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Beethoven duet : a genius of our own: the GDR and DEFA’s Beethovens Frackman, Kyle May 31, 2014

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A Genius of Our Own: The GDR and DEFA’s Beethovens • Beethoven Duet  • A DVD Release by the DEFA Film LibraryA Genius of Our Own: The GDR and DEFA’s BeethovensBy Kyle FrackmanFrom before its inception in 1949, the German Democratic Republic (GDR) pictured itself—in contrast toits West German neighbor—as the natural heir to the pantheon of German-speaking “humanistic artists.”This concept of its cultural inheritance (Erbebegriff) was rooted in conversations that had taken place duringthe war among Soviet and German exile “Marxists” in Moscow.1 Back in Germany, the concept was put intooperation in July 1945 with the founding of the Kulturbund zur demokratischen Erneuerung Deutschlands,whose mission was to “rediscover” and promote the “liberal humanistic, true national tradition of ourpeople.”2 Two films—Ludwig van Beethoven (1954, dir. Max Jaap, documentary) and Beethoven – Tage auseinem Leben (Beethoven – Days in a Life, 1976, dir. Horst Seemann, feature film)—illustrate this overarchingcultural drive within the GDR; but they also served somewhat divergent purposes because of the differenttimes at which they appeared. These works arise out of two distinct and consequential periods of GDR cultural and political history, and strive toward related yet different goals, which are indicative of how theGDR and East Germans understood themselves and their contemporaries. Each film delivers a Beethoven ofits own, one that reflects the period in which it appeared, even as it served the historical and cultural goal ofilluminating the GDR’s heritage. Following the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, cultural impulses of nostalgia for the East (Ostalgie) and a“reworking” of the East German past—including labelling it as a “dictatorship” or autocratic state, andunderstanding its relationship to the FRG—have demonstrated that this nation, its history, and culturallegacy cannot be readily or easily dismissed. Although it is not the focal point of this essay, controversiessurrounding GDR history remain and testify to the fraught political nature of engaging with its cultural products.3 Arguably, this issue remains especially relevant in any discussion of GDR literature, film, music,and other arts because of the role played by East German cultural policy. It was not inevitable  that worksproduced in the GDR would or could be counted among the treasured greats of German (-language) culturalheritage. The resounding question mark hanging at the end of the title of Klaus Finke’s 2001 collection DEFA-Film als nationales Kulturerbe? (transl. DEFA Films as National Cultural Heritage?), for example, is but oneillustration of unresolved debates that had been simmering for some time, but became more relevant in thewake of German (re-)unification.4Immediately after World War II, the GDR dedicated itself to emerging from the abyss of war, both materially and culturally. One part of this project was to honor the cultural “greats” in a manner that wouldadd to its national credibility and legitimacy. Thus, for instance, the country prioritized plans to celebrate the200th anniversary of Johann Sebastian Bach’s death (Todestag) in 1950.5 This impulse extended into earlynewsreels and documentaries commemorating the birth and death anniversaries of several canonical cul -tural figures, including artists, musicians, composers, and writers.6 In a way, this cultural project was drivenby necessity, as Julian Blunk has argued: the GDR was a nation and society without a pedigree, a completelynew creation arising from the Soviet Occupation Zone.7While the rush to commemorate cultural icons could have been seen as (and perhaps seems, in retro-spect) a misappropriation of dearly needed resources—material and otherwise—it came to hold a level ofimportance that might be difficult for contemporary audiences to understand. Toby Thacker, who has inves -tigated the varied uses and appearances of music in Germany in the first decade and a half after the war,1A Genius of Our Own- The GDR and DEFA’s Beethovens_The Flying Dutchman  06.05.14  08:16  Seite 1writes: “For a shocked and overwhelmed German population, music offered a locus of refuge, a space forcontemplation and consolation. Bach and Beethoven above all seemed important at this time, a lifeline toanother Germany and to eternal values.” Thacker also notes that this implicit need on the part