“Once you’ve heard Sterkel, you can understand Beethoven’s early works better,” says Werner Ehrhardt, who, with the orchestra l’arte del mondo, is focusing on rediscovered treasures from the period around 1800.

Johann Sterkel is a composer who is certainly worth (re)discovering. Ehrhardt describes his music as “cheerful, refreshing and bursting with energy”. A native of Würzburg, Sterkel spent three years in Italy and on his return was able to translate into music the many new impressions he had gained there in his capacity as court musician to the prince-bishops of Mainz and Aschaffenburg. This explains the typically Italian sound of his work – a sound not commonly heard outside of the major music centres such as Dresden or Munich. Sterkel was well known during his lifetime: the young Beethoven travelled to Aschaffenburg to meet his fellow-composer, who, like himself, was also a highly talented pianist. Carl Maria von Weber is also said to have admired Sterkel and visited him. Sterkel’s “musical fire”, to quote conductor Werner Ehrhardt, spread to Beethoven, whose Symphony No. 1, first performed in Vienna in 1800, already displays some of the barely harnessed energy which would soon open up totally new musical possibilities.

Werner Ehrhardt, conductor
Johann Franz Xaver Sterkel: Overture in C major
Johann Franz Xaver Sterkel: Symphony in D major
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21

< Back
Start > Projects > Discoveries