During this ‘year of Beethoven’ one of the most popular works of the Donemus catalogue is ‘The Nine Symphonies of Beethoven for Promenade Orchestra and Ice Cream Vendor’s Bell’, written by Louis Andriessen 50 years ago!
Louis Andriessen composed De Negen Symfonieën van Beethoven voor Promenade Orkest en Yscobell 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 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.