of Germanscoincided serendipitously with the Allied “scramble for the cultural high ground.”8 Already in 1945, concerts,open to all classes and segments of society, regardless of being able to purchase a ticket, proceeded tobring music to a German population that the Allies were trying to entice away from the morass of NationalSocialism.9A pattern was established in 1950, as state and cultural apparatuses joined to honor Johann SebastianBach. Thacker has charted West and East German activities and plans surrounding the Bach Year of 1950,showing what he calls “a contest for ownership of Bach, and by extension, the whole classical tradition ofGerman culture.”10 More specifically, through the trendsetting celebration in 1950 and those following it,historically and politically important cultural content was transmitted in the GDR, including to the much-praisedtypical East German worker. Moreover, these celebrations provided an opportunity to renegotiate musicaland cultural history. Thus, the structure and interpretive strategies of the events in 1950 were reproduced insubsequent years for other composers: Beethoven (1952), Handel [the Handel Festival (Händel Festspiele),begun in 1952, continues today], Schubert (1953), and Mozart (1956).11 Composers such as these were depicted as essential to an understanding of “German national character.” As Wilhelm Girnus, an official inthe Ministry of Higher and Technical Education, asked in 1951: “What after all would remain of our Germannational character without our folk tales, without our folk sagas (Faust, etc.), without the oratorios of Bach,without Beethoven’s ‘Ninth,’ without the poetry of Goethe, without his ‘Wilhelm Meister,’ without the wood-cuts, drawings and etchings of Dürer?”12Beethoven thus played an important organizing role for early GDR society, as he has in numerous othercontexts, nations, and time periods.13 Declarations of admiration for great artists, peppered with polemicalattacks on the “American cultural barbarians” (die amerikanischen Kulturbarbaren), highlighted the democraticpotential—indeed, the necessarily revolutionary understanding—of important artistic figures like Beethoven,and the ways in which the Germans’ superior cultural understanding could overcome the “cosmopolitanattempts at disruption” (kosmopolitische Zersetzungsversuche) by Americans and their jazz.14Through her reading of Georg Lukács’ understanding of history and its proponents, Elaine Kelly hasexamined the ways in which Romantic composers and their works—unlike literary and philosophical figuresof the Romantic period—found acceptance in what would become the socialist canon and were not consignedto a neglected cemetery of things irrelevant to the socialist worldview.15 Kelly notes that these composerscould not immediately be appropriated for socialist/state purposes, however, as the intensely individualisticand artistically tumultuous worldview of Romanticism was problematic by default, disconnected as it wasfrom a view of society as a collective enterprise.16 This began to shift by the early 1970s, however, with therise of a new postwar generation of composers.17 Kelly describes the ways in which Beethoven’s workswere selected to suit the needs of the GDR’s socialist-realist narrative, especially in the 1950s and ‘60s. EastGerman critics preferred Beethoven’s middle period; but even this segment of Beethoven’s oeuvre was sampled with selective attention to detail. Contradictions in Beethoven’s style, his thematic choice of material,and his own estimation of the (lack of) importance of some of his “trivial” and more bourgeois works all yielded inconsistencies in official reverence for this ostensibly pure, democratic genius.18By the late 1970s, the official version of what had transpired in the early years of the GDR glorified the2A Genius of Our Own: The GDR and DEFA’s Beethovens • Beethoven Duet  • A DVD Release by the DEFA Film LibraryA Genius of Our Own: The GDR and DEFA’s BeethovensA Genius of Our Own- The GDR and DEFA’s Beethovens_The Flying Dutchman  06.05.14  08:16  Seite 2cultural work undertaken by the revolutionary survivors of war. Tracing a theoretical genealogy back to the1930s, a collective of authors explains, in Musikgeschichte der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik 1945-1976 (transl. Music History of the German Democratic Republic 1945-1976) that from the start the GDR hadprioritized the project of uniting workers and creating a unifying and edifying cultural policy and program.19Ostensibly, the development of music history and the role of music