Celebrating Beethoven’s 250th Birthday


Be embraced, millions!
Celebrating Beethoven's 250th Birthday


Beethoven is everywhere - especially in Vienna. He composed all of his masterpieces here, 1 opera, 5 piano concertos, 9 symphonies, 32 piano sonatas, and much more and thereby cemented Vienna’s position as the musical centre of Europe. Today, Beethoven is the most frequently played composer in the world and his Ninth Symphony is the most frequently performed work worldwide. He led music of the Viennese Classical era to its highest degree of development and paved the way toward Romanticism in music. For his 250th birthday, Bösendorfer honours this great composer with a Limited Edition Grand Piano.

A brilliant piano player himself, Beethoven created works of unexcelled influence in music history, in the seminal forms for the Viennese Classical period: the symphony, piano sonata, and string quartet. As if that were not already enough, he even laid the foundation for rock ‘n’ roll. The legendary “Ta-ta-ta-taaaa” is not only the formative motive of the first movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony in C minor, Op. 65. With these four notes, he also composed the first important riff in music history, one probably as well-known as Deep Purple’s guitar riff in „Smoke On The Water“. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony served as a template for the hit “A Song of Joy”, which was popular worldwide. Since 1985, the instrumental version of the “Ode to Joy” has been the anthem of the European Union, and the Ninth Symphony even determined the storage capacity of the compact disc medium. Asked by product developers, the conductor Herbert von Karajan said, “it needs to be possible to hear Beethoven’s Ninth in one go on a single CD”.

Beethoven’s life was characterised by sociopolitical upheaval and intense warlike events; consequently, he was interested in politics in addition to music, philosophy and literature. In his middle compositional period, he liked to evoke the heroic aspect of humanity. Beethoven was impassioned by the French Revolution and its ideals of liberté, egalité, fraternité (liberty, equality, fraternity). He had intended to dedicate his Third Symphony, the “Eroica”, to Napoleon, yet when Napoleon crowned himself Emperor, Beethoven angrily scribbled out this dedication from the title page of the manuscript.

 

As a perfectionist Beethoven chiseled away at his works time and again, revising and correcting them into the late hours of the night. Beginning in his early thirties, he increasingly suffered from hearing impairment and his desperation became ever greater. He was going through the deepest crisis of his life. In his “Heiligenstadt Testament”, he grants us a devastating glimpse into his psychological state and his suicidal thoughts. A musical genius once possessed of perfect pitch and now nearly deaf—if this became known, he feared, his musical future would have been ruined.

Beethoven thereby became a lonely misfit. He was left to develop music and his innermost being, telling himself, “Thou must create everything from within”

By experiencing inner death, a new, a higher access to music war created in Beethoven. His love of nature and his interminable walks helped him: “I am blissful, happy in the forest”. It was here that he drew strength and inspiration: “I need to go outside to generate ideas! My kingdom is in the air; as often the wind, so my notes whirl, so it is within my soul.”

As a result he created 9 synphonies, 32 piano sonatas, 60 piano works and numerous other compositions.

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Already deaf, Beethoven composed the Ninth Symphony. In addition to his revolutionary use of vocal soloists and a mixed choir in the final movement, he depicted the struggle of a human soul striving for a day of pure joy despite all the effort and suffering. Beethoven was unable to hear the frenetic applause at the world premiere in Vienna on May 7, 1824. Maybe his “Ode to Joy” is an embrace which he gives to us as a gift, a kiss to the world from which he withdrew. Beethoven’s life - it is a process of incarnation that touches us deeply and his music will forever connect us.

In 1828, one year after Beethoven’s death, Ignaz Bösendorfer founded his piano manufactory. His sonic ideals were characterised by Vienna’s cultural environment, which in turn is deeply influenced by Beethoven.

We are thus honouring this great composer for his 250th birthday with an Limited Edition of our Beethoven Model.

 

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The cornerstone for this design had been laid back in 2013, to commemorate the 14th International Beethoven Piano Competition in Vienna and the 185th anniversary of our manufactory. In collaboration with the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn, we got the opportunity to use Beethoven’s original autograph of the finale - Presto agitato  - of the “Moonlight Sonata”, technically speaking the Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2.

Beethoven himself called this work a “Sonata quasi una fantasia” - a fantasia, as it were – “per il Clavicembalo o Piano-Forte”, whereby the term “fantasia” refers to the piano sonata’s unusual sequence of movements.  This sonata is considered the precursor of Romanticism in music. Already during Beethoven’s lifetime it became one of his most popular piano works, yet he insisted that he “wrote truly better things”.

 

 

The original autograph of Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata is placed on the interior of the piano’s lid using an elaborate silk screen printing technique. Beethoven’s likeness in the music stand and the Bösendorfer lettering are from shimmering mother-of-pearl.

“Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy”, Beethoven’s proclamation, is also in mother-of-pearl inlaid into the right shelf of the music stand.

The Beethoven Grand Piano Model from the Bösendorfer Artist Series is limited to an edition of 15 grand pianos, each with an individually numbered plaque.

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Beethoven’s 250th birthday - Be embraced, millions!


Collector's Item Model Beethoven
Bösendorfer Artist Series

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