Sunday, December 22, 2019

The Concert of the century

Beethoven in 1805
I'm taking a break from Christmas music today, but that's actually part of the story.  On this day in 1808, Ludwig van Beethoven gave what is without doubt the most astonishing concert of the nineteenth century.  Beethoven had been giving a lot of charity concerts at Vienna's Theater an der Wein, but ever short of cash had convinced the theater's owner to let him do a concert there for his own benefit.

While this might seem an odd time of the year for a concert in what was essentially an unheated hall, the laws of the Austrian empire prohibited performance of Opera during Advent - the opera mad Austrians needed something to scratch their classical music itch, so to say.

Beethoven had to scramble to put together an orchestra - there were many, many charity concerts at that time of year.  He assembled a mixed group of professionals and amateur performers, and for the last time took the stage to perform on the piano (his increasing deafness would not allow this in the future).

This concert was the world premier of his Symphony No. 5, his Symphony No. 6, his Fourth Piano Concerto, and his Choral Fantasy.  Here is the entire concert for your enjoyment, in the order it was performed.

Hat tip to The Queen Of The World who pointed out this anniversary.   She's not just pretty as a picture, she knows stuff too.


libertyman said...

This must be the final exam! Lots of stuff to watch and absorb. Seeing the score reminds me of how little I remember about reading music. I feel utterly illiterate (is there a term for this for music?) .
Amazing that someone could envision and write this as Beethoven did.

I liked your comments on the practical aspects of writing and performing at the time.Booking agent to Beethoven "Who do think you are?"

Back to listening, this will take a while.

Differ said...

Just got back from the Michael O'Neal Singers Messiah sing-along bat the Roswell UMC. Passed Mac McGee's pub on the way; memories of beers with you BP.
Merry Christmas!

Borepatch said...

Libertyman, it's Open Book. ;-)

Differ, those were good times.

Murphy(AZ) said...

A wonderful Christmas present. Thank you!