In February this year we took The Anatomy of the Orchestra to Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow. That was our last gig before everything happened, and everything stopped. Like most arts organisations we’ve been on hold, (im)patiently waiting in the wings for our chance to make art together again, supporting our musicians through this as best we can, and lobbying hard to ensure that the sector re-opens as inclusively as possible.
So, it is with great delight that we can confirm that we are now working on another project. Marking the 250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven, our Artistic Director, Charles Hazlewood, will present a new documentary for Sky Arts: Beethoven and Me. Airing this winter, the documentary uses Beethoven’s 5th Symphony as a stepping-off point to explore the work, genius, and various health conditions that both influenced and disrupted the great composer’s work. The piece will be underpinned by performances by a 38 musician-strong Paraorchestra, including personal insight from members of the orchestra.
Beethoven and Me will explore some of the composer’s earlier sketches that chart the genesis of this composition, throwing light on Beethoven’s mental health – as well as his very human process in refining his ideas into final form. ‘A bloody battlefield’ – as Charles refers to it – ‘of corrections, rejected ideas, self-doubt, despair’ reflecting Beethoven’s personal struggles, and ultimate victory.
This film is a thrilling new departure for me and will be the most intensely personal programme I’ve made on Beethoven, as we have a common thread: we were both abused as children. I have always had an incredibly stormy relationship with his music: it takes me close to hell at times, and yet I always feel ecstatic in the moment of performance! Armed with my beloved Paraorchestra – my favourite group of musicians in the entire world – the ecstatic end-point will be all the richer.
We are beyond thrilled to be performing once again within a project that will reach such a wide audience now that Sky Arts has moved to become a free to air channel.