Tuesday, 26th of March

192th anniversary of death of L. van Beethoven
and
145th anniversary of birth of Oskar Nedbal


L. van Beethoven (12/17/1770 Bonn - 3/26/1827 Vienna)

L. van Beethoven

Born in Bonn in 1770, the eldest son of a singer in the Kapelle of the Archbishop-Elector of Cologne and grandson of the Archbishop's Kapellmeister, Beethoven moved in 1792 to Vienna, where he had some lessons from Haydn and others, quickly establishing himself as a remarkable keyboard-player and original composer. By 1815 increasing deafness made public performance impossible and accentuated existing eccentricities of character, patiently tolerated by a series of rich patrons and his royal pupil the Archduke Rudolph. Beethoven did much to enlarge the possibilities of music and widen the horizons of later generations of composers. To his contemporaries he was sometimes a controversial figure, making heavy demands on listeners both by the length and by the complexity of his writing, as he explored new fields of music.
Beethoven wrote ten sonatas for violin and piano, of which the "Spring" and the "Kreutzer" are particular favourites with audiences. He extended very considerably the possibilities of the string quartet, even with his first, Opus 18 set of quartets, but it is possibly the named quartets, the group of three dedicated to Prince Razumovsky and known, therefore, as the Razumovsky Quartets, Opus 59, that are best known. The later string quartets offer great challenges to both players and audience, and include the remarkable Grosse Fuge (Great Fugue) a gigantic work, discarded as the final movement of the String Quartet, Opus 130, and published separately. Other chamber music includes a number of Trios for violin, cello and piano, with the "Archduke" Trio pre-eminent and the "Ghost" Trio a close runner-up, for very different reasons. The Cello Sonatas and sets of Variations for cello and piano, including one set based on Handel's See here the conquering hero comes and others on operatic themes from Mozart, are a valuable part of any cellist's repertoire. Chamber music with wind instruments and piano include a Quintet, Op. 16, for piano, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon.


Oskar Nedbal (3/26/1874 Tábor - 12/24/1930 Záhřeb, Chorvatsko)

Oskar Nedbal

Nedbal was born in Tábor, in southern Bohemia. He studied the violin at the Prague Conservatory under Antonín Bennewitz. He was principal conductor with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra from 1896 to 1906 and was a founder member of the Bohemian String Quartet.
Although a great admirer of his teacher Antonín Dvořák, Nedbal paid homage to other composers. For example in his 1910 composition, Romantic Piece, Op. 18 for cello and piano, Nedbal cleverly inserts a theme usually associated with Mozart, Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman.
His works include one (unsuccessful) opera, Jakob the Peasant (1919–1920), and the operettas Chaste Barbara (1910), Polish Blood (1913), The Vineyard Bride (1916), and Beautiful Saskia (1917).
Because of mounting personal debts, Nedbal committed suicide by jumping out of a window of the Zagreb Opera House on 24 December 1930.[1]
The waltz from his ballet The Tale of Simple Johnny (Der faule Hans) is played on the piano at a key moment by one of the characters in Heimito von Doderer's great novel of the inter-war years in Vienna, The Demons (Die Dämonen) (1956).

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