Opening night 13|14
"My pilgrimage to Beethoven"
Reading with music by Ludwig van Beethoven
Recitation: Klaus Maria Brandauer
Piano: Lars Vogt
Wednesday, 11 September 2013
Klaus Maria Brandauer opens the 13/14 season at the Theater an der Wien with a reading of Richard Wagner’s story, Eine Pilgerfahrt zu Beethoven (A Pilgrimage to Beethoven). This is also the start of a four-part series of performances featuring works by Beethoven.
In his mid-twenties, Richard Wagner, the composer and poet, wrote Eine Pilgerfahrt zu Beethoven for a French music magazine. At that time, winter 1840/41, he was destitute and virtually unknown. In the text Wagner recounts the fictional story of how he, swept up in a passion for Beethoven’s work, undertakes a pilgrimage to see the genius in Vienna. It is an entertaining, imaginative account, rich in humour, which finishes with a call for a new type of opera dramaturgy and provides interesting insights into the innermost thoughts of a composer. Wagner has Beethoven deride the “nonsense” and “tedium” of contemporary opera, which is in reality his own position.
The combination of the text with piano pieces by Beethoven makes it initially unclear what the real theme of the evening is: is the focus on the composer of the music, or Richard Wagner? But there is no doubt that the theme of the evening is the music.