Happy birthday Beethoven

Lexi Schnaser – Staff Writer

The B.J. Haan Auditorium hosted special birthday celebration on Friday, October 30th. This year marks the 250th birthday of composer Ludwig van Beethoven, which Dordt celebrated by holding a piano recital to showcase his best works. 

Dordt piano students, taught by MaryLou Wielenga, headlined the recital. They begin learning their pieces at the beginning of the semester to perform in various recitals and for a final exam. This fall, they were assigned a variety of Beethoven arrangements for their recital repertoire. 

Some pieces, like “Fur Elise,” were written when Beethoven was supposedly in love and reflected an upbeat and cheerful tune. Other pieces, written when Beethoven’s deafness worsened, such as the “Moonlight Sonata,” were marked with heavy chords and melancholic notes. 

Most know, Beethoven is widely regarded as a revolutionary composer of his time. His music reflects the transition from the Classical to Romantic Era as his style moved from balance and poise to influence and emotion. His works range across all the genres of classical music – symphonies, concertos, string quartets, and piano sonatas.

Anna Rediger and Timothy Molitor, sophomores, played their own pieces separate before together playing the final piece of the night: “Three Marches,” Op. 45. The piece was written as a “march for four hands,” more commonly known as a duet. Because of COVID-19, Rediger and Molitor played their respective parts on two separate pianos instead of one.

“It’s cool to see the variety of repertoire that Dordt students get to learn,” Rediger said. “Maybe there was somewhat less variety because it was all Beethoven, but everyone plays differently so it’s cool to see how different people interpret different things.”

Both Rediger and Molitor admitted the inevitability of nervousness when they are in front of the crowd. Once they start playing, however, it becomes fun. 

“And it’s even more exciting when you get to make up the ending,” Molitor said.

After striking the wrong chord toward the end of his sonata, Molitor said he completely blanked. 

“I was like, ‘Crap I got to finish the song because I don’t know what to do.’” Molitor said.

Although a unique ending to the sonata for the Beethoven-trained ear, most of the audience members were none the wiser. 

As with all Dordt events this semester, some students were unable to perform the pieces they had been practicing all semester because of quarantines. Even with the missing students, the lively recital still showcased the musical talents of Dordt students and the brilliance of Beethoven. 

Across the globe, symphonies have celebrated the birthday of the legendary composer throughout year, even though his birthday does not come until December. 

The recital, filled with Beethoven’s melodious tunes and talented Dordt students, threw a great birthday bash.

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