Ludwig van Beethoven

#Baethoven

Posted by:  The Philadelphia Orchestra on January 31, 2020

As part of the Orchestra’s BeethovenNOW celebration, and in honor of Valentine’s Day, we asked a number of musicians to tell us why they love Beethoven.

 

“Beethoven happened to be the very first classical album I heard as a kid. It was Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 and Egmont Overture, and I still remember hearing it with such a pull and compelling fondness! My only complaint about Beethoven: I wish he wrote more songs and music for voice, as I love to listen to singers. At the same time, I love playing his chamber music, and, in turn, can hopefully sing instead through my instrument with the music that he did write.”

—Daniel Matsukawa, Principal Bassoon

 

“I love Beethoven not only due to the power of his music, but also because of the majesty. So often he calls upon the trumpets to define that majestic sound—it simply never gets old!”

—David Bilger, Principal Trumpet

 

“Beethoven is one of the most rewarding composers as a horn player, because you get to change roles so frequently and quickly. You switch from rhythm section under the strings with the trumpets and timpani, to bringing a chordal support system to the woodwinds, to an occasional super fun exposed horn call. It is chamber music and musical interplay at its most brilliant, inside gorgeous orchestral works. I can’t wait to do the complete Beethoven symphonies this spring!”

—Jennifer Montone, Principal Horn

 

“1. He was far ahead of his time in composing music. Some of it sounds futuristic even to musicians living in the 21st century.

2. He went right on composing even when he had to face what would normally be a death sentence to a musician, becoming deaf.

3. His music touches your heart directly and as strongly as any other composer.”

Choong-Jin Chang, Principal Viola

 

“Beethoven was a ground-breaking, follow-no-rules, revolutionary figure in the history of music. He was neither an elegant Classicist nor a lush Romanticist: He was the transition from one period to the other and he unleashed upon this world his own, powerful, Beethovenian language. Performing Beethoven always blows my mind!”

—David Kim, Concertmaster

 

“I love playing Beethoven because he wrote music fearlessly, boldly, and in the words of one of our previous music directors, with ‘no compromises.’ He wrote complex music, mixing it with simple folk-like melodies. He wrote with humor, with passion, with devotion—the full gamut of human feeling. And as a timpanist, he brought my instrument into equal footing with every other instrument in the orchestra—what's not to love about Beethoven?! Finally, in profound deafness, he wrote some of the greatest music that will ever be written. God bless him.”

—Don Liuzzi, Principal Timpani

 

“Not enough tuba.”

—Carol Jantsch, Principal Tuba

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