From the cradle to the grave – and beyond

Ludwig van Beethoven was born by a woman, Maria Magdalena. Omitting the father, Johann, Ludwig is often seen as the greatest son of Bonn. That he built his career in Vienna and lies buried there does not ter ­ minate this metaphorical parenthood…

For the composer’s 250th birthday the Beethovenfest dedicates itself twice to Beethoven, in the spring and autumn. Beethoven’s date of death is in March, which is why late works of great masters will sound in a European orchestral cycle. And because Beethoven embodied the European spirit when it danced around the ‘liberty pole of the revolution’, contemporary composers will contribute ovations to Beethoven. As Nietzsche said, it always comes back to perpetuate Beethoven through active efforts. Among these active efforts count the interpretation of all nine of Beethoven’s sym ­ phonies in the original sound. The musicAeterna orchestra per ­ forms the whole cycle.

‘Seid umschlungen’ (‘Be embraced’) is the motto of the spring season. In autumn, citing Klopstock: ‘Auferstehn, ja auferstehn‘ (‘Rise again, yes, rise again‘).

How else could one have exceed the world redemption formula of Schiller/Beethoven? Gustav Mahler’s second, his ‘Resurrection Symphony’ is the continuation and exaltation of Beethoven’s Ninth. She will be performed at the final concert. The opening: Beethoven’s Ninth, a guest performance by the Bayreuth Festival Chorus and Orchestra.

We remain great: with the ‘Missa solemnis’ in the Cologne Cathe ­ dral, with Stockhausen’s ‘Gruppen’ and a variety of international orchestras. As gentle echoes of the March symphonies all nine of Beethoven will sound in the transcription by Franz Liszt, only to be overcome by selected virtuosos. And finally all ‘Leonoren’ operas from Beethoven’s time will be performed. Another also for Beethoven valid exemption subject was the ‘Prometheus’ myth. Romeo Castellucci has found a ‘location’ in his work about this issue. Taking Beethoven’s late sonatas as a starting point, the pianist Marino Formenti invites to a journey through the modern and contempo ­ rary era…

My thanks to all patrons, sponsors and foundations – and to all participants of the dual Beethovenfest 2020!

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