“Beethoven in close-up”

Our streaming series celebrating the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth

“He who understand my music will remain free from the miseries that the other men are dragging with them.”

Ludwig van Beethoven

A musical feast for all Beethoven fans! In December we celebrated the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven's birth – with our digital streaming series “Beethoven in close-up”. In the series, members of the Berliner Philharmoniker and Philharmoniker ensembles will perform all of the composer’s string quartets – as well as other chamber music works for wind instruments. A total of twelve hours of music from the First Viennese School composer, presented by the Philharmoniker’s violinist Philipp Bohnen. The series was recorded in the Chamber Music Hall of the Philharmonie Berlin and can be seen as in our Digital Concert Hall.


Beethoven in der Digital Concert Hall

Dawn of new worlds of sound

The string quartet became a prominent genre of classical music through Beethoven – alongside the symphony and the piano sonata. What was originally a pastime for ambitious amateurs lost all its innocuousness with him. For Beethoven, the genre became an existential experience, a laboratory in which he constantly pushed the boundaries of sound and expression. Beethoven’s first quartets op. 18 still shift charmingly between elegance and originality. The composer wanted to show with them that he stood on an equal footing in this genre with his great idols Haydn and Mozart. But at the same time, he is already beginning to break new ground. His opus 18 stands at the beginning of a development which he then continues to follow until the uncompromisingly innovative late works, each of which opens up a new musical world. He guides his listeners through all human moods: joy, cheerfulness, love, sadness, pain, anger... In his last quartet op. 135 he poses the famous question “Muss es sein?” and accompanies us to the last bar of the work with his humour and wit.

Hard nuts and good spirits

The series opens with Beethoven’s chamber music for winds, starting with early works from his Bonn period and up to his famous, almost orchestral Septet. Among other works, we will also hear the Sextet for Two Horns and String Quartet, which Beethoven wrote for his Bonn horn teacher and later publisher Simrock and in which, according to his own words, he gave the horn players some “hard nuts to crack”. Plus the so-called “Gassenhauer-Trio” and his Wind Octet, which captivates with its lively charisma.

Varian Fry Quartett
(Photo: privat)
Brahms Ensemble Berlin
(Photo: Ruth Walz)
Scharoun Ensemble Berlin
(Photo: Felix Broede)
Bläser der Berliner Philharmoniker
(Photo: Peter Adamik)
Venus Ensemble Berlin
(Photo: pirvate)
Philharmonic String Quartet Berlin
(Photo: Peter Adamik)