By Jessica Duchen

The mystery of Beethoven's lost love – Immortal Beloved.

Friday, 15 May 2020

Beethoven Matters: a discussion with the Royal Philharmonic Society and Garsington, online

Dear friends and supporters,

I hope you're keeping well and safe. Aren't we lucky that this has been the sunniest spring in...possibly ever?

As lockdown continues, sort of, vaguely, and as the government's award-winning communication strategy leaves nobody quite sure what we're meant to be doing or how, many of us are starting to think of new ways to function. Some of us are trying ideas we've never tried before. I have been brushing up my German online and starting to do some Pilates - though mostly I am working on IMMORTAL. At the end of April I was supposed to be chairing a discussion for the Royal Philharmonic Society and Garsington Opera about Beethoven, especially Fidelio. It bit the dust, to everyone's disappointment...

...except that it hasn't. We can do it online, from the comfort of our own homes. It has been rescheduled for 26 May at 6pm and will feature our originally planned panellists: tenor Toby Spence (who was going to sing Florestan for Garsington), pianist and scholar David Owen Norris, composer Freya Waley-Cohen and conductor and Garsington music director Douglas Boyd. I will be 'Dimblebying' for the occasion. I understand they're even hoping to figure out a way that Toby can sing us something with David at the piano. 

You can watch the talk live on the Garsington Facebook or YouTube pages at 6.00pm (BST) on Tuesday 26 May. Members of the RPS will be able to see it online at the RPS's members' site thereafter.

Please join us for a lively discussion and some immortal music. 

Meanwhile I'm going through IMMORTAL, reading it aloud, which is an absolutely essential part of the process. And I'm doing it backwards (well, not literally backwards word for word, but starting with the last chapter and working slowly forwards - otherwise one risks ending up with early chapters that are well wrought and late ones that are another fine mess, which is not ideal). Please forgive me if I am not being massively communicative at the moment!

Take care and, as they say, hang in there.

Love and best wishes,


PS, did you know that Beethoven wrote a version of 'Sally in our Alley'? Here's Toby singing it. Enjoy.



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