Saturday November 7, 2020
Knox United Church, Parksville. Concert at 7 pm, doors open at 6:30 pm
The second concert for OCCS’s 2020-2021 season promises to be memorable as we celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludvig van Beethoven. No doubt, there will be a myriad of concerts in honour of the master composer’s December 16, 1770 birthday; however, this unique programme highlights Beethoven as a young man in his 20s, features his music composed in the 1790s. George Zukerman, OC, OBC, renowned veteran bassoonist and Artistic Advisor for OCCS, will bring ten stellar musicians to the Knox stage for this highly anticipated event.
Beethoven’s actual birth date is not recorded but his baptismal date is noted as December 17, 1770. Given that baptisms took place within 24 hours of a birth, the December 16 birth date became the choice.
Music took priority in Beethoven’s life from an early age. For his first known performance in public…March 26, 1778…Beethoven played clavier concertos and trios. Although he was seven at the time, his father promoted him as being six – possibly for comparison to the child prodigy, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Gottlob Neefe began teaching Beethoven in 1780. Neefe wrote “He plays the clavier very skillfully and with power (and) reads at sight very well… This youthful genius is deserving of help to enable him to travel. He would surely become a second Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart were he to continue as he has begun.”
At age 12, in 1783, Beethoven composed his first piece – Nine Variations on a March by Dressler. On October 14, 1783 his three Kurfurtsen Piano Sonatas, were published.
In 1787, Beethoven traveled to Vienna to meet Mozart and became the prodigy’s student, though briefly. Beethoven had to return to Bonn, Germany to be with his dying mother. When he was able to return to Vienna five years later, Mozart had died (December 5, 1791).
Beethoven met Franz Joseph Haydn in December, 1790. Haydn promised to take the young man on as a student. In November 1792, when Beethoven was nearly 22 years old, he returned to Vienna – this time to study with Haydn. There, in Vienna, Beethoven spent the rest of his life. He never returned to his family home in Bonn.
OCCS’s Saturday November 7 concert will take listeners through Beethoven’s compositions of the 1790s, the years following the deaths of his mother, then his father; his years under the tutelage of Haydn; his Illness (possibly typhus) and the beginning indications of deafness. Be prepared for a rewarding journey through this programme with Mr. Zukerman as our guide.
Written by Mary Leigh Warden