In case you hadn't heard yet, the year 2020 marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of the great German composer, Ludwig van Beethoven, born on Dec. 17, 1770. (I looked it up, that makes it the "sestercentennial" of his birth.)
Beethoven's upcoming big birthday may be one of the few good things about 2020. Certainly he is a man worth celebrating - his music is a true gift to humankind.
Beethoven was an incredibly prolific composer, who continued to compose even after going deaf. The average person on the street may have heard of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony or the Ode to Joy. But there is an enormous world of not only symphonies but string quartets, piano sonatas, piano/violin sonatas, choral works, operas, incidental music and more.
Of course, many of the concerts and events planned around his anniversary were canceled. But many have simply been delayed, or gone online, or altered to fit new guidelines. One of the last concerts I attended before lockdown was an unforgettable performance by Christian Tetzlaff, playing the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra in February. But of course, I've seen nothing in person, nor have I played anything in person, since then. Still, even during the pandemic, the show has gone on; for example, in mid-summer the Miró Quartet performed all 16 Beethoven String Quartets live, via livestream, as part of the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival.
Despite the limitations of these pandemic days, there are still plenty of ways we can personally celebration Beethoven. Here are a few ideas:
Have you celebrated Beethoven this year? Have you witnessed or participated in any Beethoven performances? Have you watched an online performance, found a new recording?
For this vote, I'd like you to tell us about your favorite (or current favorite) work or works by Beethoven. In what of the following categories does it fall? Do you have any recordings you would recommend? Please pick your favorite Beethoven "genre" in the poll, and then tell us your thoughts in the comments.
You might also like:
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.
Violinist.com is made possible by...
Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.