Lithograph Portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven by Ferdinand Schimon
Beethoven is one of the most admired composers in the repertoire. His exceptional creativity is set against both his increasing deafness and a period of turmoil in European history.
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Leonard Bernstein once observed ‘what makes Beethoven great is his perfect sense of form – his ability to realise what the next note always had to be.’ Up to a point I think Bernstein is correct in his assessment, since Beethoven does project a wonderful sense of self-assuredness in his music, giving the impression that the end product was inevitable and that all he had to do was bother to put the dots down onto the page. However, as Beethoven himself said ‘I carry my thoughts around with me for a long time . . . I change things, discard and try again until I am satisfied’, suggesting that like a craftsman, Beethoven often had to hone his ideas into shape until the right solution presented itself. Beginning with the Pathétique Sonata and chartering a course through the symphonies, the string quartets and the choral music, Peter Medhurst explores Beethoven’s musical style in order to find what it is that gives Beethoven’s music its unique sound.
Part I: 10.30am to 11.45am
Through images and recorded music, Peter explores the world of Beethoven - his life, his teachers, his achievements, his deafness and the impact that that had on his music.
Part II: 12.00 midday to 1.00pm
This session will be a lecture-recital given from the Steinway Grand Piano in Peter’s music room in London. He will play and discuss a variety of works by the composer and demonstrate some of Beethoven’s working methods in composition.
Peter Medhurst is a very popular lecturer for TASH, as for many other Arts Societies. He was born of German and English parents, and did his musical training at the Royal College of Music where he studied singing with Redvers Llewellyn and Edgar Evans, organ with Richard Popplewell, composition with Justin Connolly and music history with Else Mayer-Lismann, Christopher Grier and Joseph Horowitz. In 1978, a scholarship from the Austrian government gave him the opportunity to have coaching with the accompanist Erik Werba at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. On his return to England he took harpsichord lessons with Ruth Dyson, who became his accompanist and fellow keyboard duettist in a professional partnership that lasted until her death nearly 20 years later.
Over the years Peter Medhurst has lectured for the Universities of Kent and Surrey, directed a wide range of choirs, vocal ensembles and instrumental groups, and adjudicated and given masterclasses for the British Federation of Music Festivals.
He is director of The Classical Music Company an organisation that promotes special musical events, creates films about the arts, produces recordings and organises specialist music tours to unusual locations both at home and abroad.
We can anticipate a creative dazzle of digital projections, recordings and live performance attracting both the novice and the experienced listener to classical music.
The accessibility and individuality of Peter’s lectures carry his audience with him in stimulating explorations which reveal unexpected pathways and connections. We look forward to an awesome listening experience and an entertaining and enriching access to the passion and grandeur of Beethoven’s art and life.
Peter is a singer, pianist and lecturer. Since studying at the Royal College of Music he has travelled the world performing and lecturing including events at The Barbican and Royal Festival Hall. He has also appeared on Classic FM, Radio 3 and Radio 4.