Composer Portrait

Ludwig van Beethoven

»The freedom for renewal is in the world of art the purpose, as in all of God’s creation.«

A new viewpoint for an established series. In 2020, the Composer Portrait spotlights not a contemporary composer, but Ludwig van Beethoven. As one of the three so-called »Viennese classics« he is commonly regarded as inseparably linked to Mozart. But neither of them was in his lifetime aware of being a »classic«. »Alone the freedom for renewal is in the world of art the purpose, as in all of God’s creation«, was Beethoven’s avowed artistic creed. Art and music were for him of existential urgency, freedom a necessity for exploring boundaries, redefining them, and once again transcending them.

But even a Beethoven did not compose in complete detachment from time and space. He reacted to his present and was inspired by his role models. Mozart ranks among the constants in Beethoven’s creative life: »I have always counted myself among Mozart’s greatest admirers, and will do so until my dying breath.« Mozart’s works frequently acted as starting points and incentives for Beethoven’s creative energies. The Mozartfest explores where there are commonalities, what the two maestros have in common, and what separates them.

In addition, the year 2020 is a fitting occasion to explore more closely the births of 1770:  like Beethoven, Friedrich Hölderlin and Friedrich Witt – Würzburg’s last Court Director of Music – were also born in that year. Their artistic oeuvre »Geboren 1770« is a major focus of the 2020 Mozartfest.

The fact that even as a young man Beethoven had to struggle with the progressive loss of his hearing finds an echo in the six-part series entitled »Sinn(e)!«: this deals with altered perceptual worlds and the interaction of the senses in terms of musical receptiveness.