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NPR’s Ode to ‘Ode to Joy’ as ‘a Call to Action’ | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

NPR’s Ode to ‘Ode to Joy’ as ‘a Call to Action’

A Beethoven Flash Mob in Hong Kong, 28 July 2013

The Hong Kong Festival Orchestra performs at a local shopping center (Courtesy of Bill Moyers)

For two years I’ve been chronicling the influence of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony around the world in political and social protest—most recently, in Ukraine—so it was gratifying to find NPR’s All Things Considered airing a lengthy and excellent segment on this today, focusing on the “call to action” in the “Ode to Joy.”

The NPR segment focused on the new film I co-produced, Following the Ninth, including excerpts from the documentary and interview with the director Kerry Candaele. You can hear it here, where they’ve also posted the trailer for the movie and a link to the book on all this that I’ve written with Candaele. And here’s Bill Moyers’s recent segment on the film.

Following the Ninth reveals how students in Tiananmen Square and women in Pinochet’s Chile used Beethoven in their protests, and captures Leonard Bernstein playing the symphony to mark the fall of the Berlin Wall, Billy Bragg writing new right-on lyrics for the “Ode,” and more.

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Here are “Ode to Joy” flash mobs from around the world. And one I helped organize in Nyack, NY, last week.

Here’s the Moyers segment:

Read Next: When Leonard Bernstein and Beethoven celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall.

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