Music22 Jun 2007 09:02 am
You’d think that works by artists recognized as “great” would be easy enough to track down, but that’s not always the case. Would it shock you to know that the majority of Orson Welles’ films are not available on DVD? Many people think Citizen Kane is the greatest movie ever made, but it was only Welles’ first film and it’s often difficult to track down his later ones. The same can be said of Ludwig van Beethoven. He is considered one of the great masters of classical music, along with Bach, Brahms, Mozart and very few others. He was also a prodigious artist, composing over 380 catalogued works. Remarkably, there are also hundreds of works that have never been recorded, and some that haven’t even been published.
Well, as familiar with the web as The Devoted Intellectual has become over the years, there are still shocking little discoveries to be had. One of these was “The Unheard Beethoven,” a website started by Willem Holsbergen and Mark S. Zimmer. Holsbergen, a Dutch composer, and Zimmer, a tax attorney from Wisconsin, met online in a Beethoven chat room in 1997. Eventually, they moved from trading sheet music of rare Beethoven works to converting those works into MIDI files. This simple, no-frills format doesn’t approach the work of a trained orchestra but it allowed two amateur enthusiasts to do what the professional music establishment couldn’t: make every last work by Beethoven available for fans to hear.
As it happened, the professionals listened too. In 1999, Holsbergen posted a MIDI of Beethoven’s “Macbeth Overture,” an eight minute recording pieced together from various incomplete works. One of the people who heard it was Leonard Slatkin, the conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. The National Symphony performed the work, for the first time ever, in 2001.
You can hear the MIDI version of the “Macbeth Overture” right here:
(copyright Willem Holsbergen)
Learn more about “The Unheard Beethoven” in this article from C-NET.
And visit the site here.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.