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January 16, 2019

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Beethoven Festival Bonn: In a class of its own


Beethoven Festival 2018: 31. August to 23. September

©Danetzki & Weidner, Kornelia Danetzki © Danetzki & Weidner, Kornelia Danetzki
©Danetzki & Weidner, Kornelia Danetzki

Fate is a key concept from the Beethovenian cosmos - a cosmos full of sorrow and suffering. Beethoven was still a young man when deafness began its work of destruction upon him. As he wrote in 1801, ’I have often cursed the Creator and my existence...‘.

These words are taken from the ’Heiligenstadt Testament‘, written when the composer was 30 years old. It is this figure that stands at the midpoint of our 2018 Beethovenfest - a figure close to suicide, yet with growing powers of resistance. To ’grab Fate by the throat‘ is his battle cry. Fittingly, the four-note motif of the Fifth - ’Fate knocking at the door‘ - has dominated our image of Beethoven for over 200 years. Even his final sonatas are but variations on his life‘s guiding urge: to ’subjugate‘ Fate.

Beethoven‘s Fifth will be heard several times, once from a full orchestra, again with ’period sound‘ and yet again in a version for piano eight-hands. It forms the overriding theme of our entire programme - from C minor to C major.

And there are many works that touch on the Last Things - late works, Requiems, Masses, funeral marches, songs of Fate, thrilling stories of downfall such as ’La damnation de Faust‘, and testimonials from those modern-day experiences that Napoleon summed up with the words: ’The Politics is the fate‘.

Our programme also has islands that breathe life into the musical surroundings of the young Beethoven. Or that celebrate another jubilarian, Rossini. Or that present contemporary music: a world première that ’overwrites‘ Beethoven‘s Third Piano Concerto, a choreography that draws on the energy of the ’Tempest‘ Sonata ...

The festival will open on Bonn‘s Market Square with Beethoven‘s Ninth. We will hear it in the Leonard Bernstein version, blending the ecstasy of the ’Ode to Joy‘ with the euphoria that surrounded the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989.

Beethovenhalle is closed for renovations

The Beethovenhalle concert hall is the home of the Beethoven Orchester Bonn and host to world-class ensembles and artists during the annual Beethovenfest Bonn festival. Since 2016 the Beethovenhalle is closed for renovations. In December 2015 Bonn’s City Council resolved to overhaul and restore the Beethovenhalle in line with historic preservation guidelines. The acoustics in the main hall will also be enhanced. In addition, the Sparkasse KölnBonn bank has pledged five million euros for expansion of the studio. The Bonn City Council also initiated a call to private citizens for donations to support the renovation work - an initiative organized by the City of Bonn together with the "Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz” (German Foundation for Monument Protection) and the ProBeethovenhalle association.

The Beethovenhalle is being renovated in preparation for the international celebration of Ludwig van Beethoven’s 250th birthday in 2020. As the birthplace of Beethoven, and an in-ternational center of culture, the City of Bonn will play a central role in the celebrations. The festival program in 2020 will honor the life and work of Ludwig van Beethoven - a civic cele-bration for Bonn’s citizens and guests that strengthens bonds to both the city and its most famous son. Additional information on the 250th anniversary celebration in Bonn can be found at:
URL: _2020/index.html?lang=de

Every year in the autumn, between the end of August and the beginning of October, Beethoven’s native city of Bonn celebrates the Beethovenfest, welcoming top international orchestras, well-known soloists, major ensembles and promising young performers. The Beethovenfest Bonn feels a responsibility to contribute to the shaping of the repertoire of the 21st century; every year it commissions new works. The Beethovenfest is innovative not just in its commission policy, but also in its approach to Beethoven and his œuvre, seeking to promote new ways to confront the composer and his work. The tradition of the Beethovenfest in Bonn goes back to the year 1845, when a three-day long music festival to dedicate the Beethoven monument took place in the Münsterplatz on the occasion of the composer’s 75th birthday. Internationale Beethovenfeste Bonn gGmbH Kurt-Schumacher-Straße 3 53113 Bonn Telefon: 0228 - 20 10 30

Last update: November 21, 2018



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