Ludwig Where Are You ?


2010 | collaboration with Eddy Marien bell player of Mechelen’s Cathedral | 10 minutes | Multidisciplinary Performance

Tribute to the Belgian ancestors of Ludwig van Beethoven.

Soundtrack composed by Porsperger : Moonlight Beethoven’s Sonata synthesized added on a synthetic voice that tells the Beethoven’s history in Belgium.

Wearing a long blue dress (remembering the unsuccessful love stories of Beethoven), Porsperger mimes the story told by the voice, makes drawings on walls, adds gestures, presents a poster of the grand father of Beethoven. Then, accompanied by a bells player (playing inside the tower), he sings two arias of Beethoven. His last apparition is from the window of the tower, conducting the famous Ode to Joy played loudly by the bells.

For centuries, the Beethoven’s family was living in Flanders, here is their secret story.

Hello, we are here to celebrate the « van Beethoven family » who comes from Flanders ! Yes, it’s true ! The van Beethoven’s family is from Belgium ! This is the story of the Beethoven’s family in Belgium, Flanders.

– 500 years ago, Jan van Beethoven lived in Kampenhout. His son, Aert van Beethoven was a farmer. He was born in 1535. That’s the first official date of the presence of Beethoven’s family in Belgium. In Kampenhout, there are a lot of Beethoven’s touristic souvenirs : you will find a Beethoven ‘s Street, in the former presbytery you will find a statue of Ludwig the composer and, wonderful, you can make the touristic walk « Aert van Beethoven wandelpad » in the countryside of Kampenhout.

– Cornelius van Beethoven, the great-great grand father of our Ludwig, has lived in Mechelen in the street called « Steenweg ». He was carpenter.

– Michel van Beethoven, his son, was baker, than began to sell paintings and after earned a lot of money in lace business. The family lived in many places in Mechelen. First in Steenweg, after, when they became very rich they possessed four houses in Jodenstraat. By the time, full of loans and debts, they were forced to move in Leermarkt and after in Kannunik De Deckerstraat.

– 1741 is an important date for Mechelen and Belgian. Full of debts, Michel and his wife Maria Louisa, escaped definitively from Belgium to Germany, in Bonn were their two sons were already living. They were the last ancestors of the composer living in Belgium (1741).

– But Michel, had a son, and this son will be the grand father of our Ludwig. He is also called Ludwig. For a short time, he was very close to Ludwig, his little son and remains always very important for him, his Belgian grand father. Ludwig the grand father was born in Mechelen where he studied Music. The grand father was becoming a musician, since the age of 6, in St Rombouts Cathedral. He showed very quickly an unusual and great talent in music. At the age of twenty, after a terrible fight with his father, he decided to move to Leuven, than to Liege where he was opera singer. After, he became Kappelmeister in Germany, in Bonn. So was in charge off all musical activity off the city. Our Ludwig, the composer, has always kept this portrait very close of him. His Belgian grandfather was his personal hero ! In Bonn, in Vienna, he has followed Ludwig everywhere. Let’s celebrate him ! I would like to ask you to come to put your candles here, near of the portrait. Yes, you, people, Thank you. Come, please. Thank you.

– So we can be happy and proud as Belgian to have a little bit contributed to the musical environment of Ludwig, his little son, one of the biggest composer of the world.

– In Mechelen, there is one street called « van Beethovenstraat ». You can find this van Beethovenstraat near of the new Novotel. The house has been destroyed but you can see from the street on the window of the Novotel Hostel a wonderful commemorative statue of Ludwig. Bring him a candle, a flower…

For memory. Thank you.

Mechelen (Be) | Exhibition Who’s afraid of the Museum, Museum Hof van Busleyden curated by TRANSIT Gallery | 2010

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