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This is an opportunity to grasp the sheer magnitude of Beethoven’s enduring influence and the development of music over the past 250 years.

Mozart met the young Beethoven in 1787 when he was sent to study in Vienna by wealthy benefactors in Bonn. However, by that time, Beethoven was already so immersed in Mozart’s music, he even worried that he may have unintentionally imitated him. For Schubert, who composed his Quartettsatz in C minor 50 years after Beethoven’s birth, the challenge was how to emerge from the vast shadow cast by Beethoven, in particular his imposing legacy on the string quartet.

If the lightness of the Pizzicato Polka, co-composed by the brothers Johann Strauss junior and Josef Strauss, works as a cheeky contrast, Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending, performed by Richard Tognetti, is a continuation of forms once championed by Beethoven: the pastoral form and romance for violin and orchestra.

Where Schubert worked within Beethoven’s string quartet model, George Crumb sought to break it apart 150 years later in Black Angels, written in 1970 as a response to the Vietnam War. Black Angels created a new musical chapter, as will Anna Clyne’s new commission for strings, which will also show the ongoing connections to Beethoven in the early 21st century.

But there may be no better evidence of Beethoven’s enduring influence than the final number, his Cavatina & Grosse Fuge, the last major work he composed shortly before his death. Its presence serves to emphasise how contemporary Beethoven remains, resounding with perpetual modernity.

Details correct at time of publication


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  • 1770: Mozart
    Mitridate: Overture
    1820: Schubert
    Quartettsatz (arr. strings)
    1870: Johann Strauss II
    Pizzicato Polka
    1920: Vaughan Williams
    The Lark Ascending
    1970: George Crumb
    Black Angels (arr. Tognetti)
    2020: Anna Clyne
    New commission for strings - World Premiere*
    Cavatina & Grosse Fuge (arr. Tognetti)

    *Commissioned by the Australian Chamber Orchestra

  • Director & Violin
    Richard Tognetti AO
    Australian Chamber Orchestra