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Beethoven and the 20th century

wed 26 feb 2020

2020 is a real Beethoven year for the Concertzender. In our program The Last Century, we look at how Ludwig influenced 20th and 21st century composers. Over the course of six episodes we showcase works by Alfred Schnittke, Alberto Ginastera, Brett Dean and György Kurtág. Some of these composers literally cite Beethoven’s compositions, while others are only fascinated by elements from his later work. And then there are minimalistic composers who get their inspiration from Beethoven’s dynamic energy and powerful motives.

In some episodes we present compositions that were commissioned by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, when they, led by Mariss Jansons between 2008 and 2012, recorded a Beethoven cycle. Composers of these ‘reflections’ on Beethoven include Jörg Widmann, Rodion Sjtsjedrin and Johannes Maria Staud.

Laughing with Louis
Luckily, there are also those who know how to capture the levity of Beethoven’s music. Take Johan de Mey’s Extreme Beethoven. Or Louis Andriessen’s (1970) nine-minute piece; The Nine Symphonies of Beethoven for Promenade Orchestra and Ice Cream Bell. A piece which features one symphony a minute, that was meant at the time as a critique of (in Andriessen’s eyes) the Concertgebouw Orchestra’s conservative programming.

Listen to
The first episode of Beethoven and the 20th century.