20. June 2022 · Comments Off on Beethoven in Beijing · Categories: Books, Reviews

This is a quick, “I really should post about this now” kind of entry because I was offered a copy of this book about the Philadelphia Orchestra’s trip to China in 1973 quite a while back. I immediately wrote back to say “yes, I’d love to read it!”, as it sounded so interesting … and it is. But I’ve been neglectful in posting, and of course the reason the book was sent to me was so I could promote it.

These days going to China isn’t as huge a thing (although I’ve never been), but I remember when my husband’s aunt went shortly after things opened up. It was a gigantic deal. This book covers the tour with interesting little tidbits and interviews and I highly recommend it.

The issues with music, music choices, and the disagreement over playing Beethoven’s 6th (I had no clue Eugene Ormandy didn’t like the work before reading this) are covered along with so much more. Reading about the history and the rules about what could or could not be played and heard in China is fascinating. (I did have some parents who talked to me about growing up there when things were very restricted in so many ways — If one wore something resembling bell bottoms someone with a scissors would come and cut up the bottom of the pant legs!)

I have yet to finish the book (I’m a slow reader!), and I think I’ll go spend some more time with it right now.

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