START OF THE LIVE-STREAM ON DECEMBER 18 AT 9 P.M. (EET)
The story of the famous dynasty of musicians began when Ludwig van Beethoven the elder, the son of a Brabantian baker, came to settle in Bonn. He became a singer in the choir of the archbishop-elector of Cologne and eventually rose to become Kappellmeister. His son Johann followed in his father’s footsteps and learned to sing, as well as to play the violin and piano. In 1770, shortly before Christmas, young Ludwig was born to Johann and Magdalen van Beethoven. He had inherited his grandfather’s vigour and dedication; however, due to his fiery eyes and dark complexion, he was nicknamed ‘the Spaniard’ among his peers. With the blessing of Count Ferdinand von Waldstein, a philanthropist and great patron of the arts, the promising young musician met with Joseph Haydn in his hometown of Bonn, so that – in Waldstein’s words – he could receive Mozart's spirit from Haydn's hands.
In 1792, Beethoven travelled to Vienna, which opened up a world of opportunities for the young virtuoso pianist. There he engulfed himself in the rich culture of the Habsburg Empire, learned the ‘Viennese style’, and composed his first piano concertos. His Piano Concerto No. 1 (which was actually the third he had written) was spirited and joyful, reminiscent of the sophisticated lifestyle characteristic of that gallant époque.
In his early thirties, Beethoven was struck by his life’s greatest tragedy. He gradually began to grow deaf, which left a marked impact on his music. Many of his compositions from this period centre on the theme of heroes and struggles. Robert Schumann likens Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 to a Greek maiden caught between two giants – the Third and the Fifth. It begins with a fluttering first movement, followed by a deeply moving and beautiful second, and concludes with a tempestuous finale.
In honour of Ludwig van Beethoven’s 250th anniversary, Sinfonietta Rīga and conductor Normunds Šnē have invited the talented pianist Reinis Zariņš to join them in a collaborative performance. The concert will be aired live from the Dzintari Concert Hall on 18 December at 21:00.
Foto: ©Andris Sproģis