On Beethoven 250

In celebration of Beethoven's 250th anniversary HP artists give their views on the great man

By HarrisonParrott Foundation

Edo de Waart conductorHarrisonParrott Foundation

Edo de Waart

One of the things I love about Beethoven is that he can turn on a dime – from fury and rage to ​‘I’m sorry I didn’t mean it, I love you.’ We are used to this in Romantic music now, but it wouldn’t have happened if Beethoven hadn’t been what he was. He pushed the possibilities of writing about one’s emotions. He’s not lying on the psychiatrist’s couch, but his music is personal, and in order to play it, you have to make it personal, too. Read more here

Osmo Vänskä conductorHarrisonParrott Foundation

Osmo Vänskä

Beethoven never just copied what had been done before. He always had new ideas and wanted to create original sounds and harmonies. During my lifetime there has been a journey from the Romantic sound of Beethoven played by big orchestras to a more authentic way, which is how we believe people played during his lifetime – with less vibrato and smaller string sections, among other things. I have found my own place somewhere between the two, closer to the authentic tradition. I think about the positive things a modern symphony orchestra can bring but also focus on the original sounds (although I still can’t perform Beethoven without any vibrato!). Read more here

Marie-Ange Nguci pianistHarrisonParrott Foundation

Marie-Ange Nguci

I think of Beethoven not only as a composer but also as a thinker and philosopher. He had such a difficult existence. He devoted his life to music, and his work traces a human path through doubt and sacrifice – it’s a personal, metaphysical and philosophical experience rather than just a musical and artistic one. His innovative spirit and visionary power propelled his legacy beyond his own era and allowed his music to cross every border. Liszt wrote in a letter to the writer Wilhelm von Lenz that, ​‘For us musicians, Beethoven’s work is like the pillar of cloud and fire which guided the Israelites through the desert.’ There are few composers who have this power to inspire us. Read more here

Daniel Kharitinov pianistHarrisonParrott Foundation

Daniel Kharitonov

He was possibly the first composer of his time who hadn’t played the harpsichord and chose to play the fortepiano – he was an amazing virtuoso pianist. He changed performance style for the piano: it was not only about very fast and technical playing; it was also about the pianist as hero. Contemporary records show that he played with a lot of emotion and was like a volcano – people who heard him talked about that. Read more here.

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