Ludwig van Beethoven Transcribed for Concert Organ Solo by Thomas Heywood
Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21
The 1997 Schoenstein Organ First-Plymouth Congregational Church Lincoln • Nebraska • USA
Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21 has been recorded on the 1997 Schoenstein Organ in the First-Plymouth Congregational Church in Lincoln, Nebraska, one of the most versatile orchestral-symphonic instruments in the United States.
Celebrating the 250th Anniversary of Beethoven’s birth in 2020, and the 200th Anniversary of Beethoven’s death in 2027, Thomas Heywood is becoming the first solo artist in history to transcribe, record and perform the nine Beethoven symphonies.
Heywood’s transcriptions for concert organ solo open new opportunities for the performance, enjoyment and interpretation of these 'cornerstones of Western civilisation'.
Before Heywood’s transcriptions, the solo performance of the complete Beethoven symphonies had only been possible on the piano, including Franz Liszt’s transcriptions for solo piano considered amongst the most technically demanding piano music ever written and, in the words of Vladimir Horowitz: 'the greatest works for the piano'.
Whereas Liszt, in his solo piano transcriptions, noted the names of the orchestral instruments for pianists to ‘imitate’, organists control an instrument that can be used to accurately convey Beethoven’s orchestral intentions and, together with the pipe organ’s greater range of sonority and expressive power, the result is – after Beethoven’s original – the ultimate experience in musical expression.
Recorded in video and audio on landmark organs around the world, specially chosen for their intrinsic suitability for each symphony, the cycle will be available progressively from 2020 to 2027 with regular releases until the completion of the project.
The published scores of Heywood’s transcriptions will be released together with the recordings.
Beethoven himself famously stated in 1825: 'I place an organist who is master of his instrument, first among virtuosi.'