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Letters: Beethoven's Ninth Symphony

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Melissa Block and Audie Cornish read emails from listeners about the effect that Beethoven's Ninth Symphony has had on them.


Time now for your letters, and one correction. Last week, we reported on the Volcker Rule and its effect on community banks. Well, in our story, we mistakenly identified the president of Tioga State Bank as Richard Fisher. In fact, his name is Robert Fisher. Our apologies, Mr. Fisher.


Now to your letters.


BLOCK: On Tuesday, I spoke with Kerry Candaele who's turned his obsession with Beethoven's "Ninth" into a documentary film. It's called "Following the Ninth: In the Footsteps of Beethoven's Final Symphony." In it, Candaele tracks the "Ninth's" influence around the world, from Japan to China to Chile, where it became an anthem of solidarity. Women would sing it over prison walls to those who were inside being tortured.

Eric McDowell of Bellevue, Wash., writes this: I had just finished an eight-hour workshop on the things that divide us - racism, hatred and prejudice, to name a few. I got in my car to drive home, exhausted after such an intense day. As I turned on the radio to NPR, I heard the story on Beethoven's "Ninth Symphony" and was immediately moved and refreshed. It was wonderful to be reminded that despite our differences, despite all obstacles, music and beauty can unite us.

CORNISH: Betty Modin of Oakridge, Ore., was also touched by our story. After humming "Ode to Joy" while doing a few chores, she says she felt compelled to look up the words in the music her choir uses.

She writes: The last verse in the translation we use says it all: Mortals, join the mighty chorus which the morning stars began. Love divine is reigning o'er us, binding all within its span. Ever singing, march we onward, victors in the midst of strife. Joyful music lead us sunward, in the triumph song of life.

BLOCK: Thanks to all who wrote in, and please keep your letters coming. You can go to and click on Contact at the very bottom of the page.


CORNISH: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, from NPR News.

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