2020 Vision

Stop us if we've said this before, but our century is already two decades old, and it’s not getting any younger. Beethoven never looked backwards, and as the musical world celebrates his 250th birthday, we’ve been letting his voice interact with the sounds of the 21st century. Just as the defining masterpieces of Beethoven and his contemporaries punctuated the first two decades of the 19th century, we’ve chosen pieces that represent the 21st – each one separated by exactly two centuries from Beethoven. We call it 2020 Vision, and the results, so far, have been revelatory.

So a piece from 1811 encounters a piece from 2011 as Beethoven meets Nielsen and Julian Anderson. Schubert’s symphonies take up where Beethoven leaves off, and find themselves in conversation with music by Penderecki, Magnus Lindberg and Jonathan Dove. Between them comes the generation of 1900–1920: the composers of the fin de siècle who witnessed a century remade in war.

2020 Vision offers a fresh perspective on familiar classics, alongside music we should never have forgotten and the pieces that everyone today needs to hear. Let’s hear what they have to say to one another – and to us.

Concerts will be available to watch for free on Marquee TV for 7 days following the dates shown below.

2011: Storming the heavens | 14 October 2020

John Storgårds conducts Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, Simone Lamsma plays Nielsen’s Violin Concerto, and Julian Anderson plunges into the luminous, swirling imagination of Vincent van Gogh in his extraordinary Van Gogh Blue.

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2012: Tears and laughter | 21 October 2020

Karina Canellakis conducts Beethoven’s firecracker of an Eighth Symphony – a work that cheerfully booted the Classical rule-book out of the window. Plus Richard Strauss's outrageous orchestral makeover of Le bourgeois gentilhomme.

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2013: Poems old and new | 28 October 2020

In 1913, Sibelius and Ravel conjured rare and ravishing visions for a troubled age: a trio of delicate songs, and a timeless prophecy from Finnish myth. Hear these alongside the UK premiere of Magnus Lindberg’s Cello Concerto No 2 and Franz Schubert’s irrepressible First Symphony.

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2014: Memory and renewal | 4 November 2020

Thierry Fischer conducts the teenage Schubert’s delightful Second Symphony from 1814. Jump to 1914 and Max Reger is inspired by Mozart and in 2014 Thomas Larcher finds a myth of renewal in the Alpine forests.

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2015: The midnight sun | 25 November 2020

Tonight's adventure begins in 1815 with Schubert’s playful Third Symphony and ends in 2015 with both a punchy concertino for trumpet by Polish master Krzysztof Penderecki, and the London premiere of Lotta Wennäkoski’s Verdigris. Sibelius’s beautiful, evocative Symphony No. 5 completes the programme.

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2016: Bach to the future | 2 December 2020

Thomas Søndergård conducts Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1, and Schubert’s irresistibly witty Symphony No. 5 before violinist Pekka Kuusisto astounds with the extraordinary Bach Materia, written specially for him by Anders Hillborg.

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2017: Gavrylyuk plays Prokofiev | 5 December 2020

Thomas Søndergård conducts pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk in Prokofiev’s ferocious Third Piano Concerto, paired with Schubert’s ebullient Sixth Symphony and Ravel’s poignant homage to fallen friends: Le tombeau de Couperin.

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2018: Jurowski conducts Enescu | 9 December 2020

George Enescu was the kind of artist who made the whole world seem to burn brighter. Jurowski inspiringly pairs two extraordinary miniature Enescu masterpieces with Elena-Kats-Chernin’s Bach-inspired Third Piano Concerto, performed by Tamara-Anna Cislowska.

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2019: All the world’s a stage | 16 December 2020

Phenomenal accordionist James Crabb performs in the world premiere of Brett Dean’s The Players, in a concert opening with Bach’s ‘Brandenburg’ Concerto No. 5, and ending with Stravinsky’s irreverent mock-Baroque extravaganza, Pulcinella.

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2020: Interrupted stories | 30 December 2020

In 1720, Vivaldi composes a dazzling overture for a carnival. In 1820, Louis Spohr salutes his hero Beethoven in a symphony that pulses with drama. In 1920, Arthur Honegger watches sunrise over the Swiss Alps, and Arthur Bliss throws a riotous cocktail party. We end 2020 with James MacMillan's musical tale of hope shattered and restored.

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