Documentary (52 min)

Music was the language of angels, Thomas Carlyle said, and Leo Tolstoi wrote, music was a stenography of emotion. But can music be political? Comparing music to other forms of art, like film or painting, music seems sublime. Yet, already in the 19th century, composers like Wagner and Verdi agitated for a political emancipation of Germany and Italy, and today, too, many famous musicians get entangled in political affairs, from Daniel Barenboim to Valery Gergiev, from Gabriela Montero to Anna Netrebko to Gidon Kremer. The documentary film with the title „Macht der Musik. Musik der Macht." (“The Power of music – the music of power”) is embarking on a search for the political aspects in classical music. We get to know how music got infected by nationalism that made Europe and the world plunge into two world wars. We experience the forces that Shostakovich during Stalinism and Furtwa¨ngler in the Third Reich were confronted with. And we see how music again and again was misused by those in power. But most importantly, we find out why politically active musicians today think they should be heard beyond the music they play.

Produced by Accentus Music/WDR/ARTE