Bonn will celebrate Beethoven with Robbie Williams and Lang Lang

The birthplace town has named its stars for Beethoven Year, funded by Telekom.

If Isaac Asimov was still alive, he’d make science fiction of it.

The rest is beyond irony. Maybe Lang Lang will play Rage over a Lost Penny, but what will Williams sing – ah, perfido?




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  • Mr. Knowitall says:

    The well-funded Beethoven 2020 year is extraordinarily varied including programs ranging from pop to experimental and New Music (myself included in there, it so happens). But the overwhelming majority of concerts are Beethoven played as people imagine Beethoven would have intended.

    • John Borstlap says:

      It is assumed that the pop element will make Beethoven accessible to the masses, and that experimental and new music will give credence to the oldfashioned postwar avantgardism of our days because LvB was ‘also an avantgardist’ in his days – giving a glimmer of glamour to groundbreaking works of today:

    • Stuart L. says:

      In a 1999 poll for Channel 4, HMV and Classic FM Robbie Williams was voted as the 6th most influential musician of the second Millennium (Mozart was 7th and Bach 10th with Beethoven failing to make the Top 10) so his credentials are seemingly impeccable.

      And crucially, as only one of the top 5 is still living (Paul McCartney at 5th the top four being John Lennon, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and Jimi Hendrix), he is surely a natural (2nd) choice?

  • John Borstlap says:

    I first thought it were a joke. But no, that does not seem to be the case. There are many Germans trying to prevent the impression that they are stiff bourgeois and that classical music is elitist. So, they defecate on their cultural icon in public to show their progressiveness.

  • Petros Linardos says:


    Like Norman Lebrecht, I am only cherry picking among the artists to appear in the 2020 Beethoven Fest. There are many others. Overall the list doesn’t look like, say, Salzburg or Lurcerne, so they shouldn’t be bashed for being too centered on stars. Incidentally, I didn’t see Lang Lang and Robbie Williams in the program. Maybe I didn’t look very carefully.

    • John Borstlap says:

      But that is not the point. The point is, that pop singers don’t belong in the context of a celebration of a classical music icon. For comparable reasons, Beethoven’s music does not belong to the Eurovision Songfestival. You don’t invite a gorilla at a wedding, it is confusing contexts.

      • Mr. Knowitall says:

        Or maybe province officials thought that pop fans should get a taste of the millions of taxpayer euros that were allocated for the year-long festival.

        • John Borstlap says:

          For a European Kulturnation it is normal that the state takes responsibility for culture and its manifestations, irrelevant of attendance numbers.

    • V. Lind says:

      Is it possible that you have the “official” festival and NL has presented one of doubtless many others sponsored by individual companies?

  • Sue Sonata Form says:


  • Leporello says:

    The ‘Eroica’ performed with tin cans, combs and paper and penny whistles? None of that elitist stuff.

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