Beethoven anniversary year celebrated online with fifteen concert streams, talk show and documentary
The Concertgebouw and the Concertgebouworkest join forces organising an online festival to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven. Running from 1 to 9 November, the Beethoven Festival Online will feature streams of all the Beethoven symphonies. Presenter Floris Kortie (of the national Dutch TV music show NTR Podium Witteman) will be interviewing Concertgebouworkest musicians about the featured symphonies in his daily talk show Beethoven Talks. In addition six new Beethoven Sessions will be streamed, featuring violinist Simone Lamsma and pianist Boris Giltburg, the Van Baerle Trio, pianist Ronald Brautigam, and various ensembles made up of musicians of the Concertgebouworkest.
Organised in close cooperation with the musicians, the Beethoven Festival Online is an alternative format to the originally scheduled Beethoven 2020 at The Concertgebouw, which was to include live performances of Beethoven’s symphonies by specialised orchestras, including the Orchestra of the 18th Century, all five piano concertos by the Concertgebouworkest and soloist Krystian Zimerman, piano sonatas by Ronald Brautigam and other chamber music performances.
The Beethoven Festival Online has been modelled on the successful format of the Mahler Festival Online which proved to be a very popular alternative to the Mahler Festival 2020 during lockdown in May, when the Concertgebouw’s streams of Mahler symphonies, documentaries and new concert streams reached hundreds of thousands of music lovers all over the world.
Each evening from 1 to 9 November, a Beethoven symphony will be streamed via the respective websites, YouTube channels and Facebook pages of The Concertgebouw and the Concertgebouworkest. These are HD recordings of the Beethoven cycle which the Concertgebouworkest performed with Iván Fischer in 2013 and 2014. The fresh, transparent performances were a sensation and garnered much critical acclaim. ‘Iván Fischer truly lets us hear all Beethoven’s notes’, ran the headline in the Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad, while Het Parool gave their ‘perfect “Pastoral”’ five stars. Maestro Fischer has made guest appearances with the Concertgebouworkest almost every year since 1987, and was appointed honorary guest conductor last Friday with effect from the 2021–22 season.
Maestro Fischer says, ‘There are some composers who completely changed the world. Whenever I think of them, Beethoven is always the first to come to mind. Beethoven changed the very essence of how music functions. Sometimes he’s introverted in the extreme, but at others, he’s very open and expressive. When you attend a concert of Beethoven’s music, you arrive home with the feeling that you’ve actually got to know the composer personally.’
During the festival week, the Main Hall of the Concertgebouw will be transformed into a cosy TV studio, where presenter Floris Kortie will welcome a member of the Concertgebouworkest each day to talk about the evening’s symphony. Followers of The Concertgebouw and the Concertgebouworkest are invited to submit questions for the musicians on Instagram.
Six new concerts featuring highlights of Beethoven’s oeuvre are being recorded and streamed especially for the festival. The pianist and Beethoven specialist Ronald Brautigam will be performing Beethoven’s Sonata E-flat major, op. 31, no. 3 (‘The Hunt’). Violinist Simone Lamsma and pianist Boris Giltburg will be playing the Violin sonata in A major, Op. 30/1. The Van Baerle Trio will be playing Beethoven’s Piano Trio in D major, Op. 70/1 (‘Ghost’).
The GoYa Quartet, which consists of Concertgebouworkest musicians, will be performing the String Quartet in F major, Op. 18/1. Eight wind players of the Concertgebouworkest will be performing Beethoven’s Octet in E-flat major, op. 103. The Septet in E-flat, op, 20, is performed by orchestra members as well.