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Volume 10 • Number 1

Spring 2003



Ode to Europe

by Sanna Pederson

Esteban Buch. La neuvième de Beethoven: Une histoire politique. Bibliothèque des Histoires. Paris: Gallimard, 1999. 364pp.

With La neuvième de Beethoven: Une histoire politique, Esteban Buch adds to the important recent work dealing with the reception of Beethoven's music. His topic is most similar to that of David Dennis, who in his 1996 book, Beethoven in German Politics, 1870–1989, presented English-language readers with a wealth of documentation showing the importance of Beethoven for German nationalism. Like Andreas Eichhorn's Beethovens Neunte Symphonie: Die Geschichte ihrer Aufführung und Rezeption from 1993, Buch focuses exclusively on the Ninth Symphony. As these books and others make contributions to our understanding of how this music has been received, we become increasingly aware of the immensity of the task. No one could even aspire to comprehensive treatment of the subject. All these studies must be read, despite some overlap of material, in order to try to put together what will still be an unfinished puzzle. And of course, it is not merely a question offending the missing pieces; in documenting the various aspects of Beethoven reception, the authors interpret in different ways the texts and events they consider.

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