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Beethoven Journey (pt. 4 of 6)

This hour, a choral piece by Arnold Schönberg, Haydn on the piano and a one-of-a-kind work: Beethoven's Choral Fantasy.

This stretch of our Beethoven Journey takes big leaps in style - from Stravinsky in his neo-classical period somewhere between sober and swinging to Beethoven’s clamorous and catchy Choral Fantasy, which has a bit of everything. And interjected, Arnold Schönberg's thoroughly Romantic, if dissonant piece named Friede auf Erden (Peace on Earth). Having experienced World War I, Schönberg reflected "It may well be that to write church music, you must be religious or to write love songs, you should be in love. Yet to depict a wounded or dying person, you need not be wounded or dying. So it's entirely possible to compose a hymn to peace without believing in eternal peace."

Finale Beethoven-Competition Stefan Cassomenos

Beethoven Telekom Competition winner Stefan Cassomenos

This program was recorded at the annual Beethovenfest, which presents winners of the Telekom Beethoven Competition that also takes place in the composer’s home town. We'll hear one of them this hour.

The Beethoven Journey of Leif Ove Andsnes and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra was complemented by CD releases hailed by Germany’s Fono Forum as "exemplary." North German Radio called them "gripping from the first note to the last." Added the New York Times: "Every note speaks in Mr. Andsnes's distinguished playing. And he proves an insightful conductor."

Lovers of Beethoven's music know that he loved to play with expectations. In his Choral Fantasy, each time you think you where this piece is taking you, he goes off in a different direction until the chorus finally chimes in with an ode to joy - words by Christopher Kuffner, beginning with "Flattering and lovely are the harmonies of our life, and from the sense of beauty, flowers pour forth that bloom forever." The poem ends with: "Take, beautiful souls, joyfully the gifts of beautiful art! When love and strength join together, humankind is rewarded with the favors of the gods."

Arnold Schönberg

Arnold Schönberg

Arnold Schönberg (1874-1951)
Friede auf Erden (Peace on Earth) for a cappella chorus, op. 13
West German Radio Chorus
Conductor: Robert Blank
Recorded by Deutsche Welle, Bonn (DW) in the Beethoven Hall, Bonn on September 27, 2014

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
Sonata in B Minor, Hob XVI:32
Stefan Cassomenos, piano
Recorded by Deutsche Welle in the Collegium Leoninum, Bonn, on September 15, 2015

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Fantasy in C Minor for piano, chorus and orchestra, op. 80 (Choral Fantasy)
Benita Borbonus, soprano
Anke Lambertz, soprano
Claudia Nüsse, alto
Kwon-Shik Lee, tenor
Christian Dietz, tenor
Arndt Schumacher, bass
Leif Ove Andsnes, piano
West German Radio Chorus
Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Conductor: Leif Ove Andsnes
Recorded by Deutsche Welle, Bonn (DW) in the Beethoven Hall, Bonn on September 27, 2014

Rebroadcasting rights: one broadcast before March 8, 2016

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