Home » Beethoven’s Bonn: a musical tour of the composer’s house metropolis.

Beethoven’s Bonn: a musical tour of the composer’s house metropolis.

by newsking24

(CNN) — He’s the towering musical genius who did not let his deafness forestall him from changing into one of many world’s best composers.

Ludwig van Beethoven might have been born 250 years in the past, however his story of reaching musical greatness regardless of his incapacity appears like a totally fashionable story.

And with the 250th anniversary of his delivery developing subsequent month — he was baptized December 17, 1770 — his hometown of Bonn is gearing as much as have fun.

Beethoven was born 250 years in the past, on December 17, 1770.

Hulton Archive/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

That’s nothing new to Bonn. The metropolis — which has a 2,000 yr historical past and was the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 — has hosted the annual Beethovenfest, a world pageant of classical music, since 1844 (although this yr’s version was canceled as a result of Covid-19 pandemic.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert have been among the many visitors of the inaugural version — held simply 17 years after the composer’s loss of life — along with Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm IV and pure scientist Alexander von Humboldt. As effectively as attending the pageant, they witnessed the disclosing of the Beethoven monument, which stands on Münsterplatz, a reasonably city-center sq., to this present day.

Place of pilgrimage

The Beethoven monument at Muensterplatz was unveiled 17 years after the composer's death.

The Beethoven monument at Muensterplatz was unveiled 17 years after the composer’s loss of life.

Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

There’s greater than a statue, although. Bonn is decided to maintain the reminiscence of Beethoven and his work alive, and traces of the composer might be discovered across the metropolis and the encircling space.

Beethoven’s birthplace, initially constructed round 1700, has survived the ravages of time and is likely one of the few remaining previous homes of Bonn. The small constructing with its pink baroque facade nonetheless stands at Bonngasse 20. Born in one of many attic rooms, Ludwig was named after his Dutch grandfather Ludwig van Beethoven, who was musical director on the courtroom of Cologne’s Elector — one of many highest positions within the Holy Roman Empire.

He was the second of seven youngsters of Johann — a courtroom musician, and singing and piano instructor — and Maria Magdalena. But solely three of them — all boys — survived infancy.

The Beethovens moved home in 1774, however none of their different Bonn houses have survived, making the birthplace a spot of pilgrimage for music lovers.

It was became a museum in 1893, and got here by means of each World Wars nearly unscathed. During World War II the gathering was evacuated, and the bombing of Bonn in October 1944 solely noticed minor injury to the home.

The museum was final modernized in 2017, and right now — having encompassed the homes on both aspect of the birthplace, too — it homes a everlasting exhibition on the lifetime of the person and his household, in addition to the most important assortment of Beethoven memorabilia — from his possessions and his music to unique work and letters — on this planet.

The neighboring buildings home the Beethoven archive, a library and publishing home, in addition to an award-winning chamber music corridor.

But it is the low ceilings, creaking stairs and picket flooring of Bonngasse 20 that convey an concept of the common-or-garden beginnings of one of many best musical artists of all time.

‘King forest’

beethoven forest

The Kottenforst affords an escape from Bonn.


One of the locations that Ludwig and his household might need escaped to from the cramped circumstances within the metropolis middle are the strolling trails of the Kottenforst, the 4,000-hectare forest south of Bonn.

This is likely one of the oldest forests of the area and existed effectively earlier than Beethoven’s time. A doc from 973 CE calls it the “king forest,” and the paths that criss-cross it date again to the 18th century, established by Clemens August, Cologne’s Elector and the boss of Beethoven’s father.

August used the Kottenforst as his private searching floor and the forest nonetheless incorporates a hunter’s cottage from 1740 that was used as a relay station for recent horses for the hunts. Today, although, the Kottenforst varieties is a part of the big Rhineland Nature Park. It’s nonetheless an ideal place to go to to expertise “waldeinsamkeit” — primarily “forest solitude” — the act of escaping to the woods for some reference to nature.

Bare-chested Beethoven

beethoven Rheinaue

The Rheinaue park is located alongside the Rhine river.


As Bonn’s largest metropolis park, the Rheinaue, on the banks of the Rhine, is the fashionable model of the Kottenforst — someplace for locals to loosen up. In Beethoven’s time, it was an alluvial forest, however dwindled when the river was rerouted within the 18th and 19th centuries, and was later drained totally and given over to agricultural use.

