The Fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 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 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 work, 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 choir 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 Theatre). This outstanding concert was broadcast in more than 20 countries.
Equally international were the illustrious and acclaimed vocalists June Anderson, Sarah Walker, Klaus König and Jan Hendrik Rootering.
“I feel this is the heaven-sent moment to sing “Freiheit” wherever the music indicates the word “Freude”. If ever there was a historic time to take an academic risk in the name of human joy, this is it, and I am sure we have Beethoven’s blessing.” - Leonard Bernstein
Blu-ray release of the successful DVD, digitally remastered, including extensive high-quality visual restoration.
Including an introduction by Bernstein’s biographer Humphrey Burton.