Germans name boss for Beethoven year

The conductor and administrator Christian Lorenz has been named artistic director of Beethoven 250, the year-long national Beethoven bash in 2020.

Lorenz, 54, a former head of the orchestra academy at the Schleswig-Holstein festival, went on to run the International Bachakademie Stuttgart for Helmut Rilling before setting up his own management firm.

He starts work on January 1. The Beethoven Year has been allocated a federal budget of 27 million Euros.

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    • Because Beet is PC.

      Also he is a symbol of German humanism (rightly so) and progressive modernization (wrongly so), which both compensate for the dark period 1914-1945. There won’t be a Spiegel magazine cover with demonizing picture, as there was in the Wagner year.

      27m euros is, if you think about it, by far not enough. All of Europe should pump money into that year, into all orchestras who promise to polish their V and IX, and into education so that future generations will be informed about his existence.

      B’s work is full of contraditions, or better: full of inner tensions and conflicts which give it the particular appeal for contemporary audiences and performers, because they reflect the normal, deeper existential problems of human life, and in the same time they are well-organized into ennobling wholes so that these conflicts, as identified with by audiences, obtain meaning. Academia often describes him as the first modernist, transgressing boundaries, creating new worlds, changing ‘the musical language’, opening the doors to romanticism and modernity, etc. etc. which is all greatly exaggerated and taken out of context: B was in the first place a typical 18C classicist who expanded musical means to bend them into larger classicist structures. If the Beethoven year results in pumping-up the false and uninformed image of pre-modernist and barricade climber, he will be used in the same way as communists and nazis used him as a banner for their philosophies. The best approach seems to be to highlight B’s being embedded in the European humanist tradition, and Aufklärung, and not let him being prostituted for the last gasp of modernism which still paralyses German new music, and narrow-minded rightwing nationalism which is stirring again everywhere in the areas.

      Actually, it should also be Vienna celebrating their renown immigrant of yore, combining it with performing any later Beethovenesque symphonic writing like Mahler and Schoenberg’s 1st Chamber Symphony.

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