By 1949, when Bonn was named West Germany’s capital, it was one of many final pure areas within the metropolis, though a brand new authorities quarter was constructed on the northern fringe of the Rheinaue.

To reserve it from extra growth, Bonn picked the Rheinaue as the placement of West Germany’s 1979 National Horticultural Show.

The nation’s largest landscaping mission of the time noticed the 160 hectare space remodeled right into a park, creating gently rolling hills dotted with flower beds, many alternative timber and kilometers of winding footpaths — all with out fences so residents might expertise the flowers and crops as they needed.

Today, it is house to a different Beethoven monument — this one a 1938 granite sculpture by Peter Breuer. Moved right here in 1995, it reveals a hunky younger Ludwig reclining bare-chested, overlooking the park’s small lake.

Eighth surprise

Beethoven was said to love walking in the hills of the Siebengebirge.

Beethoven was stated to like strolling within the hills of the Siebengebirge.

Henning Kaiser/image alliance by way of Getty Images

The wooded hills of the Siebengebirge, or “Seven Mountains,” rising on the jap financial institution of the Rhine throughout from Bonn would have been a well-known sight to Beethoven.

At 460 meters (over 1,500 toes) Ölberg is the best spot. Despite the identify, that is really an space of greater than 40 hills — long-dead volcanoes, regarded as round 20 million years previous.

However, the identify prefers to take its lead from an area legend. The story goes that seven giants arrived to widen the Rhine, after which caught their spades within the floor as they rested close to Königswinter, eight miles south of Bonn. The earth that crumbled off the instruments turned the Siebengebirge.

Artists and nature lovers have lengthy adored the realm. Eighteenth-century naturalist Alexander von Humboldt was so taken by the forested summits and craggy rocks of those “high mountains on a small scale” that he described them because the “eighth wonder of the world.”

The stone ridges have been quarried by Celts, Romans and medieval Germans constructing church buildings and castles. Today, most of those quarries have grown over and in 1958 the realm was designated the Naturpark Siebengebirge, North Rhine-Westphalia’s first nature park.

Back to Beethoven. The composer was so taken with the Siebengebirge that he would cross the Rhine to stroll and dream right here, as locals informed French composer Hector Berlioz who visited for the primary Beethovenfest in 1845.

Today there’s a strolling path devoted to the composer, with stops together with the Drachenfels, or Dragon’s Rock.

This craggy rock topped with the romantic ruins of a 12th-century fortress has lengthy been tied to delusion, and has impressed artists and writers together with Lord Byron and Heinrich Heine, in addition to Beethoven. From right here, there’s an enthralling view of the legendary hills and the panorama throughout the Eifel and Westerwald mountains.

Rhineland roots

The Ehrenbreitstein fortress overlooks the birthplace of Beethoven's mother.

The Ehrenbreitstein fortress overlooks the birthplace of Beethoven’s mom.

De Agostini Editorial/Getty Images

South of Bonn and the Siebengebirge is a becoming remaining cease for an exploration of Beethoven’s Rhineland roots. His mom was born in Koblenz, an hour south-east of Bonn.

The third largest metropolis within the space, the place the Rhine and Moselle rivers meet, Koblenz additionally has a 2,000-year historical past.

Maria Magdalena Keverich, as she was then, was born in 1746 in Ehrenbreitstein, the oldest a part of the town.

It sits on the foot of the excessive bluff of the identical identify, which is topped by a fortress. There’s been one right here since Roman instances, although the one that may be seen right now is Prussian, from 1828.

Koblenz’s prime draw is the Deutsches Eck, or German Corner — an open headland overlooking the purpose the place the 2 rivers merge. It’s house to a statue of Emperor William I., the so-called “founder of the German Reich”, on horseback. Put there in 1897, it was eliminated after World War II however however reinstalled in 1993 and re-dedicated to German reunification.

Maria Keverich, after all, had extra humble origins. She was born to Anna Klara and Johann Heinrich Keverich, the top prepare dinner at close by Philippsburg Castle.

Having married younger, she was widowed on the age of simply 18, and met her second husband by means of courtroom violinist Johann Konrad Rovantini, who had married considered one of her cousins. She and Johann van Beethoven married in 1767, and Maria died at 40, in Bonn, of tuberculosis.

Her birthplace — considered one of Koblenz’s oldest buildings — is named the Mother Beethoven House museum and is devoted to the lifetime of this sturdy lady and, after all, her genius son.

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