in the GDR “found their main driving forcein the development of socialist musical-cultural circumstances, [that is,] in the gradual overcoming of thosecontradictions within the artistic process that had emerged in the formation of bourgeois society and con -tinue to have an effect in the transition to socialism/communism.”20 Some of this involved the education ofthe East German people, demonstrating that the works of J.S. Bach, for instance, contributed to the democraticedification of the populace. The class position of some of the creators of the great, canonical works of art also posed a temporaryproblem for the GDR’s socialist ideology, however. Beethoven’s artistic production, for example, was largelysupported by the patronage of aristocratic circles, whose existence was far removed from the average EastGerman, as well as the common socialist ideal.21 Beethoven’s connections to the upper echelons of societywere never merely ignored in the hope that no one would notice, however. Instead, film critics and the film-makers themselves addressed the issue more or less directly, positing that Beethoven never assimilated andthus maintained his independence.22 Numerous means were used to achieve an appropriate image of theartist in question, allowing the GDR’s cultural and political leaders, as well as its citizens to appreciate theworks without a betrayal of class and culture weighing on their conscience. Most of these means involvedchoices in how to structure the narrative of a commemoration to portray the cultural greats in the best possible light. Given changes in the political and cultural climate of the GDR over the course of more than two de -cades, it is important to situate Ludwig van Beethoven and Beethoven – Days in a Life in their respectivecontexts, as each film was doing cultural and social work in relation to how Beethoven was interpreted in itsday. In its early years, the GDR was quick to commemorate whatever important figures it could, in order toshift attention from the country’s (and the region’s) post-war recovery, as well as offer evidence of the fledglingnation’s legitimacy. Music was a crucial means by which the GDR could reach its goal, for—as EducationMinister Paul Wandel wrote to Walter Ulbricht, the leader of the GDR until 1971—“music was an internationallyunderstood language and one that could be exploited to reach out to a wider international audience.”23Released in 1954, Max Jaap’s acclaimed Beethoven documentary, Ludwig van Beethoven, arrived close onthe heels of the war. Already in a 1952 position statement, the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Partyof Germany (SED, the GDR’s ruling party) had made clear its commitment to honoring Beethoven as a pivotalfigure in the development of German culture. Marking Beethoven’s 125th Todestag, the GDR positioned itselfopposite the “American imperialists,” who were supposedly threatening to wage another war, while poisoningand destroying the natural fraternal bonds and cultural heritage linking East and West Germans.24 Importantideological bases for the official commemoration of Beethoven included that he “descended from a simplepeople” and that the significance of his work emerged from its creator’s “struggle for revolutionary goals.”25Jaap’s documentary is a splendid film that reflects both contemporaneous DEFA productions and EastGermany as a nascent state. In many ways, the film resembles other works produced by DEFA around thistime. The style mimics episodes of Der Augenzeuge (Eyewitness)—the East German newsreel for over thirtyyears—of which Jaap had been an editor and director. Ludwig van Beethoven was very well received, both3A Genius of Our Own: The GDR and DEFA’s Beethovens • Beethoven Duet  • A DVD Release by the DEFA Film LibraryA Genius of Our Own: The GDR and DEFA’s BeethovensA Genius of Our Own- The GDR and DEFA’s Beethovens_The Flying Dutchman  06.05.14  08:16  Seite 3in the GDR and internationally, and two years later Jaap directed a similar film about the German literaryicon Friedrich Schiller. Politically, Jaap’s film seems to have two purposes: first, to present Beethoven’s bio-graphy while habilitating him for East German ideological and political purposes; and second, to offer ashowcase for GDR and Soviet musical talent and the 1952 Beethoven celebrations. Highlights of the filminclude a screenplay by author Stephan Hermlin, skilled camerawork by A.M. Draeger, Harry Kadoch,Wolfgang Müller-Senn and Erich Nitzschmann, and stellar performances by five music ensembles: the