Ludwig van Beethoven Transcribed for Concert Organ Solo by Thomas Heywood
Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67
The 1996 Casavant Organ Broadway Baptist Church Fort Worth • Texas • USA
Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 has been recorded on the largest pipe organ in Texas. Built in 1996, with over 10,600 pipes and 191 ranks, it is also themagnum opusof the Casavant organ building firm. This huge instrument is housed in the Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth and is named in honour of the mother of Van Cliburn, the legendary concert pianist.
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.'