2020 Beethoven

Welcome to the 2020 Beethoven Experience!

This year is the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, one of the true music greats.

Arcana has decided to put on the specs for some 2020 Beetho-vision. We are going to spend the year running through the composer’s entire output, from piano pieces he wrote at the age of 12 through the symphonies to the late, great string quartets and Missa Solemnis, 57 years later.

With nearly 500 works to enjoy and appraise, we will be getting the viewpoints of people who perform the music, who record it, who live with it – and hopefully, those who haven’t experienced it yet.

For those of you who love numbers, that means 9 symphonies, 5 piano concertos, 17 string quartets, 12 violin sonatas, 5 cello sonatas, 32 piano sonatas and – wait for it – around 150 folk song settings!

There will be interviews with people from across the arts who are marking the year in the way they know best – writing, playing, listening and recording – and there will be reviews of new recordings and events made to mark the special year. We will also be looking for people who don’t like Beethoven, so we can get an even spread of opinions.

part of Gustav Klimt‘s Beethoven-Frieze (1901)

The project will lead up to Beethoven by way of composers known to have influenced him. We will spend some time with the music of J.S. Bach, C.P.E. Bach, Haydn and Mozart – and with some lesser names too, enjoying music to come out of 18th century Mannheim, as well as Salieri and one of Beethoven’s teachers, Albrechtsberger.

2020 will be an interactive year, with some new electronic music from Ben Hogwood (yours truly!) due by the end of it, based on Beethoven themes and – fingers crossed! – released as an album.

Keep coming back to Arcana for regular updates, and please do join in with the listening and discussion, because this is all about celebrating great music together. It’s going to be quite a ride.

As a taster, have a listen to one of the greatest Beethoven records ever made to get you in the mood!

Ben Hogwood,
editor, Arcana