Music in Beethoven′s home town | Music | DW | 29.05.2020
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Music in Beethoven's home town

You may know that Beethoven grew up in Bonn. But what do you know about the musical environment he grew up in? You'll find out about it in this Deutsche Welle Festival Concert.

Listen to audio 54:58

Concert Hour: Music in Beethoven's home town, part one

Your ticket to the German classical music festival scene: Concert Hour has the picks of last year's season — from the Schwetzingen Festival to the Bayreuth Festival, the Bachfest in Leipzig and the Beethovenfest in Bonn, two hours of music updated regularly.

Along with host Rick Fulker, the musicians themselves are on hand to give their insights into the events and the music.

This edition will dip into the musical environment that fostered the work of Ludwig van Beethoven.

Listen to audio 54:58

Concert Hour: Music in Beethoven's home town, part two

Part one:

Bonn in Beethoven's time was a place where scholars discussed the most interesting ideas of the time, ideas of the Enlightenment and humanism. The young Ludwig van Beethoven soaked up that intellectual environment and thrived in it.

Bonn was also a place where the latest music of every style was performed — operatic and orchestral works from Italy and France first and foremost, but German too of course.  

The court orchestra in Bonn was one of the best around, and Habsburg prince-elector Maximilian Franz, who resided there, was a passionate collector of music scores. Among them, a gift that the composer Paul Wineberger made: five of his symphonies. We'll hear one of these works by a rarely performed composer.

Anton Reicha was a contemporary of Beethoven and the nephew of Josef Reicha, who was director of the orchestra that both Anton Reicha and Ludwig van Beethoven played in as boys. Reicha was also the composer of so many wind quintets that they fill ten CDs. One of them is also on the playbill this hour.
Our concert is performed by the L'Arte del Mondo orchestra. Led by Werner Erhardt, it's an early music group with a clear, harmonious sound. It's also a group that likes to go off the beaten path. Their activities include intercultural projects with a Turkish ensemble, with artists from the Beijing opera, or with Israeli and Palestinian musicians. 

Statue of Ludwig van Beethoven, in white and grey hues, viewed from below against a blue, cloudless sky (picture-alliance/imageBROKER/H. Schmidt)

Even in this Beethoven-free program, his presence is felt

Paul Wineberger 
Symphony in G Major 

Anton Reicha
Scène italienne (Italian scene) for tenor and orchestra      
Andreas Romberg
Sinfonia Concertante in C Major for violin, cello and orchestra, B. 49  

performed by: 
Georg Poplutz, tenor
Emilio Percan, violin
Catherine Jones, cello
Orchestra l'arte del mondo 
Werner Ehrhardt, conductor

Recorded by West German Radio, Cologne (WDR) in the Church of the Cross, Bonn on September 25, 2019

Anton Reicha
Wind Quintet No. 1 in E Minor, op. 88, No. 1 (excerpt) 
performed by: 

Albert Schweitzer Quintet

on CD cpo 999022-2 

Historic view of the University of Bonn, a black and white photo with a man and woman strolling in front, apparently from the turn of the 20th century (picture-alliance/arkivi)

Today it's the University of Bonn; in historic times it was the prince-elector's residence

Part two:

When Beethoven was a boy, he'd stand in for his teacher sometimes at the organ — initially without pay, but at age 13 earning pocket money in the official position of Vice Court Organist. In 1789, age 19, he was inducted into the Bonn Court orchestra as a viola player. 

Concertos, songs and chamber music date from Beethoven's Bonn period. As does a composition up this hour by an Italian from Bologna named Vincenzo Righini. 

The program also includes a composer Beethoven never met but who was very important to him: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Another big fan of Mozart was Beethoven's early patron Maximilian Franz, and the prince-elector's music collection included thirteen of Mozart's symphonies — so the Symphony Number 33 would have been performed there. 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in a historic painting (Imago/United Archives International)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's music was known in Bonn as well

Vincenzo Righini
Rasserena i vaghi rai (Cheer up the sad looks), aria from the singspiel Enea nel Lazio (Aeneas in Latium) 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Symphony No. 33 in B-flat Major, K. 319 

performed by: 
Georg Poplutz, tenor
Orchestra l'arte del mondo 
Werner Ehrhardt, conductor
Recorded by West German Radio, Cologne (WDR) in the Church of the Cross, Bonn on September 25, 2019

Andreas Romberg 
String Quartet Opus 1, No. 2 (excerpt) 

performed by: 
Leipzig String Quartet
6768 MDG 3070963-2

Vincenzo Righini
Ballet music from The Magic Forest 
performed by: 
Southwest German Radio Orchestra
Emmerich Smola, conductor
on CD da music 77352 

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