Roundup: A Lot of Love for Ludwig Van

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Alumni of Perlman Music Program at the Beethoven String Quartet Marathon in the Greene Space. The Alumni of Perlman Music Program at the Beethoven String Quartet Marathon in the Greene Space. (Matthew Septimus)

For a second year in a row, WQXR invited listeners to “Obeythoven,” the unofficial slogan of Beethoven Awareness Month.

Through live broadcasts, Sunday marathons, astute history lessons, lots and lots of music and, of course, those posters (pictured), there was a lot of love for ol’ Ludwig van this month.

Things, though, did get off to a difficult start. The power was still out in the office when WQXR launched its second installment of Beethoven Awareness Month on Nov. 1. The power was out but the music never went off the air.

Throughout Superstorm Sandy, listeners sent WQXR messages on Twitter and Facebook that music was helping them stay sane during the storm and the “Hurricane be damned! More Beethoven."

On the first day of Beethoven Awareness Month, WQXR General Manager and Vice President Graham Parker wrote: “As this week continued in the wake of the Superstorm, we didn’t think for a moment of cancelling our plans for our celebration of Beethoven's music, life and power. He didn’t shrink from a challenge and neither did he shrink from conceiving the most spectacular sounds, rhythms and melodies. If it worked for him, it works for us and we really hope it works for you.”

It seems to have worked.

A highlight of this year’s Beethoven Awareness Month were the Sunday music marathons, including a 10-hour string quartet marathon performed live from the Greene Space. Also in the Greene Space, Q2 Music hosted Beethoven Remixed, which featured the Brooklyn Rider string quartet performing with DJ Spooky.

For the second year, the Carnegie Hall Live series played a part in Beethoven Awareness Month. WQXR broadcast the first concert in Carnegie's Zankel Hall following Superstorm Sandy. Carnegie had been closed after the storm damaged a nearby construction crane and forced the closure of West 57th Street. That broadcast featured the Belcea Quartet performing two of Beethoven's late string quartets. Later in the month came the live broadcast of the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, under the direction of John Eliot Gardiner, performing Beethoven. This year, along with the Monteverdi Choir, it was Beethoven's epic choral work Missa Solemnis.

Belcea Quartet plays Beethoven at Carnegie Hall:

Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique plays Beethoven at Carnegie Hall:


Throughout the month, WQXR offered up 25 essential Beethoven recordings, one presented each weekday, as well as insightful looks into Beethoven's life presented by Bill McGlaughlin.

And, once again, the posters were back on the streets of New York City, and popping up all over Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr. Obeythoven, indeed.

Visit the complete archive of Beethoven Awareness Month 2012 to see all the past month's events, articles and broadcasts.


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Comments [10]

Priscilla Alexander from New York

Now that Beethoven is taking a rest, I have to say that for the most part, I don't really like Beethoven's music. While I loved the 9th symphony the first several thousand times I heard it, now it basically bores me. The only piece that I really loved during the month of November was the Emperor Concerto, mostly because of its inheritance of Mozart's understandings.

I wish you would have a Mozart month (January, since his birthday--and mine--is January 27th.

I generally find that I like, even adore most music written before 1800 and after 1900, and the romantic era just bores me. When I was about five years old (1944, or so) my mother wrote to my father, who was in the army, that when WQXR went from some unnamed piece of music (i.e., unnamed in her letter) to something by Bach, I said "That's much better!" So a Bach month would be nice, too.

Dec. 03 2012 04:22 PM
Carol Luparella from Elmwood Park, NJ

First of all, thank you for doing such a good job on the second Beethoven Awareness Month. The live broadcast of the Missa Solemnis was outstanding, and I also enjoyed the informative biographical segments inserted throughout the day. Overall, I think it was an impressive effort by everyone involved.
Having said that, I would suggest that you please not limit this great idea to only one composer. While it is certainly wonderful to be aware of and to appreciate Beethoven, you would do a great service to your listeners by helping them become more aware and appreciative of other composers as well. It doesn't even have to be for a whole month, maybe you could occasionally devote a week to spotlight a particular composer.
For example, since I know that you will never give my favorite composer, Anton Bruckner, an Awareness Month (although I would be thrilled if you did!), would it be too much to ask for a week in which you feature his music? You do play the music of other composers who are far less known, but you seem to deliberately ignore Bruckner's music, only rarely playing it, and usually in the very early AM hours. Could it be you are afraid that once your listeners hear more of his music, they won't settle for "Classic Lite" any more?
So how about it, WQXR? Here is my challenge to you - let's have a Bruckner Awareness Week!

Dec. 02 2012 07:26 PM
Jeanette McKee from Riverdale, NY

Loved it!

How about choosing one of the ladies, next time!!!

Dec. 02 2012 07:15 AM
JKUU from NJ

I type this while listening to Artur Schnabel play the second movement of the "Emperor" -- what sublime beauty. Listeners like me respond instinctively to Beethoven's music whether it be orchestral, chamber, solo or vocal works. He was a genius who struggled mightily against growing deafness to leave us with a towering legacy. Beethoven, ever the egalitarian, is the musical Prometheus who gave to ordinary people that which, up till his time, had been the preserve of the aristocratic and ecclesiastic "gods". Today, we recognize the preeminence of his works in the western musical canon, and I thank WQXR for a month of extreme listening pleasure.

