1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

What makes Beethoven so special?

Miriam Webber
September 3, 2018

Beethoven: What is all the fuss about? Deutsche Welle decided to take to the streets of Bonn to find out on Beethovenfest's opening weekend.

Flash Beethoven Diabelli Autograph
Image: Beethoven-Haus Bonn

What do a tattooed millennial with a bouncing baby, a woman with a carefully curated blue bob, and an army of small children wielding helium balloons have in common?

Ludwig van Beethoven, apparently.

Bonn's Main Square was flecked with a myriad of visitors over the weekend, as the notes of the city's most celebrated son floated through the streets.

When concerts were transmitted live to Bonn's Market Square on the first three days of the Beethovenfest, people listened in attentive silence. The entire square was filled with people seated in folding chairs, and many more standing.

Some wore expressions typical of the dreamy appreciation of fine-tuned Beethoven fans; chins lifted in anticipation, swaying where they stood or plopped down in a seat to listen.

Others were wanderers, drawn in by the spectacle as they meandered about town for some Saturday shopping or Sunday cake and coffee. 

Many a keen-eyed parent spotted the promise of a yellow helium balloon by the stage, the ultimate entertainment package for an hour or so. 

Beethovenfest 2018
Image: DW/R. Fulker

And many a stray balloon was set free as the days progressed, the stern, printed face of Beethoven growing ever smaller as he disappeared back to the heavens. 

Nevertheless, each paused for a while to take in the music drifting down from the stage. 

"I think classical music is special for many people because often they think, ‘Oh, it’s too high for me, I don’t understand.' My husband for example, he never goes to classical concerts with me," said Claudia Heller as she watched on from the crowd.

"And when it’s open, it’s outside, you can go and take a look, and and say ‘Oh it sounds good, let’s stay a few minutes here and hear something."

Deutsche Welle spoke to onlookers over the opening weekend and asked them what they think of Beethoven's music, and what makes him special.

Click through the picture gallery to find out what they said.