Ludwig van Beethoven
The music world celebrates the 250th birthday of one of the world’s greatest musical geniuses this year: Ludwig van Beethoven, probably the most frequently performed of all the classical composers, inspires generations of artists to this day, sparks ideas and inspires compositions. He awes listeners by his outstanding example – and yet his omnipresence can, on occasion, result in fatigue. What is it that makes this artist so unique? What could there possibly be left for us to discover in his work?
We will open the Carinthian Summer Music Festival with Beethoven’s First Symphony, its vibrance a perfect fit for the youthful musicians of the Vienna Jeunesse Orchestra. Back in 1800, this symphony enabled Beethoven to embark on a new phase as an independent artist in Vienna. The young, enthusiastic composer, who was perceived as racily modern at the time, was nevertheless faced with personal crises and dilemmas: a complete loss of hearing, unrequited love and great loneliness. In contrast, you will hear a passionate, ironic work by Dutchman Louis Andriessen, who, showing a great deal of feeling for art, makes fun of the 200-year hustle and bustle around the celebration of Beethoven’s birthday, quite in keeping with the spirit of his own era, the “post-68s”, which for its part has already made its way into the history books.
From his early youth, Beethoven was inspired by the ideals of the French Revolution: liberty, equality and fraternity were the watchwords in which he managed to rediscover a perception of himself. Humanity and freedom of the arts were inseparable for him at a time when such an attitude was by no means common. He found this ideal to be reflected in the works of Schiller and Goethe, who shaped his aesthetic along with the idea that art could change people and society for the better. None of his works expresses this notion quite as clearly as the Ninth Symphony, with which we will conclude the festival this summer. The extasy expressed in Schiller’s Ode to Joy became the European anthem and resounded at the Brandenburg Gate after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain, where Leonard Bernstein amended the lyrics to “Ode to Freedom”. Under the baton of Thomas Fheodoroff, Beethoven’s Ninth, along with one of his extremely rarely performed works, Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt, is set to two poems by Goethe. Concertgoers can look forward to two choral odes in which Beethoven’s intensive examination of the philosophical content of the texts is made clear.
Let us not forget Beethoven’s chamber music. The eloquent young trio around Emmanuel Tjeknavorian performs one of the most magnificent works of the trio literature: the Piano Trio in B-flat major, op. 97, dedicated in friendship to Archduke Rudolf, and places this in the context of trios by Haydn and Brahms. Vienna’s Selini Quartet plays Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 11 in F minor, op. 95, which, in the words of the composer, was “written for a small circle of connoisseurs and […] never to be performed in public”.
Throughout his life Beethoven focused on the advancement of piano music. It was his sonata works that first made the piano the standard instrument for the most personal artistic expressions, and it remained so for the entire 19th century. He was also extremely well versed in the field of piano building and meticulously followed the innovations of the piano makers of his time.
Turkish pianist Fazıl Say juxtaposes his view of the grandiose pianoforte sonata with his own large-scale sonata work.
Rudolf Buchbinder, one of the leading experts in Beethoven’s complete piano works, will interpret his personal selection of the most important sonatas during this festival year.
Fri 10.7.2020 / 19:30