Beethovens French Piano

Date and location

June 26, 2023
8:00 PM
Cinema Lumière Mechelen

Premiere: A Farewell to Paris: The Story of Beethoven and His French Piano

EventJune 26, 2023

In August 1803, when progressive Europe still harbored enthusiasm for Napoleon Bonaparte and for all things French, Beethoven ordered a “harpsichord-shaped piano” from Erard Frères in Paris. How did the French instrument affect Beethoven as a pianist-composer? A replica of Beethoven’s Erard piano, built for the first time as part of an artistic research project at Belgium’s Orpheus Institute, suggests some answers.

Info Tickets Watch the trailer

The film follows pianist-scholar Tom Beghin, who steps into a fascinating world of sound and craftsmanship in the wake of Beethoven, exploring the possibilities of a brand new instrument based on Beethoven's Waldstein sonata. With a sense of detail - aurally as well as visually - the film shows a surprisingly French side to the famous Viennese composer. But enthusiasm turned to frustration when Beethoven had the instrument converted to Viennese standards. A piano lost its individuality and a Parisian dream came to an end.

The premiere of this film will be introduced by researcher and pianist Tom Beghin. In his book "Beethoven's French piano," he writes about the French piano Beethoven received from the Érard brothers. The research into this period in Beethoven's life evolved into a whole project, which Tom is happy to come and tell more about. Inneke Plasschaert will accompany the talk.

Tickets can be bought here.