Play as though your life depends on it

“On the evening of 12 April [1945], the Berlin Philharmonic gave its last performance. Albert Speer, who organized it, had invited Grand Admiral Dönitz and also Hitler’s adjutant, Colonel von Below. The hall was properly lit for the occasion, despite the electricity cuts. ‘The concert took us back to another world,’ wrote Below. The programme included Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, Bruckner’s 8th Symphony—(Speer later claimed that this was his warning signal to the orchestra to escape Berlin immediately after the performance to avoid being drafted into the Volkssturm)—and the finale to Wagner’s Götterdämmerung. Even if Wagner did not bring the audience back to present reality, the moment of escapism did not last long. It is said that, after the performance, the Nazi Party had organized Hitler Youth members to stand in uniform with baskets of cyanide capsules and offer them to members of the audience as they left.” – Antony Beevor, The Fall of Berlin 1945

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