London gets an unscheduled Beethoven cycle

London gets an unscheduled Beethoven cycle

Why Beethoven

norman lebrecht

April 25, 2023

Neither the wokey-woke South Bank nor the unfocussed Barbican bother much with antiquated things any more, so a famous church on Trafalgar Square is stepping up to keep Beethoven in our ears.

St Martin-in-the-Fields announced its 2023-24 season this morning. Among the highlights Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique will perform a Beethoven symphony cycle along with a rare performance of the Mass in C.

Gardiner will also give two Handel masterpieces with the English Baroque Soloists – L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato and Israel in Egypt.


  • observer says:

    ugh how BORING! Haven’t we had enough of every orchestra in town and their precious Beethoven cycle? No wonder audience turnout is dropping!

  • Jerry says:

    It’s true that the world needs another Beethoven cycle…*yawn*

    • Anon says:

      Yet people will show up. It will be packed. Because it’s great classical music.

      • observer says:

        It’s great, it’s also overplayed and I can see it next year if I want to. I can also pick a free recording on YouTube if this orchestra isn’t my jam. What’s going to be so special about this that I absolutely can’t miss out? These are the questions that this industry pretends don’t exist, and then they wonder why ACE views some ensembles as superfluous and meriting cuts.

        • Harry Collier says:

          I don’t understand “Jam” or “ACE”. Maybe Google Translate can help with non-English writers?

          • Peter San Diego says:

            “Isn’t my jam” = “isn’t to my taste” or “isn’t high on my list”.

            ACE = Arts Council England

        • Sue Sonata Form says:

          In such circumstances, I usually make a decision based upon the quality/status of the orchestra and its conductor. Nothing less than the very best for a Beethoven cycle will see you through any reservations (pun intended) you might have!

      • Tristan says:

        so true at once here as most comments so ridiculous

  • Nigel says:

    Excellent. Looking forward to hearing and seeing this. Covid stopped the Beethoven Gardiner cycle at the Barbican in 2020.

    The Handel pieces are very welcome!

  • Worried says:

    Thank goodness there are a few civilised people like John Eliot left, but he’s 80 and we can’t rely on him for our Beethoven forever. I am so worried and depressed about the future in a time when the Southbank thinks being black or disabled is more important than being able to play your instrument. Where will those of us who truly love classical music go for our culture in ten years?

    • observer says:

      You have your library of recordings to rely on for the future, the kids will decide what they want to hear and the market forces will change. Womp womp

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Great music will survive the shallow stupidity of woke culture and its slavish herds of unimaginatve groupies.

  • sonicsinfonia says:

    Dont know whether there are plans to extend to a complete cycle, but Francois-Xavier Roth has been leading interesting performances of Beethoven symphonies with the LSO – 6 and 9 to come before the end of this season.

  • Paul Wells says:

    “Neither the wokey-woke South Bank [sic]… bother much with antiquated things any more…” is my cue to fire up the Google machine.

    Highlights from the upcoming season at Southbank, as even I know it’s written: Verdi Requiem, Bach Goldberg Variations, Mahler 2, Sibelius 6/ Shostakovich 6, Bartok, Stravinsky, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, more Brahms, Rachmaninov.

    That’s in the season’s first 11 days.

  • Rob Keeley says:

    A light shining in the cultural darkness. Especially the Handel.

  • Nik says:

    Looks suspiciously like a schedule to me.

  • Corno di Caccia says:

    Beethoven with JEG????!! I’d rather listen to my favourite recordings.

  • Player says:

    He did the Bach B Minor Mass from there a couple of days ago – which was live on the wireless…

    Maybe the future isn’t publicly funded at all?

    Churches, musical entrepreneurs like JEG, and patrons!

  • Peter San Diego says:

    I don’t urgently need yet another symphony cycle, but the chance to hear the C major Mass makes me wish I weren’t thousands of kilometers from London.