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Beethoven Marathon

Performance cancelled
  • Concert
  • 26 sep 2020, Göteborgs Konserthus & Götebor....
  • Duration: Concert 1: 10.00am – 12.30pm; Concert 2: 2.30–4.00pm; Concert 3: 7.00–9.45pm
  • Ensemble


    Christoph Eschenbach
    Eva Ollikainen


    Ida Falk Winland
    Katarina Giotas
    Michael Weinius
    Fredrik Zetterström
    The Göteborg Opera Chorus
    Gothenburg’s Symphony Choir
    The Göteborg Opera Orchestra
    The Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
    University of Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra


Beethoven Marathon

The Göteborg Opera and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra will perform all Beethoven's nine symphonies – in one day!


Due to the government’s decision regarding public events, we must unfortunately cancel this concert. We are now working on finding a future date where we may fully enjoy Beethoven’s music together.

Purchased tickets will be refunded. If you have a ticket, contact The Gothenburg Concert Hall at biljett@gso.se or +46 31 726 53 00.

Learn more here

Ludwig van Beethoven is among the world’s most played composers and has become almost synonymous with classical music.  In a one-off event, Gothenburg’s two main orchestras will unite to celebrate the great master’s 250th birthday. For a total of twelve hours, all nine Beethoven symphonies will be performed in three concerts at Gothenburg Concert Hall and The Göteborg Opera. There will be ample time to relax, eat, drink and socialise between the concerts.

Two conductors will take turns on the podium: Christoph Eschenbach and Eva Ollikainen. Ollikainen is Chief Conductor of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and a Beethoven specialist. Eschenbach is one of the most respected and sought-after conductors of our time.

Each of the orchestras – reinforced by the University of Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra – will play individually at their habitual venue, but will unite at Gothenburg Concert Hall at the end of day to perform the ninth and final symphony. Soloists Ida Falk Winland, Katarina Giotas, Michael Weinius and Fredrik Zetterström will perform in the final symphony alongside the venues’ choirs.

Don't miss this glorious experience!

Want to prepare for the concerts? Here’s a Beethoven playlist.

Concert 1

Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral”
Symphony No. 8

Symphony No. 3 “Eroica”  

Lennart Sjöberg

What a wonderful start to the day! Birdsong wafts from leafy linden trees and a stream gently winds through green valleys, where a lively country dance is in full swing. But a storm looms on the horizon! Beethoven was at his most harmonious when composing the bucolic Pastoral Symphony.

Four years later, the idyllic mood had dispersed from his music, but the playfulness – he wasn’t only stern! – remained. Or perhaps he simply wanted to test the bourgeoisie’s patience in his 8th Symphony, with its sophisticated syncopations, its rhythmic drive and the ticking of the metronome (a new invention at the time) effectively mimicked in the second movement. Or was he protesting against the contemporary tendency to measure and analyse everything? Beethoven was a supporter of the French Revolution, for which objectivity and rationality were watchwords. It was in the aftermath of the Revolution that the exact length of a metre and the exact weight of a kilogram were established. Beethoven vigorously discussed the new ideals with Jean Baptiste Bernadotte (later King Charles XIV John of Sweden). But when Napoleon declared himself Emperor in his intent to conquer the whole of Europe, Beethoven was enraged: in a fury, he erased the dedication to Napoleon from the score of his third symphony – which features strident horns, a  sombre funeral march and a finale that surpassed anything previously heard. This is the first revolutionary symphony in musical history. 

Concert 2 

Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 4

Symphony No. 5 “Fate”

This is where it all begins – the first piece in the world’s most famous series of symphonies. It’s as though Beethoven wanted to prove that he was as well-versed in his craft as his elegant and balanced rococo predecessors Haydn and Mozart. But inside him was an urge to explode all the boundaries. In the first symphony’s baffling introduction, we get the sense of a seed that will germinate very quickly.  

Lennart Sjöberg

After making explorative forays into the enticing realm of early romanticism and challenging the musical rules of the time, Beethoven boldly tests the boundaries between convention and adventure in his Symphony no. 4. Here beauty and despair meet in a frontal collision, and the turbulent finale whips out the melody in a frenzied mix of cruelty and humour.

The ground was now prepared for the work that is seen today as the definitive symphony: Symphony No. 5. The introductory theme is familiar to everyone, so we can skip that. But listen to the second movement, where Beethoven toys with the triple time until we’re sometimes unsure where the first beat is. Or the transition into the finale, which slowly and inexorably boils over like an unattended cooking pot. In the finale – where the piccolo plays a prominent role for the first time – he sets up a pattern of thundering final chords that are relentlessly repeated, as if the composer was reluctant to stop and just wanted to keep composing. And continue he did: with four more symphonies.

Concert 3

Symphony No. 7
Symphony No. 2

Symphony No. 9

Lennart Sjöberg

Beethoven has gone mad! That was the reaction after the first performance of Symphony No. 7. It’s true that many people already viewed him as mad... but this? However, this evaluation should be taken with a pinch of salt. What could be more gripping than the second movement’s hypnotically repeated theme? Today the theme is frequently used in films, TV series and advertisements. And who can resist the smouldering energy of the finale? A seemingly simple folk dance that intensifies and speeds up with each repetition until the dancers collapse on the floor in other’s arms. Madness wasn’t far away.

Many elements of Beethoven’s future symphonies can be traced to Symphony No. 2: it was here that Beethoven became unmistakably Beethoven. The composer later said that the second symphony contained enough material for twenty works, and he was right. It is packed with ideas and impulses, like a child or teenager who can’t stop voicing their thoughts and views, and it makes for compelling listening.

Some of the melodic fragments from the second symphony resurface in the ninth symphony, the composer’s masterpiece. The poem "Ode the Joy" by Schiller captivated Beethoven’s imagination. In the contemporary spirit of revolution, it was a call for brotherhood and love. This immensely important theme demanded all the resources available: orchestra, choir and solo singers. The result was a symphony bursting at the seams with abundance, and with a playing time of 70 minutes. And it’s true that the last movement, “Ode to Joy”, is stunning, but don’t forget the previous three movements. It’s not the goal that’s most important, but the journey

A co-production between the Göteborg Opera, Göteborg Symphony Orchestra and the University of Gothenburg.

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