Nobody told Glenn Gould to stop touring, or suggested he perform a digital concert. Why would they have? There wasn’t a global pandemic forcing performers to stay home in the 1960s. But Gould’s own distaste for the act of live performance led him to shun traditional concerts early on in his career. Now, as today’s classical musicians face long concert hall shutdowns head on, Gould’s mid-career turn to recordings and broadcast might act as one possible model for a way forward, at least for the time being.
Continue the year-long celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday with our latest digital scavenger hunt!
Earlier this week, musicians of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra performed Beethoven’s famous “Ode to Joy” from the Ninth Symphony. Only, the performers weren’t side by side in a concert hall. Instead, they joined together digitally from isolation in their homes.
For five decades, a familiar sight greeted readers of the comics section of the newspaper: Schroeder at his toy baby grand piano, with Lucy leaning backward against it. Overhead, sheet music played an active role in the story. With overwhelming majority, the music was by one composer: Ludwig van Beethoven.
Ludwig van Beethoven lived through a turbulent time of incredible societal change. His own life was marked by loss and disability that would have ended most people’s careers. But in the midst of everything he kept on making more: more beauty, more passion, more music. His symphonies, sonatas, concertos and overtures made him a star in his own lifetime and are still among the most performed classical music there is.
Ludwig van Beethoven turns 250 this year. 2020 will inevitably be filled with performances of his music, and scholarship about his life and influence. But first, we thought it was time to indulge in a little fun by enjoying some of the fictional portrayals of the man onscreen.
As a musicologist, Dr. Robin Wallace has devoted much of his career to studying Beethoven.
Then his wife, Barbara, went deaf.
When asked to estimate how many times he has performed Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C min, Op. 37, Yefim Bronfman leaned back, sighed, and guessed, “Oh… surely at least 100 times.”
“Short, short, short, long” is not so exciting when you read it out in words. But for composers Ludwig van Beethoven and Christopher Rouse, it was fate set to music.