Tag Archives: Beethoven

An interview with: Martin Roscoe

roscoe_gall_3Last week, we blogged about pianist Martin Roscoe, who set himself the challenge of playing all Beethoven’s piano concertos in just one evening. We thought this was quite an interesting idea, so caught up with the man himself to find out more about this concert to end all concerts, which is taking place at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester on October 5th in aid of the Musicians Benevolent Fund.

2MF: Where did the idea come from for the concert?

MR: My friend and colleague Ronan O’Hors did this in Germany a few years ago… so I know it’s possible !

2MF: How will the evening play out?

MR: 1 and 2 at 17:00, 3 and 4 at 19:00 and No.5 at 21:00.

2MF: How have you trained for this marathon?

MR: I’ve been playing these pieces for 35 years with great regularity ! Otherwise, I’m trying hard not to think too much about it, but will focus on enjoying it.

2MF: What draws you to Beethoven as a composer?

MR: For me (as for so many others), Beethoven’s music encapsulates all of the human experience, with every piece having something different to say, and , at the same time, stretching the boundaries of musical expression.

2MF: Are you worried the audience won’t have the staying power for the whole performance?

MR: They have the opportunity to book for individual parts, or all three. I’m hoping the hall will be full for all three, obviously ! It is short of three hoursof  music so Wagnerians will find it very easy!

2MF: What other classical music challenges have you set yourself in the past?

MR: I did both Brahms concertos a few years back so this seems a natural progression.

2MF: What will you be trying next?

MR: All the Mozarts? But that might need to be spread out a bit more… five days ?

A classical music marathon!

A portrait of BeethovenDo you remember a few years ago when the Two Moors Festival put on Beethoven & Biscuits, where all nine of the composer’s symphonies were played at concerts throughout the main two-week event in October, with a monologue at the beginning of each one written from the point of Beethoven himself? We thought that was a bit of a marathon Beethoven celebration and were particularly impressed by those who made it to each performance – and we’re equally impressed by pianist Martin Roscoe who has set himself the challenge of playing all five of the composer’s piano concertos in one evening next month.

If you’re in Manchester on October 5th, it might be particularly interesting to make your way to the Royal Northern College of Music to hear Martin take on the five-hour endurance test, put on to raise money for the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund, with the Royal Northern’s own Daniel Parkinson conducting.

In the last few years I seem to have developed a bit of a reputation for Beethoven, having now recorded all the Piano Sonatas and played many of them in all-Beethoven recitals,” Martin told Mancunian Matters. “I have played all the Beethoven concertos many times and always feel very at home in these wonderful pieces. Four years ago, I played both Brahms’ Piano Concertos in one evening. My friend told me he had played all five Beethoven piano concertos in one concert in Germany. So I thought why not in the UK?”

It all gets going at 17:00 on the 15th, with tickets starting at £12 if bought in advance.

Have you ever set yourself any classical music challenges?

Beethoven at a bus station

You may have been lucky enough to catch our Season Ticket to Bach series of concerts that we held in Tiverton Parkway as part of this year’s Two Moors Festival October event. Some seriously good musicians (think Tai Murray, Guy Johnston and Kerensa Peacock) all got their instruments out to play to passengers and everyone had an amazing time!

Clearly, we’re not the only ones who love to take classical music out of the concert halls of old, however. We’ve just found out that video artist Anton Hecht set up a piano in the middle of the very busy Haymarket station in Newcastle (used by three million people every year!) so that musician Andy Jackson could play Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata – inviting people to come and join in.

“I hadn’t really imagined how excited the commuters would be to get involved and to chat about their own experience with music while taking part. I cannot really explain what has finally emerged from the video, but it is a truly communal playing experience,” Anton said.

Bus Station Sonata was funded by Nexus, which hired the piano as part of its Art on Transport scheme. Here’s the video!

Immortal Beloved: A tribute to Beethoven’s famous letter

“My thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, now and then joyfully, then sadly, waiting to learn whether or not fate will hear us – I can live only wholly with you or not at all – Yes, I am resolved to wander so long away from you until I can fly to your arms and say that I am really at home with you, and can send my soul enwrapped in you into the land of spirits…”

We’re big fans of Beethoven here at the Two Moors Festival – you may have been lucky enough to come to one (or all!) of the concerts that formed Beethoven & Biscuits, where all nine of his symphonies were played at the festival in 2008, alongside monologues written especially for the performances.

This year, we felt we just could not ignore his Immortal Beloved, the mysterious recipient of a letter written in 1812 that included this now-infamous term of endearment – and about whom fierce debate has raged regarding her identity. Some say the lucky lady was Guilieta Guicciardi, others argue that she was none other than Thereza von Brunswick and others still believe she was Antonie Brentano.

It’s likely that this will remain one of life’s great unanswered questions, but this year at the festival we’ve decided to honour Beethoven’s intense passion for his lady love by holding a concert on October 16th at All Saints’ Church in Okehampton, with Tai Murray on violin, Ashley Wass on piano, Jing Zhao on cello and Kathryn Thomas on flute.

A very romantic programme – unsurprisingly – the works to be performed are Beethoven’s Allegretto in Bb major for Piano Trio, Chopin’s Introduction and Polonaise in C major, Beethoven’s Andante Favori in F major, Schubert’s Variations on Trockne Blumen for flute and piano and Beethoven’s Symphony in A major.

“Works chosen for this recital have been looked at with great care,” festival artistic director Penny Adie says. “Romance is essential bearing in mind the content of the letter. Also, works written during the same year have a certain poignancy, particularly the Piano trio movement composed for the daughter of Antonie Brentano.”

It promises to be a lovely evening, whether you’re a Beethoven fan or not. We hope to see you there!

Call (01643) 831006 for further information.

Who do you think Beethoven’s Immortal Beloved was?