Rain date: Sunday, 21 June
250th anniversary of the birth of the composer For more than 60 years in the town of Martonvásár, the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert series Beethoven in the Park has provided an unrivalled classical music experience for the summer season.
This year’s event – the 62nd – promises to be a truly special occasion. We will pay tribute to the 250th birthday of the Viennese maestro as part of Martonvásár’s Beethoven Anniversary Year programmes. On this celebratory occasion, the audience will enjoy the composer’s remarkable works across five nights, instead of the usual three.
And with the help of some prestigious Hungarian solo performers, all nine of Beethoven’s symphonies will be performed in Brunswick Castle’s beautiful park. The conductor for the concerts will be Zsolt Hamar, the musical director of the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra.
Beethoven produced a series of new overtures for the various versions of Fidelio. The Leonora Overture No. 3 was written for the 1806 revision of the opera. At the same time, the tension and length of this massive symphonic work make it an awkward fit to open the opera. When conducting Fidelio, Mahler instead took to playing it before the finale. In writing his Symphony No. 9 between 1822 and 1824, Beethoven not only pushed the genre’s traditional boundaries, he also ignored them altogether, giving the work a total length exceeding an hour and, adding in the finale – introduced by the return of the melodies from the previous movements – a quartet of vocal solists and a chorus to the orchestra. The work’s impact is evident not only in music history – for example in the symphonies of Gustav Mahler – but can also be felt in our daily lives: in the 1980s, the standard length of the newly available compact discs was determined based on a recording of the symphony conducted by Herbert von Karajan, and the Ode to Joy melody from the fourth movement is often played on its own as the hymn of the European Union.
The conductor Zsolt Hamar is an Artist of Merit, winner of the Liszt Award and the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary, as well as the music director of the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra.