Wagner descendant slams 'anti-Semitic' music at Berlin Wall event
Composer's great-grandson: Playing war-mongering music of anti-Semite Wagner ridicules the day.
Richard Wagner's great-grandson, Gottfried Wagner, on Friday protested the choice of music at festivities 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, which includes a composition by his "anti-Semitic" great-grandfather.
Israeli pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim is leading Monday's performance at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, which is to include A Survivor from Warsaw by Arnold Schoenberg alongside the prelude to Wagner's Lohengrin.
The music was chosen to evoke memories of less fortuitous November 9 anniversaries, including the "Night of Broken Glass" in 1938, when Jewish homes, shops and synagogues throughout Germany were destroyed by rampaging Nazis.
The decision to incorporate "chauvinistic war-mongering music of the militant anti-Semite Wagner," misjudged and ridiculed the historic importance of November 9, Gottfried Wagner said in a statement.
The juxtaposition of Richard Wagner's music with that of Schoenberg gave him "great discomfort," he said.
The prelude built up to Lohengrin's "highly chauvinist third scene, which is about a militant vision of a German national state," the musicologist added.
Leaders from Britain, France, Russia and the US are attending the celebration hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who grew up in former East Germany.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will all be present.
Witnesses to the events of 1989 will also attend, including former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, Poland's former opposition leader and president Lech Walesa, and Marianne Birthler, who looks after archives of the former East German secret police, or Stasi.
The evening also includes performances by rock idol Jon Bon Jovi and Berlin music producer and disc jockey Paul van Dyk.
Large decorated "domino stones" will re-create the division of central Berlin.
During the evening, which ends in a large firework display, the 2.5-metre-high blocks will be toppled to symbolize the sequence of events that brought down the Berlin Wall and spelt the end of communism in eastern Europe.
Wagner said the choice of his great-grandfather's "warmongering" music was inappropriate to mark November 9, 1989, which was remarkable for the peaceful course of events.