Episode 39 – Tick-Tock
In this episode, John explores the friendship between Beethoven and the German-born inventor and showman, Johann Nepomuk Malzel. Malzel has gone down in history as the probable inventor of the metronome, so John plays part of Beethoven’s Symphony No.8 said to be inspired by the metronome’s tick-tock rhythm. He also reveals the unusual piece that the great composer wrote for Malzel’s newly-invented “mechanical orchestra”.
Then, John discovers which pieces Beethoven played for the first time at a series of charity concerts he put on with Malzel, including a work described at the time as “written by someone who has lost their mind” - his Symphony No.7 - and an Italian song Beethoven composed for the unusual vocal combination of soprano, tenor and bass.
Finally, he tells the story of the disastrous concert that lead to Beethoven realising, for the first time that deafness meant his performing days were over.
All the Beethoven pieces featured in this podcast are taken from the 90-disc Naxos box set, the Complete Beethoven Edition. You can buy yours by heading to Presto Classical and Europadisc.