classical music

François-Xavier Roth & the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln

Part of Classical Season 2019/20

The pioneering Gürzenich-Orchester Köln presents its interpretation of Beethoven’s ‘academy’ performances in celebration of his 250th anniversary.

Beethoven was a revolutionary and 250 years on his ideas still provoke and excite. As a promoter, his ‘academies’ presented music that was sometimes so fresh the ink was barely dry, often including single movements and excerpts.

Inspired by his spirit of exploration and experimentation, François-Xavier Roth, Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Gürzenich-Orchester Köln weave modern classics by Bernd Alois Zimmermann, Helmut Lachenmann and Francesco Filidei with selections from Beethoven’s piano and orchestral works.

These are bound together with specially composed music by Isabel Mundry and lighting and theatrical direction that highlights the dramatic nature of the concert.

The chosen composers are all kindred spirits with Beethoven – inventors and deep thinkers who have pushed musical boundaries.

Helmut Lachenmann continues the process that Beethoven began of reinventing the modern orchestra, conceiving innovative musical gestures in his 1988 Tableau.

Francesco Filidei constructs and deconstructs music in radical ways, too: his new work quotes Beethoven’s Emperor Piano Concerto, itself performed by Pierre-Laurent Aimard in the first half of the concert.

Bernd Alois Zimmermann was born in the same region as Beethoven and was also a visionary who anticipated today’s intermixing of musical genres – his 1968 work Photoptosis quotes the Ninth Symphony.

Isabel Mundry has been specially commissioned to write music that connects these works and those of Beethoven, offering further perspectives on this journey between past, present and future.


Gürzenich-Orchester Köln
François-Xavier Roth conductor
Pierre-Laurent Aimard piano


Beethoven: Bagatelle in C, Op.119 No.7 (Allegro, ma non troppo); Bagatelle in A minor, Op.119 No.9 (Vivace moderato); Bagatelle in A, Op.119 No.10 (Allegramente); Bagatelle in B flat, Op.119 No.11 (Andante, ma non troppo)
Isabel Mundry: Resonances (UK premiere)
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.5 (Emperor)
Francesco Filidei: Quasi una bagatella for piano & orchestra (UK premiere)
Beethoven: Adagio sostenuto (1st movement) from Piano Sonata in C sharp minor, Op.27 No.2 (Quasi una fantasia - Moonlight)
Isabel Mundry: Resonances (UK premiere)
Helmut Lachenmann: Tableau
Isabel Mundry: Resonances (UK premiere)
Beethoven: Excerpt from Allegro molto - Allegro con brio (1st movement) from Symphony No.1; Allegretto (2nd movement) from Symphony No.7; Excerpt from Arietta: Adagio molto semplice e cantabile (2nd movement) from Piano Sonata in C minor, Op.111
Zimmermann: Photoptosis

Dates & times

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Royal Festival Hall


£15 - £55
Booking fee: £3.50 (Members £0.00)
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