Deutsche Welle (English edition)

Best of the Beethovenf­est

This time, we look back at DW's two-decade-long media partnershi­p with the Beethovenf­est in Bonn and listen to concert recordings featuring conductors like Gustavo Dudamel and Kurt Masur.


Your ticket to the German classical music festival scene: Concert Hour has the picks of the season — 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.

Part One

Music is a fleeting thing. After the last notes and the applause, it's gone. Live concert recordings capture the essence though. Music makers understand that when they choose to release live performanc­es on CD. But radio is always there first. The recording might be raw and unfiltered, but always authentic.

Similarly, when Nikolaus Harnoncour­t brought his Concentus Musicus Vienna to Bonn's Beethoven Hall, DW was there to capture their performanc­e of Haydn's symphony subtitled "The Queen."

Like Harnoncour­t, Kurt Masur was a figure of respect and moral authority. After leading the New York Philharmon­ic for

eleven, critically acclaimed years, he took the Orchestre National de France and described their encounter as "love at first sight." One can hear plenty of that love in our concert recording.

Born and raised in Venezuela, media superstar Gustavo Dudamel benefited from that country's once-exemplary musical education system. In 1999 he became music director of the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of talented music students, some having pulled themselves out of the slums on the strength of their musical ability. In 2004

Dudamel won the first Gustav Mahler Conducting Competitio­n of the Bamberg Symphony. A year later, he was in Bonn at the Beethovenf­est, and that concert, it's said, was a springboar­d to his career.

Joseph Haydn

Symphony No. 85 in B-flat Major (The Queen), 1st movement

Performed by:

Concentus Musicus Vienna Nikolaus Harnoncour­t, conductor

Recorded by Deutsche Welle (DW) in the Beethoven Hall, Bonn on October 2, 2000

Cesar Franck

Symphony in D Minor, 2nd movement

Performed by:

Orchestre Nationale de France

Kurt Masur, conductor Recorded by Deutsche Welle (DW) in the Beethoven Hall, Bonn on September 17, 2005

Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 7 in A Major, op. 92: 2nd, 3rd and 4th movements

Performed by:

Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela

Gustavo Dudamel, conductor Recorded by Deutsche Welle (DW) in the Beethoven Hall, Bonn on September 23, 2005

Rights: one broadcast before March 28, 2022

Part two

The music this hour doesn't sound any the worse for being dated. On the contrary, it's earopening to hear what we've been missing.

In March 2020, when the pandemic broke out, DW was just gearing up for the big Beethoven anniversar­y year, 250 years after the composer's birth in Bonn. Then, from one day to the next, festivals were canceled. In the entire concert industry: silence. Only a few weeks later though, the music started playing again, at first for remote listeners in cyberspace, then in halls for smaller, live audiences who were starved for music. Musicians were starved for audiences too, performing in the knowledge that music can give solace, strength and diversion in a crisis.

Orchestras were downsized, and sometimes a symphony concert with a full-sized orchestra seemed like a distant memory.

There's nothing distant at all about a concert recording conducted by Sir Roger Norrington however. Describing his Symphony Number Six, Anton Bruckner said: "Die Sechste ist die keckste" (This sixth is the boldest, the cheekiest), and Norrington had the interpreta­tion to fit.

"Poet at the piano" is what they call Alfred Brendel, one of the 20th century's greats. The poet of the piano turned 90 in late December 2020. Nineteen years earlier, Brendel, the Vienna Philharmon­ic and Sir Simon Rattle were at the Beethovenf­est to deliver a sterling rendition of Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4. Anton Bruckner

Symphony No. 6, 1st movement

Performed by:

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenm­ent

Sir Roger Norrington, conductor

Recorded by Deutsche Welle (DW) in the Beethoven Hall, Bonn on September 26, 2001

Ludwig van Beethoven

Piano concerto No. 4 in G Major, op. 58

Performed by:

Vienna Philharmon­ic

Alfred Brendel, piano

Sir Simon Rattle, conductor Recorded by Deutsche Welle (DW) in the Beethoven Hall, Bonn on October 10, 2001

Rights: one broadcast before March 28, 2022

 ??  ?? Kurt Masur: a legend
Kurt Masur: a legend

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