Beethoven - Freunde und Feinde

From 22 March 2024 to 22 March 2024/ Switzerland / Basel

Ludwig van Beethoven is without doubt the best-known composer in today's programme. But a good 200 years ago, things looked very different: Around the year 1810, the most internationally successful composer was Joseph Woelfl, who played a decisive role in shaping European musical life from London. Nowadays, however, he is virtually unknown. Ferdinand Ries, whose fame declined rapidly after his death, fared similarly.

In today's programme, Trio Egmont deliberately addresses the question of how it came about that the three composers became so differently known. It is certainly the case that all three were highly talented musicians - as well as fantastic pianists and improvisers. Pianistic "duels" between Beethoven and Woelfl have been recorded, from which neither emerged as the clear "winner". According to observers, both had a very individual style, but were on a par with each other. And Ferdinand Ries was not only Beethoven's "secretary", but also his highly respected confidant and a highly respected composer.
A decisive factor in the endurance of Beethoven's fame was in fact Ferdinand Ries, who disseminated his works throughout his life and wrote an influential biography of him after his death. Together with other admirers, he lobbied for Beethoven like no other composer before him.

Another decisive factor is certainly that Beethoven deliberately wanted to break boundaries and was less dependent on pleasing than Ries and Woelfl. Joseph Woelfl, for example, composed specifically for the taste of his audience - refined, but rarely provocative. Ferdinand Ries was described by contemporaries as a very likeable person and artist, brilliant in his own way, but without the eccentricity of Beethoven, which still has such an impressive effect on us today.
Beethoven - Freunde und Feinde

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