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The Heiligenstadt Testament

Donald Macleod looks at the great psychological crisis that befell Beethoven in his early 30s, and the extraordinary letter to posterity he penned as a result.

Donald Macleod looks at the great psychological crisis that befell Beethoven in his early 30s, and the extraordinary letter to posterity he penned as a result.

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.

Piano Sonata No.16, Op.31 No.1, I. Allegro Vivace
Louis Lortie, piano

Violin Sonata No.8, Op.30 no.3. III. Allegro Vivace
Gidon Kremer, violin
Martha Argerich, piano

Symphony No.2, II. Larghetto
Radio Symphony Orchestra of Stuttgart
conducted Sir Roger Norrington

Variations for Piano, ‘Eroica’, Op. 35
Leslie Howard, piano

18 days left to listen

59 minutes

Music Played

  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Piano Sonata No 16 in G major, Op 31 No 1 (1st movement)

    Performer: Louis Lortie.
    • CHANDOS : CHAN 9842.
    • CHANDOS.
    • 1.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Violin Sonata in G major, Op 30 No 3 (1st movement)

    Performer: Gidon Kremer. Performer: Martha Argerich.
    • DEUTSCHE GRAMMOP : 445 652-2-.
    • DEUTSCHE GRAMMOP.
    • 10.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony No 2 in D major, Op 36 (2nd movement)

    Conductor: Sir Roger Norrington.
    • Hanssler : HAEN-93084.
    • Hanssler.
    • 6.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Eroica Variations, Op 95

    Performer: Leslie Howard.
    • HERITAGE : HTGCD 187.
    • HERITAGE.
    • 1.

A despairing declaration

A despairing declaration
Click here to view the Heiligenstadt Testament, mentioned in the programme, held at the State and University Library in Hamburg.

Broadcast

  • Wed 1 Jul 2020 12:00

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