Max Richter releases his brand-new orchestral composition to mark the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birthday, 17 December, 2020. Opus 2020 was commissioned by the Beethoven Orchester Bonn, a successor to the Bonn Court Chapel, the ensemble with which Beethoven played viola in his youth. The world premiere performance of the British composer’s new work took place at Bonn’s Telekom Forum on 16 December.
This EP embodies Max Richter’s creative dialogue with the music of Beethoven. It also embraces the spirit of an earlier tribute piece, Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Opus 1970, made to mark Beethoven’s bicentenary fifty years ago. Recorded in November by pianist Elisabeth Brauß, the Beethoven Orchester Bonn and conductor Dirk Kaftan, Opus 2020 captures the multi-layered strands of Richter’s score. The 18-minute work includes fragments of Beethoven’s music treated as overlapping sound collages. “When I started thinking about Opus 2020, I decided to bring some elements of Beethoven’s and Stockhausen’s practice into the present in new ways,” recalls Richter. “This intertextuality is typical of my work; whatever else a piece might be about, it is also, at some level, about other music.”
The two works, Andante Loops and Opus 2020 are paired together on this digital EP, available to download and stream today.