Nine Symphonies by Ludwig van Beethoven

July 17 to 25

 

Ludwig van Beethoven’s nine symphonies are among the most revolutionary works in classical music. On July 17 to 25, Stingray Brava broadcasts the complete cycle of Ludwig van Beethoven’s symphonies performed by the Berliner Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Italian conductor Claudio Abbado.

The heroic Symphony No. 3, dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte, marks the beginning of Beethoven creative period, in which he personally influences the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras. Beethoven’s symphonies broadened the scope of form, structure, harmony, orchestration and melodic development. His creative innovations paved the way for composers for generations to come.

The nine symphonies are among the most performed classical pieces in the world, particularly Symphony No. 3, Symphony No. 5 with its famous opening, and Symphony No. 6, also known as the Pastoral. Inevitably, everyone will recognize the celebrated “Ode an die Freude” from his Magnum Opus, Symphony No. 9. 

Conductor Claudio Abbado was born in a family of musicians. Following his 1960 debut at La Scala in Milan, he was assistant to the revered Leonard Bernstein in New York. By 1966, he was already working with the Berliner Philharmonic and in 1989, the year the Berlin Wall fell, he succeeded Herbert von Karajan as chief conductor, marking a new beginning for the orchestra. Veteran musicians cleared the way for a new generation of performers.
Abbado favours exploring themes such as Prometheus and Shakespeare, and large-scale projects such as recording Mahler’s full orchestral works and, of course, the complete Beethoven symphonies as featured on Stingray Brava!


Monday, July 17 at 17:05 CEST | Beethoven - Symphony No. 1 

Performing Ludwig van Beethoven's nine symphonies is the highlight of Claudio Abbado's 12-year tenure as chief conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker. This monumental feat was lauded as "the most wonderful symphonic cycle of the past decade" by Italian newspaper La Repubblica, and the Süddeutsche Zeitung was also full of praise: “Abbado releases all the conflicting elements of Ludwig van Beethoven's cosmos - nothing works anymore, the music threatens to explode once and for all, deliverance has to come from somewhere. A powerful moment of unsparing analysis of Beethoven and his own self…”

Conductor: Claudio Abbado
Performers: Berlin Philharmonic
Producer: EuroArts Music International
Video Director: Paul Smaczny
Location: Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Rome
Year: 2001 


Tuesday, July 18 at 16:30 CEST | Beethoven – Symphony No. 2

Performing Ludwig van Beethoven's nine symphonies is the highlight of Clauio Abbado's 12-year tenure as chief conductor of the Berlinr Philharmoniker. This monumental feat was lauded as "the most wonderful symphonic cycle of the past decade" by Italian newspaper La Repubblica, and the Süddeutsche Zeitung was also full of praise: “Abbado releases all the conflicting elements of Ludwig van Beethoven's cosmos - nothing works anymore, the music threatens to explode once and for all, deliverance has to come from somewhere. A powerful moment of unsparing analysis of Beethoven and his own self…”

Conductor: Claudio Abbado
Performers: Berliner Philharmoniker
Provider: EuroArts Music International
Video Director: Paul Smaczny
Location: Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Rome


Wednesday, July 19 at 14:00 CEST | Beethoven - Symphony No. 3


Thursday, July 20 at 14:05 CEST | Beethoven - Symphony No. 4


Friday, July 21 at 14:05 CEST | Beethoven - Symphony No. 5

‘Ta-ta-ta-taa’: quite possibly the most famous opening sequence, to one of the most famous symphonies ever written. It has become impossible to think of concert halls today without Beethoven’s ‘Fifth’, but for a symphony this popular it had a rather disastrous opening night. December 22nd 1808 the piece was premiered, alongside the Sixth Symphony, the Fantasy in C minor for Piano, Chorus, and Orchestra, and also the Fourth Piano Concerto and parts of the Mass in C. A concert marathon, in fact, and truly exhausting for the underpaid musicians. Vienna at that time was experiencing a gruesomely cold winter, meaning even the audience had a hard time in the unheated concert hall. Beethoven’s biographer Anton Schindler noted: “the reception accorded to these works was not as desired, and probably no better than the author himself had expected. The public was not endowed with the necessary degree of comprehension for such extraordinary music, and the performance left a great deal to be desired.”


Saturday, July 22 at 17:05 CEST | Beethoven - Symphony No. 6

It must have been quite a concert: at 6:30 PM on December 22, 1808, the poorly heated Theater an der Wien provided the backdrop for the premiere of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4. His Choral Fantasy, his concert aria ‘Ah! perfido’, selections from the Mass in C and his Fifth and Sixth Symphonies were performed. Each and every one of these compositions is a masterpiece; their influence on music history has proven enormous. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, ‘Pastorale’, is a text book example of programme music: Beethoven cleverly sketches the peace and quiet of the country life.


Sunday, July 23 at 14:05 CEST | Beethoven - Symphony No. 7

The year 1812 was a busy year for the by then already famous but deaf Ludwig van Beethoven. He finally met Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (another German celebrity) but was disappointed by his personality, had an eventful love life and wrote the famous letter to his anonymous ‘Unsterbliche Geliebte’ (Immortal Beloved) and also tried to interfere in the life of his youngest brother, who had an affair with one of the maids. Amidst all this he still found the time to compose some new pieces, among which was his Seventh Symphony. The piece was first performed in 1813 at a charity event for wounded soldiers, by a rather special orchestra: Louis Spohr for instance was one of the violinists, and Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Giacomo Meyerbeer and Antonio Salieri were also among those in the orchestra.


Monday, July 24 at 14:05 CEST | Beethoven - Symphony No. 8 

 

Tuesday, July 25 at 21:00 CEST | Beethoven - Symphony No. 9 

Performing Ludwig van Beethoven's nine symphonies is the highlight of Claudio Abbado's 12-year tenure as chief conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker. This monumental feat was lauded as "the most wonderful symphonic cycle of the past decade" by Italian newspaper La Repubblica, and the Süddeutsche Zeitung was also full of praise: “Abbado releases all the conflicting elements of Ludwig van Beethoven's cosmos - nothing works anymore, the music threatens to explode once and for all, deliverance has to come from somewhere. A powerful moment of unsparing analysis of Beethoven and his own self…”

Conductor: Claudio Abbado
Soloists: Karita Matittila, Violeta Urmana, Thomas Moser, Eike Wilm-Schulte
Orchestra: Berliner Philharmoniker
Choir: Eric Ericson Chamber Choir, Swedish Radio Choir
Location: Berliner Philharmonie, Berlin
Year: 2001