Paris patches together a made-up Beethoven 10th

Paris patches together a made-up Beethoven 10th


norman lebrecht

November 22, 2019

This weekend, the Philharmonie de Paris will revive a synthetic Beethoven tenth symphony, a tape collage made by the late musique concrète composer Pierre Henry from extracts of the other nine.

The piece has been performed once before, at Bonn in 1979.

Details here.


  • yujafan says:

    A version of the 1st movement was recorded by the LSO under Wyn Morris some years back:

    • C Porumbescu says:

      No, that’s Barry Cooper’s scholarly reconstruction of the sketches. Completely different thing.

      • yujafan says:

        I know, and I didn’t say or even imply it was the same thing, merely that “a version of the 1st movement was recorded by the LSO under Wyn Morris some years back”. Please read with accuracy in future before commenting.

  • Mike Schachter says:


  • Cavett, Esther says:

    For the 1770 anniversary, Stockhausen constructed a piece “Stockhoven – Beethausen’ where fragments of LvB’s music were treated as input to S’s own Kurzwellen for short wave radio. That was quite ambitious

    • David K. Nelson says:

      Can it possibly be as wonderful as Peter Schickele’s “Quodlibet” for small orchestra which builds up a theme from each of the Beethoven symphonies (in order, and in reasonably convincing counterpoint) and then tops it all off with the last movement of Brahms’s First?

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Whynot a revival of Stockhausen’s ‘Opus 1970 – Kurzwellen mit Beethoven’?

  • Doug says:

    I have an idea: let’s have a “Rap Artist” mangle and destroy update Schiller’s beautiful poetry as a naked marketing ploy to get me conducting gigs!

  • John Borstlap says:

    I stopped reading after:

    « Un simple accord provenant de la Sixième symphonie, un bout de thème de la Cinquième empilé avec des des traits de violons de la Deuxième ou encore des extraits de la Neuvième diffusés à l’envers, etc. Au total, près de deux heures de musique qui constituent l’hommage de Pierre Henry à Beethoven, qui le considérait comme son véritable professeur de composition. »

    So, a collage made with little fragments from all symphonies, meant as a ‘hommage’ by someone who imagines LvB to be his true composition teacher. I don’t know how this exercise will sound, but I have some idea of it. What other lessons did Mr Henry learn from Beethoven ?

    I think when Mr Henry listened to a Beethoven symphony, he did not hear the music but the sounds it makes. Also his idea of ‘modernity’ – widely promoted around his works – leaves something to be wished for, to put it mildly.

    These types, and their fans, use the notion of ‘modernity’ in a completely misconceived way. ‘Modern’ merely means: of today, of the present, it is a historical category, not an artistic one. But it is almost always used as a prescription instead of an observation. A modernity which sounds like Mr Henry’s, is a very sad idea, and entirely meaningless in comparison with the 20C modernity of contemporaries like Benjamin Britten or Dmitri Shostakovich.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Leave it alone. Beethoven is decomposing now.