Agence France-Presse

The annual Beethovenfest that Bonn holds in honour of its most famous son, composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770ñ1827), will this year focus on Beethoven's relations with France and French music, organisers said on Friday [March 11].
Under the motto "LibertÈ" ("Freedom"), the Beethovenfest Bonn 2005 will stage a total 64 concerts ó including orchestra and chamber concerts, piano and song recitals and even performances of jazz and French chansons ó at 25 venues in and around Beethoven's native city between September 8 and October 2.
The focus of this year's festival will be the huge impact that the ideas and turmoil of the French Revolution had on Beethoven and his musical language, festival manager Ilona Schmiel said.
The most famous example is perhaps Beethoven's Third Symphony written in 1803, which the composer dedicated to Napoleon under the subtitle "Eroica".
But he later angrily scratched out that dedication when Napoleon declared himself Emperor in 1804.
The concerts will also explore Beethoven's influence on later French composers such as Hector Berlioz (1803ñ1869), Claude Debussy (1862ñ1918) and Maurice Ravel (1875ñ1937).
The French emphasis of this year's festival will not only be reflected in the choice of works being performed, but also in the artists making guest appearances, the organizers said.
They include the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, which will perform the "Eroica" symphony at the opening concert; the Orchestre National de France under its principal conductor Kurt Masur in works by CÈsar Franck, Debussy and Ravel; and star French pianist HÈlËne Grimaud, who will perform Beethoven's Fifth Piano Concerto with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under conductor Ingo Metzmacher at the closing concert.
Also on the programme is an evening of Jacques Brel songs by Dominique Horwitz, and a new production of Beethoven's only opera, Fidelio, by Bonn's own opera house.

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