In 2020 the international music world is celebrating the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven, who is ranked the most frequently performed classical composer. As an uncompromising maverick thinker and visionary who rejected any convention or routine, he has become a source of inspiration and role model for countless people. On the occasion of the Beethoven anniversary, a number of Philharmonic ensembles will perform a majority of Beethoven’s chamber music over the course of two days: a concert marathon that is one of the special high points of this season.
All the string quartets are on the programme – starting with the early Opus 18 up to the visionary last contributions to the genre which, besides an increasing inner complexity, boast increasingly large formal concepts which violated the genre norms of the time. The composer is reported to have said in this regard to Karl Holz, second violinist of the Schuppanzigh Quartet, each of the pieces is simply “sui generis! Art demands of us that we shall not stand still. You will notice a new type of voice leading, and thank God there is less lack of fantasy than ever before.”
The Beethoven Marathon offers the rare opportunity to trace the astonishing musical development that Beethoven accomplished in the string quartet genre in chronological order. In addition, there is more chamber music to be discovered, from trio to octet. The performers include the Scharoun Ensemble Berlin, Venus Ensemble, Brahms Ensemble, Varian Fry Quartet, Philharmonic String Quartet and Marzona Quartet, among others. For this Beethoven Marathon, Philharmonic musicians have also joined forces who do not otherwise perform together in permanent ensembles.