Beethoven’s Immortal Beloved

Friday March 22, 2013 – 7:30 p.m. at the Almonte United Church Social Hall

Speaker: James Wright

Topic: Beethoven’s Immortal Beloved

Here is the information about the coming lecture “Beethoven’s Immortal Beloved” by Professor James Wright. He will be performing a song he wrote about these letters of Beethoven. This song series was performed recently by Julie Nesrallah.


As Beethoven lay in his bed in waning health on July 6 and 7, 1812, the great composer authored three passionate love letters to a woman he addressed as “meine unsterbliche Geliebte” (“my immortal beloved”), but whose identity has never been clearly established. Virtually all of Beethoven’s closest female friends and acquaintances have been proposed as “immortal beloved” candidates, including the Countess Giulietta Guicciardi (to whom the “Moonlight Sonata” is dedicated), the Countess Thérèse von Brunswick (Giulietta’s cousin), Antonie Brentano (dedicatee of the Diabelli Variations) and her sister Bettina, Magdalene Willmann, Thérèse Malfatti (to whom “Für Elise” is dedicated), Amalie Sebald, Marie Erdödy, Dorothea Ertmann, Almerie Esterházy, and the Countess Josephine von Brunswick (Giulietta Guicciardi’s cousin and Thérèse von Brunswick’s younger sister). A source of speculation and fascination to musicologists for more than two centuries, Beethoven’s mysterious “Immortal Beloved” letters shed light on his personal relationships when he was at the height of his creative powers, and serve as a rich source of insight into who Beethoven was as a man.

Speaker’s Profile:

James Wright is an Associate Professor of Music and Supervisor of Performance Studies at Carleton University. A Governor-General’s Gold Medal winner with a Ph.D. from McGill University, his scholarly contributions include two books on the life and work of Arnold Schoenberg. In addition to Schoenberg studies, Dr. Wright’s research interests encompass music philosophy and aesthetics, performance studies, music perception, post-tonal theory and analysis, twentieth-century music history, Glenn Gould Canadian film music, music and ludology, and the history of music theory. He is also known as a composer of vocal and choral music whose published works have been performed and recorded by choirs throughout North America

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