After a year of vlogging about Ludwig van Beethoven, Dutch pianist and classical music presenter Christiaan Kuyvenhoven has completed his ‘#Beethoven250 in 052’ series on January 24th. For 52 weeks in a row he has celebrated the 250th anniversary of the Beethoven’s birth with a video series about the composers life and music. An extensive project that resulted in around 6 hours of content. From Für Elise to the 5th Symphony, the deafness to the enigma of Beethoven’s ‘immortal beloved’; the series give a complete idea of the man and his genius.
Without being able to foresee it, celebrating the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth in 2020 with an online video series proved to be the best way to do s0. The idea came to Christiaan’s mind when having a shower just days before 2020 started. While shampooing his hair, he suddenly realized he hadn’t made any plans for the Beethoven Year yet. It struck him that if you reverse the number 250, you’ll get the number 052. Since that’s exactly the number of weeks in a year, the concept of #Beethoven250 in 052 posts was born.
From behind his piano at home – supervised by his stuffed pheasant and a bust of Beethoven – Christiaan tells about the composer’s life and plays his music. In random order, he treats the main events of Beethoven’s life and his important repertoire in an enthusiastic, energetic and humorous way. He covers well known anecdotes about the ‘Immortal Beloved‘, Beethoven’s deafness, or his meetings with Goethe in Teplitz. But equally interesting are the episodes that connect Beethoven to more recent history and even our time.
One of the most famous facts about Beethoven’s life is that he became deaf. In episode 029 The Deafness Christiaan explains how his symptoms developed and eventually ended Beethoven’s piano career. For a moment, Beethoven thought about giving up as a composer as well and become a farmer, but luckily he didn’t.
“I am going to challenge my fate! And I won’t go down without a fight.”
Episode 023 Black Notes Matter tell about black violinist George Bridgetower who was the original dedicatee of the Violin Sonata no. 9, which is nevertheless known as ‘The Kreutzer Sonata’. This episode was inspired by the Black Lives Matter protests in the US at the end of May 2020, and Christiaan suggests we should actually call the piece ‘Bridgetower Sonata’.
Christiaan has recorded a several pieces of repertoire for the series, including the Mondschein Sonata, Andante Favori,Polonaise. Also, he made a live recording of the Eroica Variationsat TivoliVredenburg in The Netherlands as part of the Long Distance Liszt Festival, organized by the International Franz Liszt Piano Competition in Utrecht in June 2020.
With ‘#Beethoven250 in 052 posts’ Christiaan has launched his YouTube-channel www.youtube.com/ChrisClassics. The channel has attracted subscribers from the Netherlands, US, Germany, Italy, France and the Dominican Republic. It was also picked up by the Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, who selected five videos to be broadcasted during their Beethoven Festival Online in November 2020.
Christiaan will continue to grow his channel in 2021, and has already started a new series called Nightcaps: relaxing piano pieces to end your day with. To support Christiaan, you can donate via Tikkie or Paypal.