Beethoven: The Price of Genius

By |2020-12-30T15:53:06-06:00December 30th, 2020|Categories: Beethoven 250, Ludwig van Beethoven, Mark Malvasi, Music, Senior Contributors|

Beethoven’s eccentricities only enhanced his reputation. They confirmed the divine madness that propelled his creative genius. He was a martyr to his art, a new kind of saint whose agonies and ecstasies brought him neither peace of mind nor purity of soul, but an admixture of public renown and disrepute. Sculpture by Max Klinger [...]

“Name Day” Overture

By |2020-12-26T12:20:05-06:00December 26th, 2020|Categories: Audio/Video, Beethoven 250, Ludwig van Beethoven, Music|

Zur Namensfeier (English: Feastday or Name day), Op. 115, is a symphonic overture in C major by Ludwig van Beethoven completed in 1815, and first performed on Christmas Day 1815. It is dedicated to Polish prince Antoni Radziwiłł, who is remembered for his patronage of the arts. The piece was never one of Beethoven's more [...]

Beethoven and the Greatest Concert of All Time

By |2020-12-21T22:21:08-06:00December 21st, 2020|Categories: Audio/Video, Beethoven 250, Ludwig van Beethoven, Music|

On December 22, 1808, Ludwig van Beethoven—by then an established composer and a renowned piano virtuoso—conducted a concert of his own works, featuring himself also as pianist, at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna. The program included the premiers of Beethoven's Fifth and Sixth symphonies, his Fourth Piano Concerto, and a concluding piece for [...]

Music for All Time: Reflections on Beethoven, on His 250th Birthday

By |2020-12-21T18:21:38-06:00December 15th, 2020|Categories: Beethoven 250, Ludwig van Beethoven, Mark Malvasi, Michael De Sapio, Music, Paul Krause, Stephen M. Klugewicz|Tags: , |

"This wasn't written for you!" Beethoven once stormed at string players who complained that one of his quartets was impossible to play. "It was meant for a later age!" And so all Beethoven's works are. They are, indeed, music for all time. Please enjoy this symposium on Ludwig van Beethoven, with contributions from our distinguished [...]

Beethoven and the Spirit of Christmas

By |2020-12-15T19:27:18-06:00December 15th, 2020|Categories: Beethoven 250, Christmas, Ludwig van Beethoven, Music|

Every time I hear the music of Beethoven, the spirit of Christmas touches my heart. Because Beethoven is bound up with love, Beethoven is bound up with Christ. During Advent, Christians everywhere are reminded of the great testament of Love becoming incarnate. Beethoven keeps pointing us to that reality. Ludwig van Beethoven was born in [...]

Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor”

By |2020-12-10T15:02:30-06:00November 27th, 2020|Categories: Audio/Video, Beethoven 250, Ludwig van Beethoven, Music|

Beethoven's final and most popular piano concerto, the "Emperor's" heroic style and grandeur well earn the nickname given it by its English publisher. "Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5," James Keays opines, "could be considered either the last great concerto in the classical style or, because of its immensely powerful gestures, the first of the great [...]

“Fidelio”

By |2020-11-27T13:43:37-06:00November 20th, 2020|Categories: Beethoven 250, Ludwig van Beethoven, Music|

Fidelio, originally titled Leonore, oder Der Triumph der ehelichen Liebe (Leonore, or The Triumph of Marital Love), Op. 72, is Ludwig van Beethoven's only opera. The German libretto was originally prepared by Joseph Sonnleithner from the French of Jean-Nicolas Bouilly, with the work premiering at Vienna's Theater an der Wien on 20 November 1805. The [...]

Beethoven’s “Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage”

By |2020-11-10T16:36:22-06:00November 10th, 2020|Categories: Beethoven 250, Ludwig van Beethoven, Michael De Sapio, Music|

In his short, neglected masterpiece, "Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage," Beethoven—who himself never traveled by sea nor left continental Europe—created a tone poem that reflects the Romantic awe of storms and the sublimity of God-in-nature. It also reflects, on a miniature scale, Beethoven's own story of suffering and transcendence. Those who have read previous essays [...]

The Mystique of Late Beethoven

By |2020-10-09T08:54:26-05:00October 8th, 2020|Categories: Beethoven 250, Ludwig van Beethoven, Michael De Sapio, Music|

Beethoven's late style was not a total break from what came before. Many things touted as revolutionary are really, when seen in proper perspective, evolutionary. Beethoven’s late period intensifies qualities inherent in all his previous work. It is filled with music that is warm-hearted, impassioned, and of breathtaking beauty. “The music is not pretty or [...]

A Call to the Joy of Life: Why Beethoven’s Ninth Matters to Me

By |2020-12-30T17:20:35-06:00September 28th, 2020|Categories: Audio/Video, Beethoven 250, Ludwig van Beethoven, Music, Timeless Essays|

For me, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony will be forever linked to my life as a Bosnian refugee. In a time of great suffering, this music brought me hope. No amount of ideological nonsense will destroy its inherent beauty and its constant call for the restoration of humanity’s greatness. Western civilization and culture have been under [...]

“King Stephen”

By |2020-08-20T16:42:44-05:00August 19th, 2020|Categories: Audio/Video, Beethoven 250, Ludwig van Beethoven, Music|

In July 1811, Ludwig van Beethoven accepted a commission to provide incidental music to two plays that were to be performed at the opening of the new Hungarian Theatre in Pest. Authored by August von Kotzebue, King Stephen: or Hungary’s First Benefactor and The Ruins of Athens were nationalistic dramas in the German singspiel format (combining [...]

Was Beethoven a Believer? The Case of the “Missa Solemnis”

By |2020-08-20T15:54:02-05:00August 1st, 2020|Categories: Audio/Video, Beethoven 250, Catholicism, Ludwig van Beethoven, Music, Religion, Timeless Essays|

Can an unbeliever, a denier of the faith, produce such music as Beethoven did in his Missa Solemnis? It has long been fashionable in music history textbooks to speak of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis as a purely artistic statement that, to be blunt, uses the texts of the Catholic Mass as a convenient springboard for musical experimentation and [...]

Why Is Beethoven So Popular?

By |2020-08-20T15:55:40-05:00June 22nd, 2020|Categories: Beethoven 250, Ludwig van Beethoven, Michael De Sapio, Music|

It is Beethoven—not Bach or Mozart—who is the most universally popular composer in the classical canon. Why is this? Some authors have posited his democratic social beliefs or his personal story of victory over deafness. These are all certainly factors, but I prefer to look first at the aesthetic qualities of the music itself. Johann [...]

Go to Top