Jenny Daviet Soprano
Judith Thielsen Mezzo soprano
Edgaras Montvidas Tenor
William Thomas Bass
Ensemble Aedes et Chœur Régional des Hauts-de-France
Mathieu Romano Choirmaster
François-Xavier Roth Musical conductor
2020 is the year of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth in Bonn in 1770, making him the exact contemporary of the Royal Opera of Versailles! If a composer was the embodiment of the musical revolution that took place at the turn of the 19th century, and the passage from classicism to romanticism, it would undoubtedly be Beethoven who reached maturity in 1800. Beethoven, heir to Haydn, Mozart and Gluck is both the last prodigy of classicism and the composer who opened the way to new freedom in music. His staunch independence led him on an atypical path, influenced by the progressive ideas of the French Revolution and Bonaparte’s epic, before rejecting all despotism and devoting himself to the exaltation of the sublime, as expressed in his Symphony No. 9. A pivotal musician, cruelly struck by deafness at the age of thirty, he leaves a work of unimaginable power, a true song of the human soul, and one that is universally recognised.
The cycle of nine symphonies, a supreme achievement
The composition of the cycle of 9 symphonies took place during Beethoven’s mature years, from 1800 to 1813, before the ultimate masterpiece, the 9th Symphony, a decade later in 1824. The Viennese symphony had been internationally acclaimed since the 1770s. Haydn first, then Mozart composed scores and many of them were very successful in Vienna as all around Europe. From 1785, these works reached new proportions, requiring larger and larger orchestras. Haydn had brought the classical Viennese symphony to an apogee, but Beethoven changed the story by making each symphony an individual creation, with a distinct narrative and dynamic character, dazzling flashes of new music, extraordinary virtuosity testing the limits of interpreters’ capacities, and an unimaginably powerful rhetoric. Modern symphony was born. In the Eroica (1804), Beethoven wrote a programme composition, notably the beautiful Funeral March. The Fifth Symphony resonates as an avant-garde statement, sweeping aside everything in its passage with its irrepressible virtuosity and triumphant tones. The Pastoral (No 6) beautifully describes the impressions inspired by nature, taking us within the composer’s inner passions and turbulences. Finally, the Ninth Symphony, magnificently supersedes all existing forms and combines the Beethovenian symphony with the evocative power of choral oratorio, to reach a universal zenith with the Ode to Joy. The genius’s successors remained petrified by the breadth of the symphony cycle which imposed German music on concert hall programmes for two centuries. The number nine became for many an insurmountable figure and Schubert, Mahler or Bruckner’s nine symphonies find their origin in Beethoven’s exceptional cycle, the first perfect culmination of the notion of symphony orchestra and the incarnation of a composer in a musical form where he can express all his creative power. Hearing the entire cycle of Beethoven’s symphony over four concerts is one of the greatest musical experiences for any music lover, who witnesses the unfolding of a new musical world by a revolutionary genius.
François-Xavier Roth takes up the challenge of giving the nine symphonies on period instruments as Beethoven could have heard them: not only with the required numbers of musicians, but also with the instruments, colours and dynamics born from French Revolution music (among others), which gave new scope to Beethoven’s orchestration, also revolutionary. The elite musicians of the Les Siècles orchestra, guided by the experience acquired by François-Xavier Roth at the head of the best contemporary orchestras, in Germany specially, give this integral cycle of symphonies an exceptional dimension, on par with Beethoven’s monumental creative genius.
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)
Symphony No. 1 in C major
Symphony No. 4 in B flat major
Symphony No. 6 in F Major "Pastoral"
Integral of the Symphonies → more information.
Mécénat Musical Société Générale is the orchestra’s principal patron.
Since 2010, the ensemble has been supported by the Ministry of culture and communication and the DRAC Hauts-de-France for a residence in Hauts-de-France.
It is supported since 2011 by the Departmental council of Aisne to reinforce its artistic and pedagogic presence in the region, notably at the Cité de la Musique of Soissons. The orchestra has been supported since 2018 by the Region Hauts-de-France for its functioning. The orchestra is also active in Nanterre, thanks to the city's support. The orchestra is artist in residence at the Berlioz Festival at La Côte Saint-André and at the Théâtre-Sénart, associate artist at the Théâtre de Nîmes, at the Théâtre du Beauvaisis, national stage, and at the Festival Les Musicales de Normandie.
The orchestra is supported by the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, principal patron of the Jeune Orchestre Européen Hector Berlioz, by the association Echanges et Bibliothèques and occasionally by the Palazzetto Bru Zane – Centre for French romantic music, by SPEDIDAM, ADAMI, the French Institute, the Bureau Export, the SPPF and the FCM.
Les Siècles are administrative member of FEVIS and PROFEDIM, member of the Association Française des Orchestres and associate member of SPPF.
Royal OperaMore info
Royal Opera - Access map