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Classical Notes

Esa-Pekka Salonen: Passing the baton to carry the torch

Posted at 2:30 PM on July 26, 2012 by John Birge

Here's Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor of London's Philharmonia Orchestra, putting down his baton to carry the Olympic torch, to the strains of his recording of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony.

I was fascinated to learn on NPR that the tradition of the Olympic Torch procession comes not from antiquity, but rather was invented by the Nazi Party for the 1936 Berlin Olympics. It's ironic: the same Nazi association makes it taboo to perform Richard Strauss' 1936 Olympic Hymn, yet the torch procession has become an institution.

Esa-Pekka Salonen carries the Olympic Torch from Philharmonia Orchestra on Vimeo.