BerlinStaatskapelle, the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Leipzig Radio SymphonyOrchestra, and the Moscow State Beethoven Quartet.26The majority of the film is spent delivering a third-person look back at Beethoven’s world. The viewersees buildings and rooms in which Beethoven lived and worked, and historic illustrations including paintings,drawings and engravings. These images convey quite well the different settings in which Beethoven grewup, studied, thought and composed. The views we gain of the German and Austrian countryside provide uswith (usually unsubtle) literal and figurative representations of the composer’s mental and emotional state;the occasion of a carriage ride to a residence at which he will be able to work, for instance, shows us atranquil summer day with calm breezes blowing through trees, while star-crossed love delivers dark cloudsand violently rushing rivers. The film also affords glimpses into Beethoven’s domestic environment with shorttours of important rooms, like those in the house of his birth, often with tracking shots that maneuver throughdoorways or move along bookshelves, in one case leading up to an imposing bust of the composer himself. Surprisingly—and in striking contrast to the Seemann film—here Beethoven’s deafness is almost coin -cidental; it is simply not a focal point or one of the biographical milestones toward which the film’s narrativebuilds. One might consider this to be one of the many interesting things about Beethoven, especially in thathe composed so much majestic music at what would naturally seem to be a physiological and technical dis -advantage. Instead, in Jaap’s documentary Beethoven’s political leanings and philosophical beliefs becomehighly important. The film also showcases (although not explicitly) the 125th Todestag celebrations and themusical abilities of East Bloc ensembles. The concert performances are skilled and well executed. The finalsequence—which shows one of the frequent concerts for “the people,” i.e. laborers and factory workers—is slightly less impressive in its presentation, as several of the attendees unfortunately seem to be slightlyuninterested. In discussing the related genres of the genius film (beginning in National Socialist cinema) andthe artist film, Sabine Hake observes that the protagonists of these earlier films illustrated the position of the“great man” within society, often articulating his greatness through patriotism and nationalism and simul -taneously showing his extraordinary disconnection from his contemporaries.27 Part of a cult of classicism or,more generally, of humanistic heritage, these films served implicitly and explicitly to bolster and provide evidence for the state’s commitment to German culture. Hake remarks that they successfully “confirmed therelevance of the classics for the present,” but simultaneously “contributed to grandiose self-representationsof the political leadership and its manipulation of the humanistic legacy.”28 In both these senses, the ostensiblegoal of Jaap’s Ludwig van Beethoven—to connect Beethoven’s biography and musical production to thecontemporary East German state—was a success.Made more than twenty years later, Horst Seemann’s 1976 feature film, Beethoven – Days in a Lifeappeared amid portentous changes in GDR cultural policies. In the early 1970s, what had been a somewhatfearful cultural atmosphere in the latter half of the 1960s—following the 1965 Eleventh Plenum of the SED’sCentral Committee and its hostile criticism and censorship of artists, including the banning of a dozen4A Genius of Our Own: The GDR and DEFA’s Beethovens • Beethoven Duet  • A DVD Release by the DEFA Film LibraryA Genius of Our Own: The GDR and DEFA’s BeethovensA Genius of Our Own- The GDR and DEFA’s Beethovens_The Flying Dutchman  06.05.14  08:16  Seite 4films—apparently began to clear. The start of the new decade signalled an era in which there were to be“no taboos” in socialist art and literature, according to the 1971 declaration of the new General Secretary ofthe SED, Erich Honecker. But cultural policies soon began tightening up again and the year that Seemann’sbiopic was released also saw the momentous and notorious expatriation of the critical East German singer-songwriter Wolf Biermann. Seemann’s Beethoven arrived as part of a 1970s wave of so-called heritage films (Erbefilme) that took astheir subjects material from the most cherished periods of the classical heritage of the German-speakinglands: the Classicism and Romanticism of the eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries.29 Heritage filmswere part