He recently took out the figurative gold logie for Australia’s most popular composer but how well do we really know Beethoven? This unique evening commemorating his 250th year delivers startling insights into the turning point of his life, October 6 1802, when he composed not a piece of music but a letter that he kept secret until he died. Brett Dean, himself now one of the world’s most acclaimed composers, leads the ASO from the violas and invites his friend Christopher Clark, professor of history at Cambridge University, to give a rich context-social, political and scientific-for the famous Heiligenstadt Testament.
The realisation that the playful, life-affirming works written when Ludwig was a stellar figure in Vienna are actually those of a young man on the brink of suicide will shock you. That he could defy his depression and crippling affliction with the most revolutionary symphony ever composed, the Eroica, is one of Art’s great miracles.
At the concert’s centre Dean’s own moving and terrifying work evokes the maestro’s vanishing sound world and lets us share the panic and alienation that he was forced to mask.
[Dean] conjured the Eroica with a creator’s fresh ear for its iconoclasm and a natural communicator’s instinct for breath, focus and direction. Orchestral musicians who could stand up to play did so…and strong inner voices sprang to life, unfurling the symphony as a gigantic piece of chamber music…Wonderfully invigorating. The Guardian
Brett Dean - Play/Direct Viola
Sir Christopher Clark - Presenter
Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
Beethoven - Movements from Septet, Piano Concerto No.1 (Introduction), Symphony No.1 and Symphony No.2
Brett Dean - Testament
Beethoven - Symphony No.3, Eroica