Published: August 2015
Beethoven's music is the most frequently played of a classical composer in China today. First introduced to China in 1906, he inspired intellectuals like Lu Xun, who considered him a role model for dedication and aesthetic taste, and aspiring musicians. As a man who refused to bow to royalty, Beethoven was celebrated by the Communist Party in the early days of the revolution before he was banned for composing bourgeois music in the cultural vacuum of the 60s and 70s. After the Cultural Revolution and the death of Mao, 'Beethoven fever' would sweep the country, presaging his present-day popularity. Melvin and Cai explore the vicissitudes of Beethoven's legacy in China, and the changing politics of the 20th century and its oscillating affiliation with Western classical music.