Wagner great-grandson objects to Berlin Wall event music


(JTA) — Composer Richard Wagner’s great-grandson criticized the music chosen to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall because it includes a composition by his "anti-Semitic" great-grandfather.

Gottfried Wagner said in a statement that the decision to incorporate the "chauvinistic war-mongering music of the militant anti-Semite Wagner" denigrated the historic importance of the date, the German news agency DPA reported.

Israeli pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim is leading Monday’s performance at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate and is set to lead the orchestra in the prelude to Wagner’s “Lohengrin” alongside Arnold Schoenberg’s “A Survivor from Warsaw.”

Wagner said the prelude to “Lohengrin” was a particularly poor choice given that it leads up to a scene in the opera about “a militant vision of a German national state.”

The music reportedly was chosen to evoke memories of other Nov. 9 anniversaries, including Kristallnacht in 1938, when Nazis destroyed Jewish homes, shops and synagogues throughout Germany.

Officials slated to attend the event include host German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who grew up in the former East Germany; U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; British Prime Minister Gordon Brown; French President Nicolas Sarkozy; and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.  

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