Revolutions. The political ones often benefited only the chosen, at the expense of the drama of many other people, which is why making a profit and loss account is so extremely difficult for them. Musical revolutions seem no less ambivalent. Fortunately, however, their effect was at the most a few scratched fists and bruised noses of hot-headed lovers of one or another musical style, and they did no direct harm to anyone. Yet they have changed the world. Usually, at their helm stood, waving the flag of their own genius (and their own ego), individuals claiming to have been chosen gods. How often they forgot about their predecessors and colleagues from whose achievements they first drew profusely, and then contested them. Some believe that this was the case with Beethoven. After all, he wrote string quartets like Haydn, symphonies like Mozart, and operas (only one – sic!). No better than the other two. So what revolutionary is he? And yet the music after Beethoven is not the same as before, and the way we think about music is no longer the same. Never before him had the opera been a commentary on current political events, never before him had the symphony in such a clear way been a carrier of inexpressible meanings, but after all so strongly felt meanings, never before had the string quartet tested the listeners’ susceptibility to experiment, after all the ARTIST had never before had such moral superiority over rulers and politicians, and not in the sense of the fairness of his private life, but in the right to judge the world only by virtue of his talent. If we attribute such momentous importance to music today, and more broadly: to art, and we give such a special importance to artists, then the sources of this attitude can also be found in the Beethoven revolution (oh really?).
The National Forum of Music is celebrating with all the 250th anniversary of the birth of one of the greatest geniuses in the history of humankind. In addition to a dedicated series of concerts presented throughout the entire season, one of the most important moments in the celebration of the anniversary will be the annual Academy of Early Music, this year the Beethoven Academy. The legendary Jos van Immerseel and the debuting Butter Quartet, chamber music, symphonies and Beethoven’s only opera Fidelio, concert-tale about Beethoven for adults, lectures, exhibitions of instruments and Beethoven’s manuscripts. Beethoven in a nutshell. We seem to know everything about him. Are you sure?