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Beethoven’s Fifth

30 June 2024 4:00 pm


Masterworks in chamber form.

AHE continues its exploration of historical arrangements of Beethoven’s masterworks on period instruments. Get up close and personal with Beethoven’s mighty Fifth Symphony, as the septet reveals surprising new intensities.

William Watts, who made the arrangement, would have led the violins or violas at its British premiere in 1816, when the canons of Waterloo were still resounding. As secretary of the newly formed London Philharmonic Society, he was only two degrees of separation from the composer, the link being Ferdinand Ries, Beethoven’s talented pupil.

Ries’ distinctive voice is on display in the flute quintet presented here. It’s delightful, not lightweight, and full of fascinating eccentricities to amuse the teacher whose presence, real or ghostly, must always have been looking over his shoulder.

Boccherini’s colourful quintet depicting everything from church bells, street singers and night-watch drums in the streets of Madrid, completes the program. It includes the famous instruction for the two basses to strum their instruments horizontally, guitar-style.

Discover uncharted territory in works both familiar and lesser-known.

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