The metaphor keeps unfolding in the coincidence of the U.S. presidential election and the run-up to the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, December 16. On Election Day, I think I heard our local classical music station play Beethoven’s 5th Symphony three times, even though I wasn’t paying close attention. Soaring and powerful, his 5th gained enduring association with resistance to and liberation from fascist oppression – and association with D-Day – when the BBC used the symphony’s first four notes on a kettle drum to begin each of its broadcasts to Nazi occupied Europe: fate knocking on the door, dot-dot-dot-dash, Morse code for the letter V – and for victory.
The counting of votes that continues, however, now brings to mind Beethoven’s Leonora Overture No.3 from his only opera, “Fidelio.” “Fidelio” is the love story of a devoted and determined wife’s fight to save her oppressed and imprisoned husband – or a great nation? – who faces execution. The overture begins in dark despair – metaphorically a red mirage? Then, a distant trumpet signals coming liberation – from Georgia? And soon, another still closer trumpet call – from Pennsylvania? YES!
Philip Padgett examines history by applying skills developed during 40 years of national security and preparedness research and analysis in the military, government, and the private sector. As Deputy Intelligence Adviser at the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, he supported from Washington teams negotiating five international treaties and agreements. Read more >>