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Bonn, October 2016 – François-Xavier Roth, Les Siècles, Ludwig van Beethoven

Ta ta ta taaaaa! Who doesn’t know this beginning? But how many know what it would have sounded like to audiences in Beethoven’s time?

When I saw that the charismatic Maestro François-Xavier Roth and his orchestra, Les Siècles, were performing Beethoven´s 5th on period instruments at the Beethovenfest in Bonn, I really wanted to find out more about the instruments they would be playing on. I find this orchestra fascinating because, no matter what piece they are playing, they play on instruments used at that period.

The day after the Beethoven 5, they performed Debussy and Stravinsky´s Le Sacre du Printemps from 1913. This meant everyone had to bring at least 2 instruments with them because by then, the instruments were much more developed. It was fascinating to hear Sacre like this – a really different sound than when played on instruments of today.

It was great to interview the Maestro in the house where Beethoven was born. It was a very special moment, so thank you to the Beethovenhaus Bonn for arranging this. I especially loved talking to my Les Siècles Stars – Marion, Bruno, Robin and Antoine- about their instruments. Their passion for what they do was infectious.

The concert was wonderful. Thanks to the balance and transparency of the period instruments, I heard so many different colours in the music and also some things I had never noticed before . It was a very powerful performance. And the Sacre du Printemps the next day really blew me away so if you ever have the chance to hear this orchestra live, do. It´s really very moving to hear how the pieces would have been performed in their day. I loved it!

And, dear Antoine, you really got me with the Contra Challenge!! Je vais prendre ma revanche!