Februari Festival 2020 wo12feb

Profound thoughts on Heiligenstadt

Thursday 13 February 2020

Pieter van Loenen violin | Tobias Borsboom piano | Alexander Glücksmann clarinet | Christoph Knitt bassoon | Thomas Hoppe piano | Stephanie Desjardins soprano | Peter Nilsson piano | Ishay Shaer piano | Simply Quartet | Aidan Mikdad piano | Nikola Meeuwsen piano | Antje Weithaas violin | Georgy Kovalev viola | Hannah Strijbos viola | Quirine Viersen cello

 8 p.m. | de Nieuwe Kerk

Making use of unprecedented resources, Beethoven is able to astonish us not only by pleasing his listeners, but also by grabbing their attention and keeping them at the edge of their seats. A trivial little theme challenged him to compose a brilliant variation. Here, we encounter Beethoven in a cheerful mood, precisely at the turn of the century, looking back at the musical achievements of this period but with one foot already planted firmly in the turbulent early Romantic era.


Kurt Schwertsik: Unterwegs nach Heiligenstadt - Dutch premiere | Beethoven: Pianotrio in B flat major, Op. 11 ‘Gassenhauer Trio‘ | Various Songs - including Adelaide, Op. 46| Rondo in B flat major, WoO 6 - arr. Ishay Shaer - world premiere | Six variations on ‘Ich denke dein’ in D major, WoO 74 | Sonata in D major, Op. 6 | String Quintet in C major, Op. 29


Kurt Schwertsik: 'Unterwegs nach Heiligenstadt'

On 6 October 1802 Beethoven wrote his ‘Heiligenstädter Testament’, a testament for his two brothers Kaspar Karl and Johann, in which he expressed his despair at growing deaf. Schwertsik’s work, which lasts five minutes, is a project in which he combines ten Beethoven violin sonatas with compositions of his own: ‘a lowly homage to this enigmatic composer’.

Beethoven: ‘Gassenhauer Trio’ Op. 11

This trio owes its name to the third movement, which features 9 variations on a song from a comic opera by Weigl that was so popular at the time that it continuously resounded throughout Vienna’s many alleys (‘Gassen’). Originally composed for piano, clarinet and cello, tonight’s performance is for piano, clarinet and bassoon.

Beethoven: Various songs, including 'Adelaide'

‘Beethoven would remain immortal, even if he had not written a single work other than this’, was written in the Allgemeine Musikalische Anzeiger in 1979. Even today, ‘Adelaide’ is one of Beethoven’s best-loved songs. The composer himself was not so sure of this, considering the timidity with which he showed the work to the poet Matthisson three whole years after it had been written. The poet, however, was wildly enthusiastic and expressed his admiration for this song in extensive, lyrical notes in the score.

Beethoven: Rondo, WoO 6

This Rondo was originally conceived as the last movement of the Second Piano Concerto. Beethoven, however, had second thoughts, causing this piece to be unjustly neglected. Pianist Ishay Shaer created an arrangement for piano and string quartet of this Rondo especially for the Februari Festival. The première performance will be held on 13 February 2020 by Shaer and the Simply Quartet.


Beethoven: Six variations on ‘Ich denke dein’

Beethoven dedicated this series of variations based on a text by Goethe expressing a longing for a faraway lover to the sisters Maria Therese and Josephine Brunsvik. This Josephine, however, is not to be confused with the Josephine who, according to fifteen letters of Beethoven that were preserved, was his ‘one true love’.

Beethoven: Sonata for piano duet

Music for two pianists had become popular thanks to Johann Christian Bach. Mozart wrote marvellous repertoire for four-handed piano, and Beethoven could not lag behind. What is clear, however, is that he wrote these pieces largely for didactic reasons: technically speaking, they were not too difficult for his less talented pupils to handle!

Beethoven: String Quintet, Op. 29

Beethoven’s only real string quintet (in addition to this, his only other compositions for string quintet were arrangements of his own works and a fragment of a fugue) was written in 1801 and was dedicated to Duke Moritz von Fries. The piece was incredible popular in its time, although Beethoven had been known to grumble that he had written better pieces than this!


* Programmawijzigingen voorbehouden.
Februari Festival 2020 wo12feb