of a resurgence of these motifs and a reconnection to earlier interest in these artists, as theimpulse evident when Jaap made his documentary had waned by the early 1970s. By the time Seemannmade his film, the motivation for using such classical material was different.30 In the first half of the 1960s—after the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961—filmmakers had set out to create films that were more critical and contemporary in their focus. Seán Allan quotes the DEFA script editor Klaus Wischnewski, whowrote in Neues Deutschland in 1966: “Now that the border has been made secure, at last we can get downto the business of intensifying the critical aspect of our cinema.”31 While the cinematic work of the 1950s hadbolstered the GDR’s cultural legitimacy and socialist genealogy (with, for example, films on Schiller and ErnstThälmann, respectively), the cinema of the 1960s increasingly led to friction with the SED leadership becauseof the prevalence of controversial social issues in the films. This tension rapidly curtailed the tolerance ofthe post-Wall environment, leading to the banning of a number of films. In the 1970s, then, as the pendulumswung back to historical motifs, it was in part because it allowed filmmakers to escape censorship, whilealso thematizing an estrangement that some felt in East German society. The so-called artist films (Künstlerfilme) of 1970s and 1980s East German cinema can be linked to bothdomestic and international political and cultural considerations. Allan understands the proliferation of thisgenre to be a particular expression of the “alienation of the individual” within GDR society, noting Seemann’sBeethoven film, as well as Konrad Wolf’s Goya (1971) and Der nackte Mann auf dem Sportplatz (1973, TheNaked Man on the Athletic Field), Egon Günther’s Lotte in Weimar (1975), and Lothar Warneke’s Addio, piccolomia (1978).32 Allan argues that Wolf’s films, especially, were significant in “demythologizing” the artist andher/his position in society, as well as the social function served by artistic creation and the place of works ofart in socialist life.33 These issues appear in Beethoven – Days in a Life as well. Most commentaries andreviews remark that the film is not a “normal artist biography.”34 Instead, the collaboration betweenSeemann and screenwriter Günter Kunert produced “an attempt to make a contribution to the discussion onthe freedom of art and artists.”35 The Beethoven we see in Seemann’s film is a flawed human, without doubta genius, but troubled and difficult in his complexity. To be sure, this feature film in no way attempts the goals of a documentary and offers a kind of contrastto Jaap’s film in style and content. Its use of selected motifs, structure, and formal elements delivers its narrative in a way that truly allows us to experience the effects of the multiple-Beethoven phenomenonextant in the GDR (and elsewhere). Thus, Beethoven – Days in a Life comes to be a glorification of individuality,unique genius, and artistic creation or inspiration.36 Naturally, perhaps, Seemann’s film resembles Jaap’s inits delight in Beethoven’s music. In both, skilled performers highlight Beethoven’s artistic productivity andtimeless appeal. In Seemann’s film, we hear from the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the DEFA SymphonyOrchestra, the Berlin Staatskapelle, the Suske Quartet and the Central Orchestra of the National People’sArmy. At various points we hear the Symphony No. 3 (“Eroica,” Op. 55), the Symphony No. 5 (Op. 67), the5A Genius of Our Own: The GDR and DEFA’s Beethovens • Beethoven Duet  • A DVD Release by the DEFA Film LibraryA Genius of Our Own: The GDR and DEFA’s BeethovensA Genius of Our Own- The GDR and DEFA’s Beethovens_The Flying Dutchman  06.05.14  08:16  Seite 5Piano Sonata No. 8 (“Pathétique,” Op. 13) in a solo performance by Dieter Zechlin, and the Symphony No. 9(“Choral,” Op. 125). Interestingly, when the latter film was released, the GDR was already making preparati-ons for the 1977 celebration of Beethoven’s 150th Todestag, an event that again featured performances andspeaking dignitaries. The Beethoven we encounter in Seemann’s film, portrayed by Lithuanian actor Donatas Banionis, seemsto be at the opposite end of the spectrum from the Beethoven in Jaap’s film. While there are certainly con-trasting traits, however, the two Beethovens in this “duet” are dual sides of the same East German coin.Although never devoid of emotion, the elevated, highly ideological workaholic Beethoven of the 1950s hasbecome a more fully realized