This lecture, originally scheduled to take place on February 9, will now be held on February 10 at 12:15pm.
A number of scholars in the 1990s lamented that we can no longer truly hear the Ninth, and exhorted us to listen with fresh ears. A recent radical rendition of Beethoven’s Ninth should make them prick up their ears: Leif Inge’s 9 Beet Stretch (2002), a digital installation stretching the sounds of a CD recording of the Ninth to a length of 24 hours. At this glacial pace, the phrases, motives, and rhythms of Beethoven’s music are almost unrecognizable. Is it in fact still the Ninth?
In this paper, Harvard Professor Alexander Rehding argues that this digital installation responds to a number of specific cultural and philosophical challenges of the turn of the millennium—temporality, monumentality, and selfhood. Not only is Leif Inge’s innovative 9 Beet Stretch an appropriate version of the Ninth for the digital age, for our time. What is more, its fundamental principle—which media theorists call “time axis manipulation”—can also be read as a parable of the pair shock/reverberation itself.