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(Oh friends, not these sounds!), proclaimed the baritone in the stirring performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony to the G-20 leaders in Hamburg last Friday evening.The G-20 president, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, actually made remarkable headway in channeling Beethoven's spirit. This G-20 summit, of course, was the first with Donald Trump as U.S. president. The summit's discordant tones, echoed in the stormy sections of Beethoven's symphony, emanated entirely from the United States. What a stroke of genius to bring the G-20 leaders to Hamburg's spectacular new Elbphilharmonie concert hall, itself a triumph of architectural vision, to be inspired by perhaps the greatest musical work of universal culture, with its message of world harmony.As the G-20 leaders headed to the concert Friday, their sherpas stayed behind to debate the final text.All other G-20 countries had resisted the U.S. ploy.All G-20 leaders recommitted their countries to universal health coverage (another clear message to Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Speaker Paul Ryan), and to strengthening health systems.
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