I established contact with Jonathan James, while he was still planning his accompanying talk on Beethoven’s visionary quartets. I invited him to our initial workshop with the Quartet and involved him in the development process. This enabled us to consider the narrative behind and within the music, and to think through appropriate ways for the visual elements to reinforce it. Jonathan was invaluable in helping us to experiment with the lighting states, as a means of reflecting the different moods within this narrative.
Opus 132 can be seen as offering an allegory for ill health and the battle for recovery, reflecting what was happening to Beethoven at the time of writing it. With the long third movement reflecting his realisation that he was getting better and his praise to God for his recovery, we wanted to allow the audience to focus in on the music with minimal distraction from the visuals. One of our strategies to help achieve this was to experiment with bringing the lighting down at this point in the music to create an intimate ‘candle-lit’ ambience. This I feel was a very effective approach to be taking.