Composer: Thomas Schäfer
Instrument: Piano and String Orchestra (Conductor Score)
Duration: 14-15 min.
Beethomorphosis – Reflection of the “Largo e mesto“ from Beethoven’s op. 10 Nr. 3 for Piano and String Orchestra
Beethomorphosis is a homage to Ludwig van Beethoven on the occasion of the great composer's 250th birthday. The work is an attempt to hear Beethoven's music in a new way and, as it were, to reflect it with the tonal means of the string orchestra.
The composition is based on the slow D minor movement Largo e mesto (“slow and melancholic”) from the Piano Sonata No. 7 in D major, Op. 10 No. 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven. The movement sounds like an improvisation, motifs and themes seem like spontaneous ideas that meet in contrast to each other.
How would it be if these musical thoughts could be spun further in the voices of the string orchestra? Where might this lead? The string orchestra takes up these ideas in the Beethomorphosis and allows them to undergo changes – metamorphoses – that add new sound experiences to the original sounds of the piano. Beethoven's original piano writing undergoes only a few changes or interruptions in the course of the piece.
This is how new music is created in which the old lives on. The Beethomorphosis touches on numerous styles and sound worlds of the last two centuries and thus embarks on a journey through time and sound from Beethoven's era to the present day. In the end, a look back should not be missing, just as the master himself developed a preference for earlier compositional techniques in his late creative period.
Beethomorphosis is conceived in such a way that there are two possibilities for performance: joint performance with strings and piano or only with string orchestra (Beethomorphosis II). In this way, the two levels of the composition – original piano and reflective strings – can sound together or one after the other. For the performance of Beethomorphosis II it is advisable to hear the Largo e mesto in advance, so that the reflection can become an apotheosis. The strings are beginning in bar 16 with the upbeat to bar 17. Here there is a small allusion to Beethoven's presumed date of birth on December 16, only his baptism date is confirmed, December 17, 1770. Anyone looking for December will find it in the 12 sixteenth notes of each bar.
In terms of difficulty, Beethomorphosis is suitable for amateur or youth orchestras as well as for professional orchestras.
The work was premiered on June 5, 2022 in the Catholic Church of St. Josef in Böbingen an der Rems by the Sinfonietta St. Josef with soloist Rainer Oster at the piano conducted by the composer.
The price includes conductor score and piano part; a complete edition is also available.
If you would like to purchase conductor score without piano part (€24.00), piano part (€10.00) or string parts separately (at a unit price of €3.50), please contact Edition Svitzer on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Piano and String Orchestra
About the composer +
The composer and conductor Thomas Martin Johannes Schäfer draws his tonal language from all styles and forms of the last millennium and tries to create a new tonal language in this way. For him, composition is both improvisation and construction, cognitive play with the possibilities as well as impulsiveness and intuition. He defines his musical language as postmodern.
Thomas M. J. Schäfer was born in 1979 in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Southern Germany. He completed his studies at the music academies in Stuttgart with Prof. Jon Laukvik and in Munich with Prof. Bruno Weil and graduated in 2008 with a master class diploma in orchestral conducting. He led numerous orchestras, including the Munich Symphony Orchestra, was choir director of the Junge Oper at the Staatsoper Stuttgart, where he also took part in world premieres such as Randolphs Erben by Ruedi Häusermann. Since 2008 he is responsive as the main church musician at St. Josef Böbingen, he works as an organist and piano accompanist and teaches at the Baden-Württemberg Landesgymnasium in Schwäbisch Gmünd. After having co-initiated the youth symphony orchestra Junge Gmünder Symphoniker, he had the honour of conducting the foundation concert.
His works have received international acclaim and have been performed in many countries, for example at the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra's gala dinner in honor of Zubin Mehta in Tel Aviv. For his composition Exultet – Easter Light Thanksgiving, Thomas M. J. Schäfer received personal thanks and recognition from the dedicatee Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
Thomas M. J. Schäfer premiered numerous of his compositions and arrangements with his choirs and orchestras. The Clarinet Concerto Impressions – Concertant Fantasy for Clarinet and Orchestra was awarded second prize at the composition contest of the German Federal Music Festival in 2001, another prize followed in 2018 for the riddle canon JSBach 333.
Front Cover graphics and layout: Nicola Lee
Photo: KD Busch
Engraving: Thomas Martin Johannes Schäfer
Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
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