Beethoven’s Ode to Joy is probably the most misused musical tune ever. It was Hitler’s birthday song as well as the official hymn of the European Union. The artists duo Allora & Calzadilla let the tune be played by a pianist standing in a hole cut in the middle of a grand piano. The last movement of Beethoven’s 9th symphony also incorporated a – at that time – fashionable turkish melody of militaristic background, that is played by the musician moving with the piano around his or her hip in the gallery’s room. In another work, “clamor“, classical musicians play fragments of war tunes of recent eras that the two artists collected from various archives. Musicians playing their instruments like rifles through the slits in bunkers leaves a strong impression one hardly forgets. You can watch a video of the performances here.
Update: the New York Times writes about a recent exhibition of Allora & Calzadilla at Gladstone in NY Chelsea here.