№5 из музыки Die Weihe des Hauses, Hess 118.
Время создания: сентябрь 1822 года.
Автор текста: Carl Meisl
Berliner Philharmoniker, Claudio Abbado
Only on a few works did Beethoven note down the history of their composition as detailed as on the overture op. 124 for the "Consecration of the House". On the lower margin of the first page of the manuscript, the composer wrote "Overture written by L. v. Beethoven for the inauguration of the "Josephstädter Theatre" at the end of September 1822 - performed on October 3rd, 1822." The copy for the choir of the play with the same title, WoO 98, bears a similar note. The composition was intended for the reopening of the "Josephstädter Theatre", scheduled for October 3rd, 1822, the Emperor's saint's day, by the new tenant, director Karl Friedrich Hensler (1759-1825) after a one year long reconstruction. For the celebration, Carl Meisl wrote the play "The Consecration of the House" and Beethoven was asked to set the play to music. From his summer resort Baden (Vienna) Beethoven told publisher Carl Friedrich Peters in a letter dated September 13th, 1822: "Shortly after my arrival, I make the acquaintance of a theatre director who is building a theatre in Vienna and intends to use one of my works for the inauguration ceremony, so that I will now have to compose a few new pieces." (Quote taken from BGA 1496). To reduce his workload, Beethoven decided to mainly adapt the music for the play "The Ruins of Athens", op. 113, which he had also composed for the inauguration of a theatre in Pest in 1811. At the end of September, the composer told his brother Johann: "In the meantime, I have already written a new choir piece with dances and solo songs [WoO 98]. My health permitting, I will also compose an overture." (Quote from BGA 1497). Although the model op. 113 included an overture, Beethoven thought a new overture was indispensable. He could not use the old one as the piece was performed after the theatre's inauguration in Hungary but should now be played when opening the theatre (BGA 1505).
Despite the recycled music - apart from the new overture op. 124, the new choir piece WoO 98 and the adapted march with choir op. 114 (formerly op. 113, No. 6) six more numbers of opus 113 with new texts were probably performed - the reviewer of Lepizig's general musical newspaper enjoyed the work and the celebration: "Theatre opened in Josephstadt. This reconstructed music temple is more spacious than before, very pleasantly decorated by the ablest hands and the society unites quite bright and practical members. The prologue is titled "The consecration of the house", written by Meisl and set to music by L. v. Beethoven - namely the same music he composed for the opening of the theatre in Pest some years ago but enriched with a new overture and a choir dance. The master himself conducted but as one cannot trust his still weakened hearing, bandmaster Gläser stood behind him to put the author's will across to the reorganised orchestra. This double, sometimes differing way of conducting not seldom led to a rather strange performance. Nevertheless, everything succeeded, except for the choirs which produced some dissonances. The composer was warmly welcome, called at the end and celebrated with applause and praise." (Quote from AmZ 24, 4.12.1822, Sp. 794f). The new overture op. 124 was highly appreciated and often performed in the following years. After negotiations conducted by Ferdinand Ries in London, the London Philharmonic Society acquired the exclusive rights to the unpublished overtures for a period of 18 months in January 1823 and performed it on April 21st, 1823, under the direction of George Smart on its fifth concert. Beethoven presented the overture in his great concerts in May 1824 together with his Ninth Symphony and parts of the Missa solemnis. Critics unanimously named it one of Beethoven's best works. In August 1824 op. 124 was performed during the opening of the "Königstädter Theatre" in Berlin as a festive symphony and in December of the same year as part of the annual charity concert at the Vienna hall "Redoutensaal".