Academic journal article The Beethoven Journal

250 Piano Pieces for Beethoven: International Composition Project

Academic journal article The Beethoven Journal

250 Piano Pieces for Beethoven: International Composition Project

Article excerpt

250 Piano Pieces for Beethoven: International Composition Project, compiled by Susanne Kessel. Vol. 5. London: Editions Musica Ferrum, 2018.189 pp. ISMN 9790708147480: £28; vol. 6. London: Editions Musica Ferrum, 2019.186 pp. 9790708147534: £28. www.musica-ferrum.com.

The latest volumes of Susanne Kessels compilation of250 new piano works for the 2020 anniversary of Beethoven s birth brings the project to less than 100 pieces away from the final goal. In volume 5, in addition to the usual twenty-five pieces she adds one of her own, an improvisation (following the concept of freedom that is central to Beethoven's philosophy and work). Her work is a companion to a recitation of the poem "Kyrie Eleison" by Wolfgang Niedecken "which points to global errors of the early twenty-first century and to a widespread, resigned .ndifference" that conflicts with Beethoven's "creed ... that everyone must take their destiny in their own hands." As in other volumes, the selections represent an international array of composers with diverse backgrounds, many of them inspired by particular Beethoven works or motives, sometimes in fusion with musical styles from their own cultures. In her piece, one of the American composers, Carol Worthey, imagines the dramatic thunderstorm raging during Beethoven's dying moments. In "vervorstellung.imitat," a performance art piece by Johann Schropp, the pianist wears a cardboard box with the image of Beethoven's life mask pasted to the front and in-ear clips to simulate the deafness that Beethoven experienced, while playing a prepared piano that simulates the sounds he might have struggled to hear (the audience is asked to cover their ears as well). …

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