I had this dream. My dead father comes back to see me.
“So,” I say, “how is it? Have you met Beethoven?”
He scowls and shakes his head in sorrow and disgust:
“Oh-la-la! A horrible meeting!”
(Yasmina Reza – HAMMERKLAVIER)
The world is changing in front of our eyes. Sure, it will take time to realize everything that is happening now. And surely this is a time of reflection. Reflection on important things that not always we have had time to do deeply. Now it’s time to speak about ourselves, our innate, ideological changeover.
The project “Hammerklavier – In the Search of Ludwig van” is dedicated to these issues having front and center the 250th anniversary of Beethoven – a great change-maker deeply in love with humanity.
After more than two centuries of this giant’s performances and scholarship, it is commonly believed that we already know everything about this man and his music. But clearly, that’s not the case. Although Beethoven composed more than 400 works, we tend to hear the same symphonies, sonatas and quartets in concerts and recordings. As such, this project is inviting to rediscover Beethoven anew and different as we will be in search of less-known – WoO (die Werke ohne Opus/Works without opus) pieces of Ludwig van.
The other author involved in the project is Yasmina Reza –a contemporary well-known play-writer with her novel “Hammerklavier”, who will be “helping” us showing the “right” path(s) towards our “humanness”. Reza’s Hammerklavier is a collection of 44 autobiographical sketches that have love, loss, and the relentless passage of time as their themes. Passing moments, events, sounds, emotions are caught with precision and soul. The microtome slices of life thus presented accumulate somehow into a profound, deeply moving, yet unsentimental esthetic whole. Some of these stories about loving relationship Reza shared with her father are examined in terms of their love of music. Reza’s father’s reverence for Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” (N29, op.106) provides the title.
Convinced that one’s deepest thoughts can be shown not only in a symphony but also in a small form, Beethoven does so in his numerous songs and chamber music called WoO compositions. Reza does exactly the same with her little anecdotes, plucks moments, drawn from dreams or realities which she titles as distinct melodies.
The short stories in “Hammerklavier” were not supposed to be published. They were written just for the author. Supposedly the same is with Beethoven’s WoO pieces which are occasionally beautiful, often pretentious but always revealing.
The ՛HAMMERKLAVIER – In the Search of Ludwig van՛ is designed as an online project based on our Facebook friends’ contributions. Each day one of them will read one of Reza’s sketches translated in Armenian, put the video on their own Facebook page with several tags (ARé Festival and the supporters). Together with the video, each contributor will suggest one YouTube link of Ludwig van Beethoven’s WoO compositions (until the certain essay is about another musical composition). FB discussions can further take place around the intersection of themes.
In the course of time, all the 44 contributions will be collected on our Facebook pages letting all interested people get acquainted with a number of the WoO works of Ludwig van Beethoven (hopefully with more interest to dig them deeply), as well as Yasmina Reza’s novel Hammerklavier (hopefully with more interest in her whole oeuvre).
Translation by Marine Karoyan
The project is implemented as cooperation with Goethe Zentrum Eriwan.