Beethomorphose (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.

Thomas Schäfer - Beethomorphose - sheet music by Edition Svitzer
Edition Svitzer Cover Design by Nicola Lee

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.

Beethomorphosis - Audio

Recording of the world premiere 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 Thomas M. J. Schäfer.

Sample Score - Buy Sheet Music

For a sample score and the possibility to acquire sheet music of Beethomorphose  please visit the website of Edition Svitzer.

Beethomorphosis - Video