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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Apparently Marin Alsop is going to fiddle with Beethoven's 9th to make it more relevant to Baltimore's culture. She hired a rapper to replace Schiller with more updated lyrics:

Live and love with open mind let our cultures intertwine.
Dig deep down, show what you're made of, set the tone it's time to shine.
We must fight for equal rights and share some common courtesy.
While pursuing all your dreams spread your joy from sea to sea.

Also, she's adding drumming between the first and second movements. Between the second and third movement, there is going to be a jazz ensemble.

https://slippedisc.com/2022/04/marin-alsop-explains-her-updates-to-beethovens-9th/
 

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Much ado about nothing.
Bernstein changed one word. Is that to be condemned.
I wonder hos many people listening to recordings or going to concerts actually know the entire meaning of the choral words at the end of LvB 9.
 

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Well, if I lived in Baltimore I would not be buying a ticket. I'd try to find a good Afro-jazz performance instead and just forget the Beethoven altogether.

And as always, Lebrecht leaves something important out. In the interview he quotes, Alsop says "The evening will begin with a new a cappella piece that’s composed by my friend Reena Esmail. It’s called 'See Me.' It’s really about the idea of joy. She went back to the original Sanskrit word for joy, which doesn’t just mean joy—it means love, life, marriage, like everything. Because that’s what joy is."

That seems like a much better use of everyone's time -- programming the ninth alongside newly commissioned works that react to it and its themes. But of course, commissioning and premiering new works takes more time and money than mucking about with the text and adding weird interstitials.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Do these "new" lyrics venture away from the spirit of LvBs reuse of Schiller.
I can't find the full text, but here are excerpts beyond the one I posted earlier:

Family, friends share your opinion, push for gender equality.
Be yourself don't judge too quick receive one another with open arms.
Oh this is our chance to unite, spread some genuine joy and charm.

Instead of Schiller's words
World, do you know your Creator?
Seek Him in the starry canopy!
Above the stars must He dwell.
They are replaced by:
Positive vibes for an ode to joy!
Rise, oh rise, be the voice of change,
We must show more empathy.
 

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It's a cheap ploy to be woke and show how hip you are. If the rapper wants to write a new poem and have someone set it to music with a great symphony, that's fine. But to ruin the artistic work and vision of one of Western Civ's undeniable greatest is not. But then, there are a lot of works where the words have been re-written to placate people, even some of Shostakovich's more flagrant Soviet-inspired ones. Right now I'm trying to calm down a nasty fight between a choral conductor and the orchestra conductor who can't agree on one simple word change in Battle Hymn of the Republic: is it "die" or "live"? That's why I like pure instrumental music so much: no lyrics to get wound up about.
 

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It's a cheap ploy to be woke and show how hip you are. If the rapper wants to write a new poem and have someone set it to music with a great symphony, that's fine. But to ruin the artistic work and vision of one of Western Civ's undeniable greatest is not. But then, there are a lot of works where the words have been re-written to placate people, even some of Shostakovich's more flagrant Soviet-inspired ones. Right now I'm trying to calm down a nasty fight between a choral conductor and the orchestra conductor who can't agree on one simple word change in Battle Hymn of the Republic: is it "die" or "live"? That's why I like pure instrumental music so much: no lyrics to get wound up about.
Unfortunately... Whenever the words " woke,cancel culture,virtual signaling " are used then this becomes political.

I ask the moderators to put this in the the political thread or just stop this thread.
 

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There's nothing intrinsically wrong with what Marin Alsop is doing. As a creative artist she has license to interpret a work as she sees fit, including commissioning a new text, augmenting the orchestration or adding entr'acte music. It won't be the first time a conductor has altered the orchestration of a symphony. Didn't Mahler, as well as others, do that?

It certainly isn't damaging Beethoven or the 9th symphony, and won't do any harm to the institution of "Classical music".

Some people will be turned off and won't attend, others will be interested and buy tickets. It might even attract new listeners to Classical music.

I don't see what the problem is.
 

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There's nothing intrinsically wrong with what Marin Alsop is doing. As a creative artist she has license to interpret a work as she sees fit, including commissioning a new text, augmenting the orchestration or adding entr'acte music. It won't be the first time a conductor has altered the orchestration of a symphony. Didn't Mahler, as well as others, do that?

It certainly isn't damaging Beethoven or the 9th symphony, and won't do any harm to the institution of "Classical music".

Some people will be turned off and won't attend, others will be interested and buy tickets. It might even attract new listeners to Classical music.

I don't see what the problem is.
I agree completely. I'm just pessimistic about it ultimately being any good. The new lyrics look frightful. And if you grant the premise that Beethoven's Ninth lacks relevance to a modern audience and this is a problem that needs to be solved, this just strikes me as a fifth- or sixth-best solution. There's nothing wrong with giving it a try, but whatever money is being funneled into this project could probably be better spent elsewhere.
 

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I agree completely. I'm just pessimistic about it ultimately being any good. The new lyrics look frightful.
They look okay to me; lyrics often appear mundane or worse on the page, divorced from the song. It will come down to the delivery. I suspect this performance has a goal to appeal to an audience that enjoys Hip-Hop. It may or may not achieve that goal. But in any event, I applaud Alsop's attempt.
 

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There's nothing intrinsically wrong with what Marin Alsop is doing.

[...]

I don't see what the problem is.
It's not a problem in general, but one puts oneself into a certain tradition one might not want to be associated with.
Just look up who first and foremost changed texts of famous musical works. In Germany they did it to Handel oratorios in the 1930s because "Judas Maccabaeus" didn't quite fit the ideology, to put it mildly, but they loved the heroism in general. And they did it later in the Eastern bloc to other pieces, often more harmlessly and often they weren't great lyrics to begin with, e.g. Beethoven's choral fantasy and some Handel (and maybe Bach) as well that was too christian or too laudatory of worldly monarchs.

As most people in the US wouldn't understand the original text anyway, this is a minor point. But I strongly dislike putting other stuff in between the movements. Gielen, a musician I otherwise have great respect for, put Schoenberg's "Survivor" in between movements of the 9th, IIRC.
What I dislike even more than the disruption of a great piece of music here is the condescension about the supposed "naiveté" of Beethoven and Schiller whereas we are now so much more realistic because of the Holocaust etc. (And this would also be the case if one programmed "Survivor" before the whole of the 9th symphony.)
First of all, people seem not have read the text and understood what a "conditional clause" is (Men become brothers under the condition of the "tender wing of joy", not automatically). Secondly, do they really think that people of the past who lived e.g. through the Napoleonic wars and the MUCH harder everyday life as far as child mortality, illnesses, treatments with no or little anaesthetics etc. was concerned lacked the experience of pain, war, death, horrible atrocities and were naive utopians?
 
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