Beethoven’s 250th Birthday: Here’s Everything You Need to Know

No composer left a mark on music fairly like Ludwig van Beethoven. He took the favored types of his time — symphony, string quartet, piano sonata, opera — and stretched them to their breaking factors. He embodied the then-new preferrred of the musician as passionate, politically engaged Romantic hero.

In honor of the 250th anniversary of his delivery — he was baptized Dec. 17, 1770, and doubtless born a day or two earlier — writers and critics for The New York Occasions have spent the yr selecting their favourite recordings; delving into his life and occasions; touring from the home the place he was born in Bonn, Germany, to his grave in Vienna, Austria; talking with a few of his greatest interpreters; and exploring his huge, influential physique of labor. It’s, if not the whole lot it’s good to learn about Beethoven, then a fairly good begin.


We requested a few of our favourite artists which 5 minutes of his music they’d play to make their buddies fall in love with Beethoven. We created our dream cycle of his 9 symphonies, choosing a favourite recording of every. And our chief classical critic describes how his works are constructed from tiny bits of fabric.

“The time appeared ripe for a pilgrimage in quest of Beethoven, the person,” our reporter wrote early this yr. We additionally printed profiles of people that surrounded him, prodded and impressed him.

“He was not anyone who was content material to put in writing elegant music for simple listening,” mentioned the conductor John Eliot Gardiner, who makes use of tough, recent devices like these performed in Beethoven’s time. Our critic wrote that this was “precisely what we wanted on this yr of Beethoven saturation.”

Our chief critic, who took on the daunting Op. 110 Sonata in school, explores the “extraordinary achievement” of Igor Levit’s new recording of the complete set, whereas cherishing Artur Schnabel’s basic cycle. And the pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard talks about why he thinks of Beethoven as avant-garde — nonetheless.

What’s it like listening to all 17 of his works for string quartet? It gave one author “an acute consciousness of the extraordinary vary of sensations Beethoven depicts. Pleasure. Rage. Slyness. Gravitas. Grief. Snickering. Despair. Holiness.”

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