You might have heard – next year is the “Beethoven Year.”
Should it be cancelled due to lack of interest, creativity and ingenuity?
In most concert corners of the world, Beethoven’s 250th birthday will be celebrated next year with an increased presence on concert programs. There will be Beethoven Festivals and other Beethoven titled events.
Will there be anything new, game changing or revelatory?
If not – let’s not do it.
For some institutions, it will be only a marketing gimmick with minimal return on the gimmick.
There’s no need to invent a festival to keep on doing what we’ve always been doing, unless we do it even better than before.
If we are going to celebrate the “Beethoven Year” with festivals, and an even greater Beethoven presence on concert programs, here are a few “Beethoven Year” projects I could get behind.
Composers / Arrangers: write a short work, maybe an encore for a soloist or ensemble. Pay homage…riff on a well-known Beethoven motif or melody. Using your gift of craft, assemble multiple motifs and melodies into a Beethovian pastiche. Give Beethoven your 21st century spin.
Beethoven Healthcare Connection: Is there room in the “Beethoven Year” to connect with healthcare issues that hit Beethoven’s home directly?
Historians report that he suffered from Paget's disease (abnormal bone destruction), liver disease, alcohol abuse and kidney disease. Can we connect performances of his music next year to the organizations and support groups designed to bring greater awareness, and even cures for these diseases and ailments?
Would Beethoven’s music and his story resonate with informal performances and benefits at hospitals and treatment centers?
“Beethoven Benefits the Kidney”?
Almost everybody knows Beethoven's most often described ailment was deafness.
“Beethoven’s Good Vibrations” – Young people with hearing loss hold your instrument along with you so they can feel Beethoven’s good vibrations.
But the man that wrote this letter to his brothers, the “Heiligenstadt Testament,” deserves something well beyond the standard mode of celebration. https://bit.ly/2k5EcHi
There are many ways to interpret the “Heiligenstadt Testament.” One of the things I hear him tell his brothers is that his music will bring peace, comfort and perhaps even hope to his tormented life.
I also hear him say that he knows his music will also bring beauty, peace, comfort, resolution and perhaps even hope to the entire world.
Because he’s Beethoven, he can make those claims.
Because he’s Beethoven, we know it to be completely true.
So, what should we do to really celebrate Beethoven’s birthday @ 250?