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text 2019-11-03 18:32
24 Festive Tasks: Door 2 - Japanese Culture Day: Task 1

Task: Tell us about a cultural festival or event in the area where you live.


The Beethoven Festival


My home town, Bonn, in 1770 (i.e., 250 years ago next year) was the birthplace of classical composer Ludwig van Beethoven.  While you can't escape this fact even when just walking through the city centre (his birthplace is a museum and occasional miniature concert venue; there is a huge statue of his on one of the central squares; and things named for him abound throughout the city, from streets to a school, other buildings and institutions and beyond), once every year the city -- and its municipal opera and orchestra -- pays particular hommage to its most famous son by holding a festival in his name.


The Beethovenfest (Beethoven Festival) ordinarily takes place in September; however, in 2020, there will be a special program in honor of Beethoven's 250th birthday, beginning in December 2019 (December was the month of his 1770 birth) and ending in March 2020 (March was the month of his death in 1827).  (Don't ask me why they didn't go for March and December 2020; I suspect it was either scheduling reasons, or they didn't want the reverse the order of his birth and death months ... or both).


As in every year, the festival will feature Bonn's municipal orchestra -- funded in 1907 and named, you guessed it, Beethoven-Orchester -- as well as artists of renown from all around the world; and plenty of works by Beethoven himself, as well as by other composers.  As in the past five years (though for the last time in 2020), the festival will be chaired by Nike Wagner, the great-granddaughter of Richard Wagner and great-great-granddaughter of Franz Liszt, and cousin of the current chairperson of the Bayreuth Festival, Katharina Wagner) -- who, I am happy to say, inherited her musical talent but not her political opinions or her approach to musical performance art from her great-grandfather.


And by way of an all-too predictable spin on pretty much every German city's inability to complete major construction projects on time, Bonn's main concert hall -- named ... this will truly surprise you: Beethovenhalle --, which has been undergoing a major renovation program since 2016 (and of course said program was intended to make it rise as phoenix from the ashes of its former self in 2020), won't be available after all, with completion of the construction work currently expected in 2021 or 2022, so instead, the 2020 Beethoven Festival will be using venues all over the city.


I hope I'm going to make it to at least one of the events during the festival -- I've attended in years past and truly loved what the organizers put together at the time.


Beethoven's birthplace and monument in the city centre of Bonn


Beethovenhalle (pre-renovation)


Bonn Opera (one of the alternative 2020 Beethoven Festival venues)


Beethoven Orchestra, Bonn


Beethoven Festival tickets from years past


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review 2016-01-09 00:00
The Ninth: Beethoven and the World in 1824
The Ninth: Beethoven and the World in 1824 - Harvey Sachs Really fascinating and a great read for fans of Beethoven and classical music.
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review 2015-02-04 15:42
"Beethoven's Tenth", by Brian Harvey
Beethoven's Tenth (Rapid Reads) - Brian Harvey
A Frank Ryan Mystery

Book 1

This is a “ Rapid Reads” , a paperback of 139 pages in huge characters, one everyone could easily zipped through in not time. This book is excellent for readers with short attention spans and for young adult who like a fast paced mystery.

This smart page-turner is well-written with no fuss and no extra words to bog down the flow. It has all good elements wrapped in few words: a piano technician as hero, a mystery around a manuscript of Beethoven’s first three movements of The Tenth Symphony and the required twist to throw us a curve at the end and pique our interest to pursue with this series.

This is an entertaining quick read I am Happy to have received throw LibraryThing’s Reviewer program.


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review 2015-01-22 22:58
Beethoven's Tenth-A really fun quick read
Beethoven's Tenth (Rapid Reads) - Brian Harvey

This is a quick read that deserves the title "Rapid Reads."  It's length doesn't detract from the pleasure of reading it, however, you just get the enjoyment in a quick little bite.  

This is the second book from this line that I've gotten so I looked at the publisher's website and it says this line was developed for adult ESL students, reluctant readers and adults who struggle with literacy.  I really like that!  I think this is the perfect kind of book to get an adult with literacy issues interested in reading.  While the language may not be challenging, the plot line and characterizations would not be insulting to adult learners.  I think there's a real place in the book world for this idea. Anything that gets more adults reading is a good idea to me.

Frank Ryan, a piano tuner by day and a jazz pianist by night, is working for one of his favorite elderly clients when instead of paying him in cash she pays him with an old manuscript.  It's not what he wants but there seems to be no choice so he takes and it and, surprise!  It's Beethoven's lost Tenth Symphony.  Obviously other people are going to want this thing and come after Frank with a vengeance.  This world of crime and violence is not what he's use to but he manages it pretty well and I found it pretty entertaining. Frank is a really fun character with an interesting personality, fun and engaging.  I would have given it 4 stars but the ending was a bit predictable for me so I gave it 3 1/2.

This would take about an hour to read if you were uninterrupted and my first thought, before I knew why this line was written this way,  was "Why would I want to read such a short book?"  I like books I can lose myself in for hours and days.  But I've decided what a really good use for this type of book would be.  I'm going to put it on the night stand in my guest room.  All my guests are readers and they all love a good mystery.  This would be the perfect thing to read if you found yourself somewhere and forgotten to bring a book or had finished what you brought.  It's light, it's quick, it's entertaining and I would be quite willing to read more about Frank Ryan.

I received this book through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2015-01-15 15:29
The perilous life of a piano tuner
Beethoven's Tenth (Rapid Reads) - Brian Harvey

This is an entertaining novella featuring an unlikely hero. By day, Frank Ryan is a 40-something piano technician (don't call him a "tuner", thank you very much) living in Nanaimo. He spends his nights playing jazz at a club owned by the enigmatic Kaz.

He has a network of regular customers like the elderly Miss Pieczynski, whose piano yields a nasty surprise after Frank arrives to fix it. In lieu of payment, she gives him an old music manuscript. That's when things get weird.

Frank puts his music degree to good use & recognizes the hand written score as being a new symphony by Beethoven. And life as he knows it is over. Pretty soon he's dodging thugs & cops as he tries to stay alive long enough to present the work at a bash for Beethoven's birthday in Vancouver. 

I won't reveal more of the plot as it's only 160 pages. But it's amazing how much is packed into this slim volume. It's told in first person & Frank is a charming narrator. His chatty & humorous voice will have you laughing & cringing, often at the same time, as he relates his story. The characters are well developed & distinct. It's an easy, fast paced read with a couple of nice little twists I didn't see coming. And I now know WAAAAY more about septic tanks than I ever wanted to. 

By the end it's obvious Frank's life is heading in a new direction & I'd like to see where the author takes him next. 

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