Donald Macleod explores Ludwig van Beethoven’s varied and rich correspondence.

More than 1,770 of Beethoven’s letters still survive and, this week, Donald Macleod delves into five different areas of this extensive correspondence. We’ll hear exchanges with some of his closest friends and patrons, a secret admission about his hearing and the details of a petty argument that gets blown out of all proportion. Beethoven’s flirting gets him into trouble; he falls deeply in love and suffers the misery of rejection on more than one occasion. Plus, the composer writes to his idol, Goethe and finds himself embroiled in some shady dealings with his publishers.

The letters are read by Adrian Lester.

Music Featured:
arr. Matiegka: Serenade in D, Op 8
Overture to Leonore
Violin Sonata No 3 in E flat major, Op 12 No 3
String Quartet No 1 in F major, Op 18 No 1
March for Military Music in F major, WoO 18 ‘York March’
Piano Trio No 7 in B flat major, Op 97 ‘Archduke’
Cello Sonata No 3 in A major, Op 69
Piano Concerto No 5 in E flat major, Op 73 ‘Emperor’
Piano Sonata in C sharp minor, Op 27 No 2
An die Hoffnung, Op 32
Piano Sonata No 23 in F minor, Op 57 (Appassionata)
Bagatelle in A minor, WoO 59
An die Ferne Geliebte
Piano Sonata No 3 in C major, Op 2 No 3
Violin Sonata No. 9 in A major, Op 47
Septet in E flat major, Op 20 (excerpt)
Cello Sonata in A major, Op 69
Gesang aus der Ferne, WoO 137
Opferlied, Op 121b
Coriolan Overture
Kennst du das Land (Goethe)

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Johannah Smith for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Beethoven Unleashed: In His Own Words

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here:

from Composer of the Week