After World War II and the following Cold War, Germany was separated into two states. Only four decades later, the Fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 led to the longed-for unity. Such an event must, of course, be celebrated and remembered. The Fall, however, occurred on the same date as the pogroms against Jews throughout Germany and Austria. Thus it was decided instead to establish a national holiday on the third of October, the date in 1990 on which the German Democratic Republic joined the Federal Republic of Germany.

Instead of donning heels and tie for an official commemorative event, we have had a look into music events at that time and put together a playlist of works that were written in those two historic years, both in Germany and abroad.

Enjoy this musical trip into the past and have a nice bank holiday!

One of those many works composed in 1989 was Klaus Hubers String Trio Des Dichters Pflug (The Poet's Plough).

In the following year, Alfred Schnittke completed his Concerto No. 2 for Cello and Orchestra.



When looking at German musical history of the last decades, works by composers such as Hans-Werner Henze and Karlheinz Stockhausen must, of course, feature too! This is Peter Sheppart Skaerved performing Henze's Für Manfred:

And here is Katinka Pasveer playing Stockhausen's microtonal Ypsilon:


Casting our view beyong German borders and to Great Britain, we spot Sir Peter Maxwell Davies completing his Fourth Symphony in the year the Berlin Wall fell.

This was also the year in which Salvatore Sciarrino wrote Il silenzio degli oracoli.

That music of this time can sound entirely different, much older, too, is shown by Arvo Pärt's Magnificat, which was also composed in that very same year:


This list only offers a glimpse of the enormous wealth of compositions created on those two years. Which piece do you particularly associate with those historic events? Share your favourites on Facebook and Twitter - we'd love to hear from you!