Really, there's no such thing as “the Germans.” The independent regions in central Europe took a long time to come together. “Two souls, alas, are dwelling in my breast,” sighed the torn national “hero,” Faust, immoral and at the same time, thirsty for knowledge. This split self-consciousness accompanies German history, both in its productivity and its destructiveness. But it's precisely out of these contrasts that artists developed their ideas.
In her musically illustrated journey of sound, ARD cultural journalist Corinna Hesse uses information, original texts and music from two millenia to create a complete picture out of pieces in a mosaic. The CD tells how Luther and Kant revolutionised thought and beliefs. Bach, Beethoven and Wagner influenced musical history in Europe just as Albrecht Dürer, Caspar David Friedrich or the Weimar Bauhaus influenced art, architecture and the sphere in which we live. In the “zero hour” following World War II, input from writers and artists sparked a critical debate with contemporary history – and aided the discovery of identity in a divided and then reunited Germany. With profundity and irony, artists today still reflect the Germans' search for cultural identity in a pluralistic society.
1. The forged heavens: Star-gazing in the Bronze Age
2. In the enemy's mirror – Roman writer Tacitus invents “Germania”
3. Woden's Journey: The Merseburg charms and the Song of Hildebrand
4. Organised education: Charlemagne and the cultivation of the “Germans”
5. Beautiful illusion and bloody business: The troubadour Walther von der Vogelweide and the Song of the Nibelungs
6. The burning God: Mystical love poetry and the Isenheim Altar
7. Of literary fools and fallen angels: Sebastian Brant and Albrecht Dürer
8. The power of words and the subservient freedom of a Christian: Martin Luther
9. Voices of the people: the Mastersingers and the tragic end of Doctor Faustus
10. Tears of the Fatherland and the satire of Simplicissimus: The Thirty Years' War
11. Everything according to measures and numbers: The harmonious cosmos from Kepler to Bach
12. Maxims of the will: King Frederick the Great of Prussia – and a great philosopher in the distance
13. Human drama: Lessing's Nathan and Goethe's Faust
14. Beggars become princes’ brothers – Friedrich Schiller and Ludwig van Beethoven
15. Drawings and miracles: A mermaid at the cliffs and an abbey amidst the oak trees
16. The curse of gold: The Communist Manifesto and Wagner’s Ring Trilogy
17. The master race and the vassal
18. Tatooed bellies and the School of Vision – Dadaism in Berlin and Bauhaus in Weimar
19. Hard times for tin drummers – or: Let's elect another people!
20. Of tabletop fountains and hobby gardeners: Germany after reunification