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Letter to the 'Immortal Beloved'

Donald Macleod examines a love letter by Beethoven and tries to uncover the identity of the mystery woman who inspired it.

Donald Macleod examines a love letter by Beethoven and tries to uncover the identity of the mystery woman who inspired it.

This week Donald Macleod is joined by Beethoven scholar Erica Buurman and biographer Jan Swafford to investigate some the many documents and papers that Beethoven left behind after his death, which are now scattered in archives and collections across the world. Donald and his guests explore high-quality, digital facsimiles of Beethoven’s most personal records including his letters, notebooks and journals; scouring them for clues to his relationships, his work and his everyday life.

Composer of the Week is returning to the story of Beethoven’s life and music throughout 2020. Part of Radio 3’s Beethoven Unleashed season marking the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth.

Violin Sonata No.5, Op. 24, II. Andante molto expressivo
Gidon Kremer, violin
Martha Argerich, piano

Piano Sonata No.24, Op.78, II. Allegro Vivace
Maurizio Pollini, piano

Andante Favori, WoO.57
Sviatoslav Richter, piano

Diabelli Variations, Op.120 (Vars. 18-24)
Alfred Brendel, piano

Missa Solemnis: Credo (excerpt)
Monteverdi Choir
Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique
conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner

17 days left to listen

59 minutes

Music Played

  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Violin Sonata in F major, Op 24 'Spring' (2nd movement)

    Performer: Gidon Kremer. Performer: Martha Argerich.
    • DG 4767256.
    • DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON.
    • 12.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Piano Sonata No 24 in F sharp major, Op 78 (2nd movement)

    Performer: Maurizio Pollini.
    • DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON : 474-451-2.
    • DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON.
    • 7.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Andante in F major, WoO 57 (Andante Favori)

    Performer: Sviatoslav Richter.
    • WARNER CLASSICS : 9029540139.
    • WARNER CLASSICS.
    • 4.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    33 Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli in C major, Op 120 (Variations 18-24)

    Performer: Alfred Brendel.
    • PHILIPS : 426-232-2.
    • PHILIPS.
    • 1.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Mass in D major, Op 123 (Missa Solemnis): Credo

    Choir: Monteverdi Choir. Orchestra: Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique. Conductor: Sir John Eliot Gardiner.
    • ARCHIV : 429-779-2.
    • ARCHIV.
    • 3.

A document with an agonising mystery

A document with an agonising mystery
Click here to view a facsimile of the 'Immortal Beloved' letter, mentioned in the programme, from the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin.

Broadcast

  • Tue 30 Jun 2020 12:00

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