From Berlin to Frankfurt and today venturing into Bonn to pick up Olivia’s violin from the repair shop. It rained (again) and driving and then walking through the streets of this city, I notice a rather large leaning towards Classical Music. It is of course the birthplace of Beethoven and the deathplace of Robert Schumann (in a mental institution from pneumonia whilst suffering from “Psychotic Melancholia”). Olivia’s violin was being repaired in Mozart Strasse and evidence of classical musical, in the names of cafes and the existence of Beethoven busts, statues and memorabilia might give it away. Whether the kids are listening to Beethoven’s fifth or Rihanna on their phones might question the influence that classical music has here on the younger generation, but whilst walking, Olivia greeted Marina, a young bassoonist and pianist that she knew, riding her bike on the way to rehearsals – carrying just the bassoon on her back.
One of Olivia’s favourite Beethoven pieces is Rage Over The Lost Penny written between 1795- 1798 when he was around 25 years old and performed here by the Czech prodigy Natalie Schwamova – when she was 11. It’s a different world in the land of the dedicated genius – dextrous, passionate, intellectual and simultaneously playful in interpretation.
But what of Bonn, temporary capital of Germany from 1949 – 1990, what did they do with all those buildings after unification when Berlin again became the capital? Filled them with excess busts of Beethoven perhaps?
Of course if this isn’t your bag, here’s Morrissey doing Jack The Ripper from the live album Beethoven Was Deaf (1993). It originally appeared as the B-side to Certain People I Know from Your Arsenal (1992).