Beethoven — Friends and Enemies

Stadtcasino Basel
Friday, 22 March

Among the composers represented in this concert program of piano trios, Ludwig van Beethoven is without a doubt the most famous. But about 200 years ago, things looked different—around 1810, the internationally most successful composer was Joseph Woelfl, who played a decisive role in shaping European musical life from London. Nowadays, however, he is almost unknown. The same thing happened to Ferdinand Ries, whose fame declined rapidly after his death.
In thisprogram, the Trio Egmont consciously addresses the question of how the fame of the three composers developed so differently. All three were extremely talented musicians as well as fantastic pianists and improvisers. Pianistic “duels” between Beethoven and Woelfl have been reported from which neither emerged as a clear “winner.” According to observers, both had their own style, but were equal to each other. And Ries was not only Beethoven's "secretary," but also his highly respected confidant and a renowned composer.
Ries was actually a decisive factor in maintaining Beethoven's fame; he disseminated Beethoven’s works throughout his life and wrote an influential biography about him after his death. Together with other admirers, he carried out ongoing “lobbying work” for Beethoven like no other composer before him.
Another crucial factor is certainly that Beethoven consciously wanted to break boundaries and was less dependent on pleasing people than Ries and Woelfl. The latter composed specifically for the taste of his audience—sophisticated, but rarely provocative. Ries was described by his contemporaries as a very likeable person and artist, brilliant in his own way, but without the quirky eccentricity of Beethoven, which still has such an impressive effect on us today.
Tickets are CHF 41.50-56.90 for adults and CHF 18 for students and can be purchased through Bider & Tanner or Ticketcorner.


Stadtcasino Basel
Konzertgasse 1
4051 Basel

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