Germany takes command of Beethoven 2020

Not waiting for the Austrians to claim him as a Viennese tax-payer, the federal German government today announced a national festival for the 25oth anniversary of the great composer’s birth, in Bonn, in 1770.

‘The ideas he transmitted through music are more important today than ever. We need to pursue the ideals of freedom and brotherhood more than ever before, and Beethoven transmitted these in a universal language,’ said Culture Minister Monika Grütters.

Very true.

But surely German designers could have done better than this absolutely grotty logo.

beethoven 2020

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    • Obviously, it is an E flat, not a D sharp, in the motive, because it is a triad. Very basic music theory, but apparently too difficult.

  • Fortunately, with Beethoven nobody needs to stick-out his/her neck for the music since it is an established classic – no musical judgement necessary, so: ideal for commemorations.

    How German is Beethoven? Born – from Belgian immigrants – in the Rhineland which was heavily influenced by French enlightenment thought, he settled in Vienna, the musical life of which was strongly Italianized, and incorporated wagon loads of French revolutionary music in his symphonies and concertos. A republican advocate of freedom and equality, he circulated in and was supported by aristocracy, was suspicious of his housekeeper, and single-handedly and unwittingly created the norms and standards of a performing culture of more than 2 centuries.

    So, a typical EU composer who wrote the Union’s hymn which he never heard.

  • Why grotty? You want something alt-Wienerisch? I like the logo. The name without vowels works for me: modern, hip, bold in a Beethoven-ish way, and underscores that the man is still so famous after a quarter of a millennium that we immediately recognize his name without all the letters. For those who like it more old-fashioned, including, I assume, Norman Lebrecht, you have the old painting. And the face of Beethoven peering out through the modern letters suggests (without saying so) that this event is a way to get to know him. Well done!

    • Names written without vowels as a signal of modernity, hipness and boldness, i.e. not wasting effort or space on the idea of correctness or completeness, are an apt symbol of our times indeed. Other spellings could be: BEUTHOVEN, BH, or imply B, reaffirming Hamlet’s dictum ‘To B, to B or not to B, that’s the question’. (Composers with names not beginning with a B, being gravely disadvantaged.)

  • Billy Wilder said, “Give the audience 2 and 2, and let them add it up to 4 themselves and they will love you forever.”

    That’s what that logo does. It presents an amusing puzzle people can solve.

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