Huib Ramaer

Lecture  (IN DUTCH)


Championing and defending Beethoven

By musicologist Huib Ramaer

Friday 14 February 2020


The Hague is and was always a fashionable city populated by expats, diplomats, government officials and politicians; the city of the Huygens family, and of Count Unico Wilhelm van Wassenaer. In Beethoven’s time, Vienna was a comparable crossroads for diplomatic traffic. With the help of the fantastic archivists of the Netherlands Music Institute, located in The Hague’s spotlessly white Municipal Hall, we will discover when and how Beethoven was able to reach the ears of the fashionable elite of the city that is the seat of the Dutch government. Our first impressions of Beethoven we owe, among others, to a talented pianist with a German mother and a Dutch father who were married on a houseboat on the Rhine near Cologne in 1792. Their passionately musical daughter studied with Beethoven’s pupil Ferdinand Ries. Delighted by her playing from her very first performance in The Hague, the critics claimed that they had: ‘never heard anything more beautiful, more elaborate, here in this city’. One thing is as much as certain: Beethoven did not come from overseas.