Dec. 01 2012 05:57 PM
Beppe from Long Island City

Ever more insightful and relevant!
Thank you for serving Beethoven again so well.

Dec. 01 2012 11:24 AM
Daniel Polowetzky from NYC

I much enjoyed Beethoven Awareness month. The Beethoven feed was particulary nice. Listeners need to realize that devoting an entire month to a single composer requires a voluminous output of merit. There are only a handful of composers who meeet this criterion.

Of course a month long celebration of a genre or theme is an option for featuring multiple composers.

Nov. 30 2012 11:02 PM
Rina from Bronx

Bravo, WQXR. I had a wonderful month of Beethoven, I loved the comments (especially Bill McLaughlin's) and I cancelled Sunday plans in order to stay home and listen to the marathons. Yes, we've heard this music before, but isn't it unbelievably amazing? I'm waiting for BAM no. 3 next year.

Nov. 30 2012 08:15 PM
Frank L. from Scarsdale, NY

Good riddens. I for one am glad this unnecessary and excessively hyped "celebration" is over with.

Next time let's focus on a composer we actually aren't so aware of. How about Bruckner or Britten? Even Bartok's music is rarely played on QXR. Yes another 3 B's that people actually should be more aware of.

Nov. 30 2012 06:26 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJn

THERE'S A LOT OF LOVE FOR BEETHOVEN, even if we do not include his MOONLIGHT SONATA. GREAT recorded performances of Beethoven's symphonies are so numerous that they include performances by maestri Walter, Munch, Weingarten, Toscanini, Beecham, Bodansky, Szell, Bernstein, Solti, and Ormandy. Beethoven was creating masterpieces with colleagues such as Brahms, Schubert, Schumann, Wolf, von Weber, and Wagner. Beethoven's symphonies, opera, concertos, sonatas, string quartets, overtures, tone poems bagatelles, chamber music generally ,and song literature, is so pervasive and his world consciousness and basic humanity construct an icon unparalleled to and past his own era. At Juilliard, I studied his oeuvre and , in those days, all singers learned the concert rep of Beethoven , Schubert , Schumann, Wolf and Grieg, whether they would be opera singers or concert singers . So much of our treasured masterpieces, vocal and instrumental, are unknown quantities to most Americans. THANK YOU WQXR FOR CELEBRATING BEETHOVEN !!! Beethoven's symphonies are the ABCs of most essential single composers' oeuvre of the symphonic literature. Wagner and his contemporaries and their successors all recognized the epic achievement of Beethoven. I am a romantischer Wagnerian heldentenor and director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute at 418A Main Street, Boonton, NJ . I have sung four solo concerts in the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall. As part of my Ten Language Solo Debut concert at the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall, I sang the Gott ! welch dunkel hier ! aria of Fidelio. it can be heard from the live performance on my three websites,, ,, and It received rave critical notices in newspapers and magazines. The Beethoven violin concerto is celebrated by its ardent interpreters Heifetz, Menuhin, Perlman, Milstein, Fuchs, Stern, Zuckerman, Elman, Francescatti, Oistrakh, Ricci, Sarasate and Paganini. Great Beethoven interpreters at the piano include Horowitz, Rubinstein, Bolet, Moisevitch, Barere, Cortot, Gieseking, Brailovsky, Schnabel, Rachmaninoff, Robert and Jean Casadesus, Barenboim and Paderevski. Among the greatest singers famous for their Beethoven performances in opera and concert my voice teachers Kipnis, Schorr, Singher, Brownlee, Branzell and Matzenauer. Other famous singers with extensive Beethoven "rep" were Flagstad, Roswaenge, Schlusnus, Matti Battistini, Patzak, Birgit Nilsson, Huesch, Janssen, Frick, Bampton, Svanholm, Windgassen, Neidlinger, Fischer-Dieskau, Christa Ludwig, Berry, Gwyneth Jones, Varnay, Lawrence, Raisa, Hoffmann, Hines, Greindl, Plishka, Vickers, Harshaw, Steber Jessner, Maison, Vinay, Ernster, Frantz, Jean and Eduard de Reszke, Resnik, Thebom, Austral, Rysanek, London, Destinn, Leider, Farrell, Madeira, List, Ljungberg, Rethberg, Lehmann, Traubel, Kollo, Schoeffler and Ludwig Weber.

Nov. 30 2012 05:06 PM
Tom Huebner from Columbia,SC

I first listened to WQXR as a teenager in NY in the 1940's, my father's favorite station. Now at age 84 I listen to WQXR on my IMac in South Carlina, the only way I can get the station. Hail WQXR a life long companion.

Nov. 30 2012 03:51 PM

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About Beethoven Awareness Month

No composer impacted the course of Western music like Ludwig van Beethoven. The events of his life are the stuff of Romantic legend, his works permeate concert halls and he remains a cultural icon outside of classical music, turning up in movies, TV soundtracks, commercials and pop songs. Throughout November, WQXR celebrates Beethoven's work through concert broadcasts, multimedia projects, marathons and other features.