“An evening with Ludwig” Beethoven’s favorite dishes at the Drachenfels

Siebengebirge · The Moonlight Sonata and Ludwig van Beethoven's favorite dishes served up on the Drachenfels plateau: Christiane Klimt-Nolden and her husband Hermann-Joseph Nolden are hosting "An Evening with Ludwig" at the Drachenfels summit, a make-up for an event series cancelled due to Covid. Visitors are in for a special treat.

"An Evening with Ludwig" is now taking place for the first time on the Drachenfels in Königswinter. The event was originally planned for 2020 - the year that marked the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth.

"An Evening with Ludwig" is now taking place for the first time on the Drachenfels in Königswinter. The event was originally planned for 2020 - the year that marked the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth.

Foto: Frank Homann

The evening can be seen as a kind of birthday present - belatedly, but from the heart, so to speak. Because in 2020, the year that marked the 250th anniversary of the composer's birth, Covid restrictions put an end to a planned celebration at the summit of the Siebengebirge. It was to include his music at the piano and Beethoven's favorite dishes. "My husband and I have always dreamed of performing the Moonlight Sonata in the glass cube on Drachenfels. This dream is now coming true," reports Christiane Klimt-Nolden in an interview with the General-Anzeiger.

The actress and doctor, who studied medicine in Frankfurt after studying singing, dancing and acting in Berlin, has something to say about both items on the program of this special symphony of the senses: "Among other things, we will be eating van Beethoven's favorite dishes, including bread soup and macaroni," says Klimt-Nolden. "We know exactly what his culinary preferences were, as the composer wrote things in conversation books in order to communicate because of his increasing deafness.”

The dishes, which at first glance sound quite simple, are prepared by the two star chefs Martin Tetzner and Philipp Bahle. Even his favorite dishes reveal a lot about Ludwig van Beethoven's personality, says Christiane Klimt-Nolden, who played a leading role in the German TV network RTL daily soap "Alles was zählt" from 2006 to 2008 and now works as a doctor in a psychosomatic clinic. "Beethoven ate a relatively healthy, low-fat diet, including lots of fresh salad and fish, which wasn't so easy back then without a fridge.”

"An Evening with Ludwig" begins with an impressive but relaxing experience: the Drachenfels funicular railway takes the audience up to the summit of the Siebengebirge. Once there, the Bad Honnef concert pianist Thomas Solzbacher serves up six piano sonatas and two bagatelles from the musical genius on a grand piano. Klimt-Nolden tells anecdotes from Beethoven's life. "I find him incredibly interesting as a person," she reports.

Many people think they know a lot about the composer but she spent a long, long time researching him in order to capture as many facets of him as possible. "I think he was very chaotic and certainly not easy at home." However, he was far from hot-tempered - he was sometimes "simply scatterbrained", says Klimt-Nolden. "He wasn't always a nice guy, but nice is boring," says the actress. He was also known to be very particular. For example, he always had to add at least one fresh egg to the bread soup he loved so much. "Before he ate this soup, he would hold the egg up to the light to check it himself, otherwise it wouldn't go in.”

"An Evening with Ludwig" provides concrete evidence of how closely "genius and madness" are related," says Klimt-Nolden. "Beethoven was a smart businessman, he knew how to sell himself." In contrast to many of the great names in his profession at the time, the Rhinelander, who lived in Vienna, did not die impoverished. "He seems like he was very structured to me.”

The tragic aspect of his life, however, is that the composer, who was blessed with perfect pitch, lost his hearing in old age. "That really touched me during the research: he wrote great works such as the Ninth Symphony with 'Freude schöner Götterfunken' while completely deaf - what an achievement." The composition, which is now the European anthem, is a praise to creation, "although the creator was not exactly squeamish about it," reports the actress and doctor. Ultimately, art helped him not to lose his mind along with his hearing.

More performances are planned starting in fall

After the premiere of "An Evening with Ludwig" on Sunday, March 17, more performances of the musical and culinary experience about Bonn's greatest son are planned, as well as the one-person play "Lola Blau" by Georg Kreisler - but not necessarily during the already packed spring and summer season.

"Our arts season here at Drachenfels runs from October through March." An exception to this is the open-air theater on the steps in front of the glass cube, which was held last year and is planned again for this summer. What’s for sure is that there should definitely be a date for "An Evening with Ludwig" when the moonlight sonata actually takes place under the glow of the bright full moon. According to the lunar calendar, the Earth's satellite will not contribute its full moonlight to the premiere evening.

Orig. text: Mario Quadt

Übersetzung: ck

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