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.