country had seen in prior weeks an ugly spate of Turk-beatings and gay-bashings—a nasty trend toward skinhead violence. So the city of Berlin laid-on an official demonstration against Facism.

in the early dark I found myself among 200,000 other individuals gathered in Boulevard Unter den Linden, clear and cool.

Paul Spiegel, president of the Central Jewish Council, delivered a stirring address—blew a lot of lazy people's shit away, actually—
in memory of the Kristallnacht Pogrom of 9 November 1938.
Dr. Spiegel went on to point out—and people did not stop talking about this for a good while—that if one were truly opposed to violence against minorities, whether distinguished by colour, nation, sexuality or religious heritage, it became incumbent upon the individual to speak up and object whenever—at the dinner table or in the bar—jokes or stories were told making fun of this or that group, because in these seemingly innocent anecdotes lay the potential seeds of violence and murder.

nearly a quarter of a million people shoulder-to-shoulder while a great orator laid it on real thick...

and when the shouting died down at the end of Spiegel's address, there, on the bandstand in front of the Brandenburg Gate—
the Stadtskapelle Berlin, Daniel Barenboim on the podium.
—the four strokes of doom that open Beethoven's middle symphony.
this, ladies and gentlemen, was electric.
and in the finale, the excitement grew to nearly overwhelming.
Whoever coined the phraselet "to beat the band" must've had Barenboim in mind...