Dr. Stephen Loy on the ‘Nine Symphonies of Beethoven’ by L. Andriessen

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Louis Andriessen composed De Negen Symfonieën van Beethoven voor Promenade Orkest en Yscobel1 in 1970 as a musical contribution to the Beethoven bicentenary celebrations of that year. Written during a period of social and political upheaval in many western nations, including Andriessen’s native Holland, the work constitutes one of Andriessen’s many musical contributions to social and political discourse concerning both local and global issues…   

The Nine Symphonies of Beethoven also represents a significant moment in Louis Andriessen’s œuvre, after which he was to question and subsequently refashion his approach to socio-politically engaged composition. A parodic collage of Beethoven quotations, The Nine Symphonies of Beethoven presents an abrasive postmodernist critique of aspects of musical tradition and concert practice, prior to his ensuing development of more constructive musical manifestations of his social and political convictions.

As an intersection between one of the central pillars of the Western musical tradition and Andriessen’s socio-political commitment, The Nine Symphonies of Beethoven is representative of the artistic consideration of the meaning and significance of tradition to radical socio-political contemporary artworks. This was a concern of many artists of the period.

Stephen Loy wrote a great study on this work, that can be downloaded for free.

Dr. Stephen Loy is a Lecturer Musicology at the Australian National University. His research interests range across a variety of areas, taking in both the study of Western art music of the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as popular music studies. A particular research interest is the interaction between the experimental avant-garde of the 1960s and 1970s and aspects of the popular music of the period. He has worked on many projects.

Download: Loy – Nice Symphonies Andriessen.