Almost a year after ARTE’s Beethoven Day in honour of the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth had to be cancelled owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, the European culture channel was determined to bring this exceptional musical spectacle to an audience – and we were part of it. Starting at 1pm on Sunday, 6 June 2021, ARTE Concert took audiences online on a very special tour with all nine Beethoven symphonies performed in chronological order – seven of them live – from nine venues of symbolic significance all over Europe: At the Arkadenhof of the Kurfürstliches Schloss in Beethoven’s birth city Bonn, on the shores of Lake Lugano, in Prague, Dublin, Helsinki, Luxembourg, Delphi, Strasbourg and Vienna, some of Europe’s greatest orchestras with outstanding conductors at the rostrum presented their interpretations of Beethoven’s most magnificent works.
Beethoven – The European Tour
Nine Symphonies, Nine Cities
Sunday, 6 June 2021 from 1 to 10.30 pm on ARTE
The whole day is still available online on ARTE Concert until 7th July 2021.
Sasha Waltz & Guests was part of station 7 at 7pm, when against the amazing backdrop of the ancient Greek theatre at Delphi, the musicAeterna ensemble conducted by maestro Teodor Currentzis presented its interpretation of the Seventh Symphony, accompanied by a new choreography by Sasha Waltz for 11 dancers. The performance can be rewatched on ARTE Concert until 4th September 2021.
The day in chronological order
The cycle began at 1pm with the Symphony No. 1 played by the Mahler Chamber Orchestra conducted by Daniel Harding in Beethoven’s birth city Bonn, to be followed at 2 pm by a rendition of the Second Symphony by Ireland’s RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Jaime Martin from the National Concert Hall in Dublin.
At 3pm the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra under its new chief conductor Nicolas Collon played the revolutionary »Eroica« Symphony in the rock church of Temppeliaukio in Helsinki, while for the Fourth Symphony, ARTE took viewers to Luxembourg. There, Gustavo Gimeno conducted the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg while a troupe of young refugee dancers presented a dance performance choreographed by Sylvia Camarda on the square in front of the concert hall.
Next stop was the Old Town Square in Prague, where at 5 pm the Czech National Symphony Orchestra under Steven Mercurio presented Beethoven’s iconic Symphony No. 5 followed at 6pm by an unusual performance of the Symphony No. 6 »Pastoral« by the Swiss chamber orchestra I Barocchisti conducted by its founder Diego Fasolis on the shores of Lake Lugano.
After Delphi at 7pm with musicAeterna, Teodor Currentzis and Sasha Waltz & Guests, at 8.15pm it was the turn of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, which under the baton of Marko Letonja played the Symphony No. 8 on the Presqu’île André Malraux in Strasbourg.
The evening closed with the Symphony No. 9 performed by the Wiener Symphoniker with the American conductor Karina Canellakis at the rostrum. Beethoven’s ode to freedom and fraternity was broadcast live from Schloss Belvedere in Vienna, the city where Beethoven composed all his symphonies, where he lived for more than thirty-five years, and where he died.
»Beethoven – The European Tour. Nine Symphonies, Nine Cities« is a collaborative project by ARTE together with its public partner channels ZDF, WDR, RTÉ, YLE, CT, SRG, ORF and Film Fund Luxembourg.