Beethoven wrote this Overture in 1822, for the opening of a new theatre in Vienna, on a day which was also the Emperor's 'name-day'.
The name by which it is generally known is Die Weihe des Hauses (The Consecration of the House). The biographer, Schindler, told how Beethoven, while roaming with friends in the woods, walked apart for a while, and then showed them two themes for the Overture, that he had jotted down in his sketch-book, saying that one might effectively be worked in his own style, and one in that of Handel. Schindler advised him to choose the latter.
Of course, the Overture is true Beethoven, not just an imitation of Handel, of whose style we get no more than a pleasant flavour.
Scene: Andrew Kemp's studio in Chelsea at ten o'clock on a winter's night. The curtains are drawn over the huge windows, a fire flickers in the hearth, and several canvases, completed and uncompleted, are half seen in the obscurity. A lay figure, draped in dust-sheets, stands in the dimmest corner of this forbidding apartment.
Before half-past ten, three persons in the room are facing death - a death in thirty seconds.
"Thirty seconds to wait, just thirty seconds!"
Andrew Kemp (an artist):
Elsa White (a journalist):
Meek (Kemp's manservant):
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