Celebrating the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven in 2020

BEETHOVEN250 Festival 2020

In 2020 the Waldegrave Ensemble are celebrating the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven with a range of chamber music recitals and a newly commissioned musical drama 'Silence and Joy' written by Sue Blundell.

Silence and Joy - A new musical drama by Sue Blundell

In 1802, when he was only 31, Ludwig van Beethoven was on the edge of despair. His doctor had advised him to spend six months in a quiet village outside Vienna, in the hope that his hearing might improve. He returned to the city knowing this would never happen. ‘A little more’, he wrote, ‘and I would have ended my life.’

But he clung on, and eighteen months later the first performance of his ‘Eroica’ Symphony took place in Vienna. By the time he died in 1827 he was recognised as a composer of genius whose works had changed the way we listen to music. He was also completely deaf.

‘Silence and Joy’ is a musical drama about Beethoven’s search for sublimity in the midst of desperate circumstances. His father had died of alcoholism. Most of his love affairs ended in misery. Napoleon, his great hero, turned into a tyrant. And all around him there was growing silence. Yet Beethoven still struggled to capture in music the feelings of rapture he’d experienced when he first read Schiller’s ‘Ode to Joy’. Finally in his Ninth Symphony - completed three years before he died - those feelings were triumphantly expressed in choral music.

The new play will be touring around London in October / November 2020. Venues in the process of being confirmed are:

  • The Space, Docklands
  • Jermyn Street Theatre, Picadilly
  • Omnibus Theatre, Clapham

    Beethoven's Chamber Music

    As part of the BEETHOVEN250 festival in 2020 the ensemble will be exploring chamber works for winds, strings and piano by Beethoven with recitals around London and the UK. Performances and venues are in the process of being confirmed but the ensemble welcomes further interest for performances from music societies and recital platforms who wish to extend their potential engagements. The works available for performances in 2020 will be:

    Recital for Winds and piano

  • Quintet for oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon and piano (25 mins)
  • Trio for flute, bassoon and piano in G major, Op.37 (25 mins)

    Recital for Clarinet, strings and piano

  • Trio for clarinet, cello and piano in Bb major, Op.11 (25 mins)
  • Piano quartets for violin, viola, cello and piano in Eb major (25 mins)

    Recital for Flute, strings and piano

  • Cello Sonata No.3 (25 mins)
  • Serenade for flute, viola and cello (25 mins)

    Recital for larger mixed ensemble:

  • Septet in Eb major, Op.20 (45 mins)