Happy Belated Birthday


On Friday, April 8, at 7:30 p.m., The Valley Concert Society will welcome some of Vancouver’s
finest professional musicians to the stage of the Matsqui Centennial Auditorium for a program
entitled Young Beethoven. It is a celebration of the 250 th anniversary of Ludwig’s birth.
The exact date of his birth is uncertain, but his baptism was recorded in Bonn, Germany, on
December 17, 1780. Since it was the custom in the area to baptize an infant within 24 hours of
birth, a good guess would be a birthday of December 16, an early Christmas gift to his parents,
Johann and Maria.

In any case, the year 2020 was scheduled full of concerts to celebrate the 250 th anniversary of the
happy occasion. This program was originally booked to occur in Abbotsford in November of that
year. That, sadly, was the year that the pandemic rearranged vast numbers of scheduled events
beginning in March.

Hallmark has cards to help out people who are a little late in acknowledging someone’s birthday.
I don’t imagine they ever expected someone to be nearly a year and a half late. But any time is a
great time to play Beethoven’s music, and, if we have a belated birthday as an excuse to
celebrate, who cares?

This program features music that Beethoven composed as a relatively young man. His
composing career spanned the transition from the Classical to the Romantic Era, and the music
he produced late in life was very different from his early compositions. He began writing works
that were more reminiscent of Mozart and Haydn, joyous and delightful, before he became the
passionate, brooding, intense genius of his later years.

The program will close with the magnificent Septet, Op. 20, the highlight of the evening in more
ways than one. He completed it in 1800 and dedicated it to the Empress Maria Theresa.
It was one of his most successful and popular pieces. Franz Liszt and several other composers
made arrangements of the Septet for piano. Beethoven himself made an arrangement for the trio
combination of clarinet, cello and piano. Franz Schubert composed his remarkable Octet for
someone who wanted a piece like Beethoven’s Septet. Arturo Toscanini arranged it for a full
orchestra and made a recording in Carnegie Hall in 1951.

Tickets for this very special concert are available online at www.valleyconcertsociety.com at $28
for adults and $15 for students. Provincial health orders that are in effect at the time of the
concert will be observed.

I look forward to seeing you at the concert.

John Wiebe
The Valley Concert Society