and dynamic character. Unlike the protagonist of Jaap’s film, Seemann’sBeethoven is mercurial, difficult, and chaotic. The deafness that affects his life and artistic production playsa contrastingly large role in this narrative. We often see Beethoven with an ear trumpet as he tries, some -times in frustration, to listen to his interlocutors. From his inability to keep a long-term housekeeper, to thedisruptive montages that show his love relationships and mental and emotional inner workings, this laterBeethoven does not allow the viewer to merely sit back and revel in the time-honored estimation of themusic. Still considered a national treasure in the GDR (as he is by many of his Viennese contemporaries inthe film), this composer is more tragic and flawed, delivering a vivid picture of his subjective experience. Some of the differences between the two Beethovens are to be expected, given the different aims of thetwo films. Jaap’s film is a documentary linked explicitly to an official commemoration with a national “mar -keting” goal. Seemann’s is a fictional work arising in a different cultural and artistic context, at a time whenthe individual was growing estranged from socialist society. And yet there are also similarities. Seemann’sBeethoven is not one to ingratiate himself with his noble patrons; instead he remains, as in Jaap’s film, the“people’s Beethoven” in his explicit and oft-expressed appreciation of representative government and popu-lar sovereignty, as well as basic material needs, such as household accounting and socks that need darning.Referring throughout to other icons of German cultural heritage, such as Kant and Goethe, Beethoven strivesfor equality, as does the noble sentiment of the conclusion of his Ninth Symphony, borrowed from FriedrichSchiller: all men become brothers (Alle Menschen werden Brüder!) [sic].37 There are also unintended simi -larities between the films. As in Jaap’s featured concerts for the (somewhat disinterested) common worker,Seemann shows us the simultaneous connection and disconnection between fellow humans, for example inthe juxtaposition of toiling fieldworkers with well-dressed gentlemen strolling in the gardens of SchönbrunnPalace. In the end, though, the viewer is left with Seemann’s image of Beethoven plodding down the streetamid bustling traffic in busy 1970s Berlin: the talented, individualistic genius with strongly held principles,misunderstood and alone in society. Max Jaap’s Ludwig van Beethovan and Horst Seemann’s Beethoven – Days in a Life draw us into twofascinating time periods and enable us to witness for ourselves their respective negotiations and uses ofBeethoven as an important German cultural figure. Testifying to the evolving social and cultural developmentof the GDR, Jaap’s documentary and Seemann’s biopic engage with an astounding amount of historical baggage and cultural expectations. Each of their resulting Beethovens must be seen as serving a sociallydiscursive purpose. But while both Beethovens shared the task of celebrating the canonical German heri -tage, Jaap’s revolutionary and less nuanced genius, on the one hand, and Seemann’s temperamental artist,on the other, deviate from each other in their cultural resonances, demonstrating the composer’s lasting versatility. 6A Genius of Our Own: The GDR and DEFA’s Beethovens • Beethoven Duet  • A DVD Release by the DEFA Film LibraryA Genius of Our Own: The GDR and DEFA’s BeethovensA Genius of Our Own- The GDR and DEFA’s Beethovens_The Flying Dutchman  06.05.14  08:16  Seite 6Kyle Frackman has been an Assistant Professor of Germanic Studies at the University of BritishColumbia since 2012. He has written numerous articles and book contributions and is the author of the forth-coming book An Other Kind of Home: Gender-Sexual Abjection, Subjectivity, and the Uncanny in Literatureand Film. Frackman, whose recent research focuses on classical music in DEFA film and transsexuality infilm, is also co-editing Classical Music in the German Democratic Republic (Camden House).__________________________1.  David Pike, The Politics of Culture in Soviet-Occupied Germany, 1945-1949 (Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press, 1992), 457.2.  