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Extreme Beethoven

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Johan de Meij

Johan de Meij

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Subtitle: Metamorphoses on Themes by Ludwig van Beethoven

General Info

Year: 2012
Duration: 18:00
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Amstel Music/De Haske
Cost: Score and Parts - €290.00   |   Score - Unknown


Full Score
Piccolo I-II (doubling Flute III-IV)
Flute I-II
Oboes I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone I-II
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
B-flat Cornet I-II
Trombone I-II-III
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

(percussion breakdown needed)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Extreme Beethovenis based on a similar concept as its illustrious predecessor, Extreme Makeover. A well-known classical theme is first presented in its original form, and then subtle and surprising shifts start to creep in. Various other Beethovenian motifs also make their appearance.

Starting with the opening theme (from the second movement of his Piano Concerto No. 5, the Emperor Concerto), Beethoven’s vast treasure trove of wondrous themes and motifs are put to good use. Melodies are quoted, enlarged, condensed, repeated in minimalist patterns, counterpointed, or placed in an entirely different context.

It is as if listeners can cast a glance into the genius brain of the master. Inside, a multitude of ideas and motifs tumble over each other. Some are dreamlike and exquisite, others nightmarish, frightening, and obstinately repetitive. The nine symphonies provide the majority of the material for Extreme Beethoven, but themes from the Egmont Overture, theMoonlight Sonata, Für Elise, and theTurkish March have also been woven into the patchwork of quotations and references.

Halfway through the piece, a small ensemble creates some indispensible musical confusion, worthy of Charles Ives – two groups playing on top of each other. A quotation from the Finale of Egmont morphs into a jazzy ostinato bass line until the pile-up of eight notes forms a bizarre cluster. What amounts to an ‘Egmont groove’ fits amazingly well underneath various other quotations. That brings us to the finale, where the Emperor theme resumes, played by the entire orchestra.

Undoubtedly, purists and musicologists will scratch their heads on hearing this music. Please understand that the piece springs from intense admiration and respect for one of the greatest composers of all times. Above all, Extreme Beethoven is an ode to the greatness of Ludwig van Beethoven.

- Program Note by Johan de Meij

Commercial Discography

State Ratings

The piece is a required work for the World Music Concours 2013 for the First Division.


Works for Winds by This Composer