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Beethoven Orchester Bonn: „Egmont“ – Incidental music for Goethe’s tragedy “Egmont” op. 84

(c) Felix von Hagen

The first recording of the Beethoven Orchestra with his GMD Dirk Kaftan (since 2017) is the incidental music for Goethe’s “Egmont” by Ludwig van Beethoven (première 1789 in Mainz). The CD has been released on 18th of January 2019 at MDG Records.

First of all “Egmont” is a drama of inner processes, of the feelings these processes evoke. Goethe placed great weight on the music that would project these feelings outwards, that would amplify them. For that he asked his friend Philipp Christoph Kayser to compose four entr’actes for the intervals between the five acts. He also ordered a Victory Symphony for the final curtain, two songs for Clärchen and a Melodrama that was to portray the departure of the imprisoned Egmont into another world. When Beethoven took over the commission a few years later, he added an overture, in line with contemporary conventions. This overture is still the most often played of all his incidental music to Egmont.

Playgoers of Beethoven’s time were accustomed to hearing stage music. They are so strong that they stamp their own character on the drama for which they were written. Goethe himself intended the music to address and develop the moods and ideas of the play, and here too the unfolding action is relayed by text from one musical passage to the next. In this recording original quotations are linking the successive passages of music. As narrator the orchestra won one of the famoust german actors, Matthias Brandt. The text of “Egmont” declaimed by him was compiled by Tilmann Böttcher and Brandt from Goethe’s drama. Egmonts sweetheart Clärchen is sung by the soprano Olga Bezsmertna, since 2012 ensemble member of the Vienna State Opera.

The recording took place in October 2018 at the Stadthalle in Bad Godesberg.

> press release CD “Egmont op. 84”


Das Beethoven Orchester Bonn
To set out in Beethoven’s native city in search of the young firebrand and bring that blithe spirit to people – that is the mission of the Beethoven Orchestra of Bonn. Its more than 50 concerts and 110 opera performances every year make it the driving force in Bonn’s musical life. Together with its General Music Director Dirk Kaftan the celebrated ensemble seeks to discover new musical worlds at the highest artistic level – whether the music be three hundred years old, from Beethoven’s time, or of the present day; whether it spring from cultures on the other side of the globe; or even if years will be directed towards intercultural and participatory projects, the search for out-of-the-ordinary performance locations and concert formats and the quest for up-to-the-minute ways of communicating the artistic message.

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