Maike Steinkamp, Das unerwünschte Erbe: Die Rezeption “entarteter” Kunst in Kunstkritik, Ausstellungen und Museen der SowjetischenBesatzungzone und der frühen DDR (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2008), 87.3 . David Clarke and Ute Wölfel, eds., Remembering the German Democratic Republic: Divided Memory in a United Germany (Houndmills,Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).4 . Klaus Finke, ed., DEFA-Film als nationales Kulturerbe?, Beitra ̈ge zur Film- und Fernsehwissenschaft, Bd. 58 (Berlin: Vistas, 2001).5. Toby Thacker, “‘Renovating’ Bach and Handel: New Musical Biographies in the German Democratic Republic,” in Musical Biography: TowardsNew Paradigms, ed. Jolanta T. Pekacz (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006), 17–41.6.  Seán Allan, “Representations of Art and the Artist in East German Cinema,” in DEFA at the Crossroads of East German and International FilmCulture: A Companion, ed. Marc Silberman and Henning Wrage (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2014), 93.7.  Julian Blunk, “Auferstanden aus Ruinen: Die Konstruktion kultureller Traditionen einer traditionslosen Gesellschaft im Wiederaufbaufilm der SBZ,”in Contested Legacies: Constructions of Cultural Heritage in the GDR, ed. Matthew Philpotts and Sabine Rolle, Edinburgh German Yearbook 3(Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2009), 7–29.8.  Toby Thacker, Music after Hitler, 1945-1955 (Aldershot, England ; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2007), 30.9.  Ibid., 70.10. Ibid., 127.11. Ibid., 148.12. Wilhelm Girnus, “Wo stehen die Feinde der deutschen Kunst?,” in Dokumente zur Kunst-, Literatur- und Kulturpolitik der SED, ed. Elimar Schubbe(Stuttgart: Seewald Verlag, 1977), 170–77.13. For more on the history of Beethoven reception, see Hans-Joachim Hinrichsen, “Beethoven und die Nachwelt,” in Beethoven Handbuch, ed. SvenHiemke (Kassel: Bärenreiter/Metzler, 2009), 574–609.14. “Zum 125. Todestag Ludwig van Beethovens am 26. März 1952: Stellungnahme des Zentralkomitees der Sozialistischen EinheitsparteiDeutschlands,” Musik und Gesellschaft, no. 3 (1952): 74.15. Elaine Kelly, “Composing the Canon: The Individual and the Romantic Aesthetic in the GDR,” in Contested Legacies: Constructions of CulturalHeritage in the GDR, ed. Matthew Philpotts and Sabine Rolle, Edinburgh German Yearbook 3 (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2009), 199.16. Ibid.17. Ibid., 200.18. Ibid., 201–02.19. Heinz Alfred Brockhaus and Konrad Niemann, eds., Musikgeschichte der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik, Sammelbände zurMusikgeschichte der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik 5 (Berlin: Verlag Neue Musik, 1979), 2.20. Ibid., xv.21. Allan, “Representations of Art and the Artist in East German Cinema,” 95.22. Brigitte Thurm, “Rätsel der Genialität: Zum Film ‘Beethoven – Tage aus einem Leben,’” Film und Fernsehen, September 1976, 29.23. Paul Wandel to Walter Ulbricht, November 24, 1949, DY 30/J IV 2/3/70, Stiftung Archiv der Parteien und Massenorganisationen der DDR imBundesarchiv, Berlin.24. “Zum 125. Todestag Ludwig van Beethovens,” 72.25. Ibid.26. Probably because the performances we hear and watch in the film come from those surrounding Beethoven’s 125th death anniversary (1952), wedo not hear the DEFA Symphony Orchestra in this film, although it had been constituted the same year as the celebration.27. Sabine Hake, German National Cinema, 2nd ed. (London: Routledge, 2002), 79.28. Ibid., 145.29. Daniela Berghahn, “The Re-Evaluation of Goethe and the Classical Tradition in the Films of Egon Günther and Siegfried Kühn,” in DEFA: EastGerman Cinema, 1946-1992, ed. Seán Allan and John Sandford (NY: Berghahn Books, 1999), 222.30. Ibid., 224.31. Seán Allan, “DEFA: An Historical Overview,” in DEFA: East German Cinema, 1946-1992, ed. Seán Allan and John Sandford (NY: Berghahn Books,1999), 11.32. Ibid., 15–16.33. Allan, “Representations of Art and the Artist in East German Cinema,” 101–02.34. Frank-Burkhard Habel, Das große Lexikon der DEFA-Spielfilme (Berlin: Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf, 2000), 57–58.35. “den Versuch, einen Diskussionsbeitrag zur Freiheit von Kunst und Künstlern zu geben.” Habel, Frank-Burkhard. Das große Lexikon der DEFA-Spielfilme. Berlin: Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf, 2000. 57–58.36. Thurm, “Rätsel der Genialität: Zum Film ‘Beethoven – Tage aus einem Leben,’” 29.37. Other humanist references are made in glimpses the viewer gets of German pages from Homer’s Odyssey and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.7A Genius of Our Own: The GDR and DEFA’s Beethovens • Beethoven Duet  • A DVD Release by the DEFA Film LibraryA Genius of Our Own: The GDR and DEFA’s BeethovensA Genius of Our Own- The GDR and DEFA’s Beethovens_The Flying Dutchman  06.05.14  08:16  Seite 7


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