Hommage à Beethoven
Instrumentation: 2 flutes, 2 clarinets in B, bass clarinet, piano, percussion, violin Ι, violin ΙΙ, viola, cello
Years composed: 2020-21
Commissioned by: Netzwerk Neue Musik Baden-Württemberg e.V., project ‘Neues Zeug’
‘Hommage à Beethoven’ is the resulting piece of a composition workshop with students of the Albert-Schweitzer Youth Orchestra in Gundelfingen, supported by their music teacher Janine Dömeland. During the school year of 2019-2020, throughout several meetings, the different stages of the compositional process were discussed and explored. The students had the chance to improvise, to become familiar with various ways of music notation, try their own musical ideas and eventually organise them in a collective piece. As long as the main idea and the structure of the piece was defined, COVID stroke, so I stepped in and completed the score. At the end of the school year, the students would perform their piece at the final concert of the project.
Premiere: Postponed due to COVID
The year 2020 was the 250th Anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. This inspired the students to compose a Beethoven-themed work that focuses on a grim period of his life: the years of his deafness, starting from 1801, where the first symptoms appeared. In ‘Hommage à Beethoven’ many fleeting melodies and music excerpts from his latest works make an appearance, for shorter or longer periods of time, distorted or clear. Due to the use of earplugs, the listener is politely invited inside Beethoven’s head. The question that the young composers try to answer is: how would Beethoven hear during his condition? And how would that make him feel?
My warmest thanks to Janine Dömeland, their inspired and engaged music teacher, who supported this project, her orchestra students and me