Episode 50 – Gunpowder
John begins by turning the clock back to discuss some of the mystery around the great composer’s arrival in the world, and explains why no-one is sure exactly when he was born.
Then, John picks up the story 55 years later with a short canon Beethoven composed to compensate for his non-appearance in London to conduct his Symphony No.9, Ars Longa, Vita Brevis; Art endures, but life is short. He also plays a dramatic choral piece published around the same time, Tremate, empire tremate.
Real life was proving to be just as dramatic; after a violent confrontation between Beethoven and his nephew, a desperate Karl took a train to Baden with a bag packed with pistols and gunpowder. The events that followed would lead to Beethoven’s ultimate humiliation.
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.