Letter:Joyless jingoistic sentiments

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The Independent Online
Sir: In speaking of the adoption of Beethoven's setting of the "Ode to Joy" as the theme for Euro 96 ("Beethoven loses after extra rhyme", 30 May), you quote the BBC's apparent assumption that "jingoistic sentiments" need to be excised from Schiller's poem.

The BBC ought to know better. There are no such sentiments in the original, which celebrates a sense of universal community transcending nationhood: that is why it was also chosen as the anthem of the European Community. The only function the new translation can have, therefore, is to modernize the style. It is those who object to the choice because the text and the music are German who are jingoistic.

TERENCE CAVE

St John's College, Oxford

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