classical music

Insights: Beethoven - Fiction and Reality

Part of Classical Season 2019/20

Why does Beethoven have such a massive reputation? The Philharmonia Orchestra explains in an Insights morning to kick off its Beethoven Day.

The morning explores the power of Beethoven’s public image, and tests it with conversations about its roots.

What was it about his music that made him seem so exceptional to his contemporaries?

What was his mammoth concert on 22 December 1808 meant to convey to the public? And what does it tell us now about the almost mythical figure he’s become?

Curated and presented by Beethoven expert Professor John Deathridge, Beethoven – Fiction and Reality features a panel of writers, philosophers and commentators, film screenings and a live performance from the Philharmonia’s MMSF Instrumental Fellows.

In December 1808, as reconstructed by the Philharmonia in the concert that follows, Beethoven presented himself and four hours of his music to the Viennese public as a retrospective of his latest work – music intended to uplift feelings about the future of art, humanity and religion.

Beethoven has been represented in a variety of guises – hero of democracy, authoritarian visionary – without asking enough about the role of his music.

What values and ideas did Beethoven truly represent? Where do the realities end and the invented Beethovens of romance, philosophy and film – even scholarly history – begin?

Dates & times

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Royal Festival Hall
Level 5 Function Room, Green Side


Booking fee: £3.50 (Members £0.00)


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Get £10 off this event when you book Beethoven: 1808 Reconstructed, the Philharmonia Orchestra’s 2pm concert recreating of one of the most famous concerts in the history of classical music, in the same transaction.
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