Episode 45 – The Final Five Years
John arrives in the last five years of Beethoven’s life, as we reach the year 1823 in the story of the great composer, and finds him applying for a job; something he’d only done once before. The position he seeks is abolished, and his health problems keep coming too, as he’s struggling with his sight as well as his hearing. John plays a piece demonstrating that at least his sense of humour was still intact.
John also reveals what happens when Beethoven attended a recital by a young pianist who was making waves; a certain Franz Liszt, and explains how Beethoven was inspired to compose what became, in John’s opinion, the greatest set of piano variations he would ever write.
He also plays the finale of Beethoven’s biggest choral work - albeit finished three years too late for the ceremony for which it was written - along with his final piano sonata, and the first of his Late Quartets, considered to be amongst the greatest body of writing in all music.
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.