Kerry Candaele was a historian and a rocker, and he had ample interests to keep him busy for a lifetime of research study and writing and filming and recording. He had been a Hofstadter Fellow at Columbia University and had composed a book about the Great Migration; work had taken him from the Middle East to East Asia and back once again; he had dealt with documentaries as varied as A League of Their Own (upon which the subsequent Cent Marshall feature film was based), Iraq for Sale, and Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price. He had actually released 2 rock albums, Gas Cash and Icarus Descending.
Then one day he slipped a CD into the car stereo, took an increase the California coast, and discovered Beethoven.
There is a difference in between understanding Beethoven and discovering Beethoven. The very first is a matter of cultural literacy; the 2nd is a sort of secular conversion experience. That day, with the Pacific to his left and the California cliffs to his right, Candaele heard nuances in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony that his rock ‘n’ roll ears had previously been unready to hear. “It was the 3rd motion that drew me into Beethoven’s world,” Candaele composed in his 2013 book, Journeys with Beethoven. “I discovered in the adagio and finale an incredible revelation: Here was a music as moving as my cherished rock and soul, as effective as the Who’s ‘Baba O’Riley,’ as tender and touching as Otis Redding’s ‘These Arms of Mine.’ I had actually discovered another stunning need to feel totally alive.’
That drive launched Candaele on an obsessive search for two objectives. Initially, he aimed to discern the psychological roots of Beethoven’s remarkable capability to at the same time communicate distress and hope. Second, as a historian, he looked for to check out the methods which the power of the Ninth has touched other individuals in other societies– particularly in minutes when they, like Beethoven himself, were searching for hope in the face of loss.
The result was the documentary Following the Ninth: In the Footsteps of Beethoven’s Last Symphony, which informs the story of the Ninth’s impact in four critical moments of historical crisis: throughout the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, when the households of political prisoners sang the Ode to Happiness outside the prison where their loved ones were being tortured; at the Berlin Wall, where, as the Wall fell, Leonard Bernstein carried out the Ninth, changing the “Ode to Happiness” to the “Ode to Liberty”; at Tiananmen Square, where protesters played the Ninth over loudspeakers to hush the Communist Celebration propaganda being piped into the square; and in Japan, where more than 5,000 vocalists and artists gathered to perform the Ninth in the wake of the awful 2011 Tsunami.
Following the Ninth, directed by Candaele and story-produced by UNLV journalism teacher Greg Blake Miller, has actually been screened in more than 250 cities all over the world. It has actually shown at Lincoln Center in New York and at Rome’s House of Movie theater. The movie has actually been featured on NPR’s All Things Thought about and on PBS’s Moyers and Company, where Costs Moyers said, “The movie is beautiful and powerful … If millions could experience its verifying and incandescent message, we may turn around the harmful characteristics that are frustrating the earth.”