Rain date: Sunday, 5 July
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 wrote most of his symphonies while Joseph Haydn was still alive. In the case of the Symphony No. 1, written between 1795 and 1800, this fact is even less surprising. Dedicated to Gottfried van Swieten (patron of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven), the work follows the symphonic model inherited from those two predecessors, although the unusual opening and the frequent application of surprising emphases are already unmistakably Beethovenian gestures. In terms of its structure, the Symphony No. 5, composed between 1804 and 1808, seems to conform to the genre’s Classical constraints. In fact, however, its thematic unity represents an enormous step forward on the path to Romanticism. While this symphony is another four-movement composition lasting well over half an hour, in musical terms it departs significantly from the Viennese Classical traditions surrounding the genre: the dramatic arc tightening between the passionate C minor first movement and the heroic C major fourth movement – with its notoriously long coda – make it one of the high points of Beethoven’s oeuvre. Beethoven wrote his Romance in F major in 1788, at the same time as when he was working on his First Symphony. Just like his Romance in G major, it counts as one of the composer’s intimate slow movements.