What role has classical music played in reconciliation?

Catherine Bott marks the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago, and Remembrance Sunday. Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Classical Music, Sunday 9 November 2014, 9pm.

Music In Conflict

This week, to mark the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall exactly 25 years ago to the day as well as Remembrance Sunday, Catherine Bott asks the question: 'What role has classical music played in reconciliation?'

There'll be music inspired by themes of peace and unity from across the last 250 years, beginning with Handel who wrote the Music for the Royal Fireworks to celebrate the end of the War of the Austrian Succession and the signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748. 

Gallery: Music in conflict: 22 iconic images > 

Haydn wrote his Symphony No.45 in F sharp minor for his patron, Prince Nikolaus Esterházy, while he, Haydn and the court orchestra were at the Prince's summer palace. The stay there had been longer than expected, and most of the musicians had been forced to leave their wives back at home in Eisenstadt, so in the last movement of the symphony, Haydn subtly hinted to his patron that perhaps he might like to allow the musicians to return home: during the final adagio each musician stops playing, snuffs out the candle on his music stand, and leaves in turn, so that at the end, there are just two muted violins left. Esterházy seems to have got the message: the court returned to Eisenstadt the day following the performance. 

Catherine also features Leonard Bernstein 's recording of Beethoven 's mighty Choral Symphony , performed as part of the Berlin Wall concert in 1989. 

And there's a chance to hear the great Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich playing Dvorak 's Cello Concerto in 1968 at the Royal Albert Hall as Soviet tanks invaded Prague. His moving performance was seen by many as a prayer for peace. 

The programme finishes with the 'Libera Me' from Britten’s War Requiem, commissioned to inaugurate the rebuilt Coventry Cathedral in 1962. The soloists were intended to be a Russian soprano, an English tenor and a German baritone.

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