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Thursday, December 25, 2014


Maestro Leonard Bernstein at the podium at the beginning of the Christmas Day Freedom
Concert in East Germany, 1989
The Berlin Wall had just crumbled a few weeks before Leonard Bernstein arrived in Germany’s newly united capital.  The Maestro was there to conduct an all-star collection of orchestras and choruses entitled “Berlin Celebration Concert of Freedom, Christmas Day 1989.”
Leonard Bernstein,
Christmas Day, 1989
in the newly former
East Berlin

The YouTube capture of  one segment of the concert—Beethoven’s 9th Symphony-- is a bit grainy and the sound is well--it is history we are watching and listening to--n’est-ce pas?

Performed in the Schauspielhaus, which was destroyed in WWII then rebuilt from 1977 on.  In 1994 it was renamed Konzerthaus Berlin.

Note: Bernstein changed one word in Schiller’s “Ode to Joy” poem to “Freiheit” (freedom) from freude (joy) for this night only.  Bernstein said the change was inspired by the remarkable events of the moment.

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