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In 1927, Europe marked the centennial of the death of one of its greatest composers, Ludwig van Beet ho­ ven. At the same time, Bosnia and Herzegovina within the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later the Kingdom of Yugoslavia) was building the foundations of its musical institutions and trying to follow up with the more advanced cultural centers of the new state, Zagreb, Ljubljana, and Belgrade. The main feature of Bosnian musical life of the time (1918–1941) pertains to the establishment of the new musical institutions such as the National Theater (Narodno pozorište) and the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra (Sarajevska filharmonija), the fundamental institutions of musical culture in Bosnia and Herzegovina even today. This paper aims at providing an insight into the presence of Beethoven’s works in concert repertoires in Sarajevo (1918–1941), especially of the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra but also to point out the special occasion of Beethoven’s anniversary in 1927. The Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra was the only musical institution of this kind, and the most important musical society for the development of musical culture of the time; consequently, the research is based on the analysis of the society’s concert repertoire and reviews from the daily newspapers.

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Staging Beethoven’s Fidelio in the second half of the nineteenth century in Pressburg drew on a long- standing Beethoven tradition prevalent in the town. Also, it stood at the center of protests against the growing influence of Hungarian theater in the newly constructed theater building since Fidelio was performed always at a time when the renewal of an agreement with a German-speaking director was being decided on (1889, 1892, 1895). The opera was staged with the participation of the choral societies and musical associations of the town. Its performances were held close to the annual festive masses of the most well-known association of Pressburg, the Church Music Association of St. Martin’s Cathedral (Germ. Kirchenmusikverein bei der Dom-, Kollegiats- und Stadtpfarrkirche zu St. Martin, Hung. Szent Márton Pozsonyi Egyházi Zeneegylet), where Beethoven’s Missa solemnis was performed. This enhanced the efforts of the supporters of the German theater to call Beethoven’s œuvre a carrier of “true art” and humanism and use it as a symbol of cultural identity in the discussions led about preserving the German season in the Municipal Theater (Germ. Stadttheater, Hung. Városi Színház).

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