Skip to comments.Beethoven's Intimate Creations
Posted on 06/05/2010 8:01:56 PM PDT by starczar66
...Beethoven's life was as complex and outsize as his arta roller-coaster ride of willful strife, earthy humor, crushing loneliness, explosive rage and spiritual triumph. Similarly, his music "takes at times the majestic flight of an eagle, and then creeps in rocky pathways," as an 1810 review in the Parisian Tablettes de Polymnie reported. "He first fills the soul with sweet melancholy, and then shatters it by a mass of barbarous chords. He seems to harbor together doves and crocodiles."
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
What a fantastic article.
Thank you for posting this article. It willfully adds yet another layer of enjoyment for Beethoven’s music. Bravo!
I really enjoyed that. Thanks.
Berlioz died in 1869 so that must have been a bust that was moaning.
Classical Music ping
By the time I hit 50, Bach became my number one and Ludwig moved down one notch. At this point in my life I have abandoned his symphonies (except that I do listen occasionally to the first, eighth and ninth) but continue to listen to his sonatas and quartets. AFAIC, still the best.
Thanks for the ping...excellent article.
I LOVE Beethoven’s Piano Music. Even the Little Bagatelles and Sonatinas have the most marvelous chord voicings and changes! They are wonderful, and have never been “improved upon”.
I've hated it ever since, LOL.
But I'm actually posting to say that the full article linked to this thread is a brilliant piece of writing. What a delight to read the occasional piece of good journalism or review in this day of lazy, inaccurate and mundane writing for public consumption.
Most people take up Mozart as they get older and wise. The Beethoven symphonies are still great in a good performance. The 3rd (Eroica) might be the best of all time.
But as a music teacher of mine in college said, Mozart was primarily a composer of opera, and even his symphonies sound as if there should be words attached to the themes.
If I were on a desert island and had to choose the complete works of three composers to take along, it would be Bach, Beethoven and Chopin. If I could bring five, I would add Haydn (his choral music, IMO, is brilliant) and Schubert.
Who would be the 3 or 5 you would bring along?
He was called "the Unlicked Bear" . . . !
Excellent article. Thanks for posting it.
EggsAckley, Master of Arts, Beethoven’s Five ‘Cello Sonatas,
San Jose State University
Had Mozart lived a normal lifespan, Beethoven would have struggled harder to be heard. There would have been Mozart afficianados and Beethoven afficianados among the musical cognascenti in Vienna, endlessly debating their merits just as the afficianados of various opera singers of the era endlessly debated the merits of their favorites. The two composers had a fondness for the bottle, so they may have ended up as friends.
I say this because I never tire of his Requiem, a piece that I believe is one of the top compositions of all time.
The Kyrie is where Mozart located his fugue, and a monumental fugue it is. Mozart puts on his size 15 boots here. No other composer of requiems after Mozart ever set the Kyrie as a fugue again.
But Mozart does something at the end of the Kyrie that is astonishing. He uses an open D chord -- D-A-D -- to end it. He leaves out the F to make it a definite D minor chord. Sometimes a composer will do this to create tonal ambiguity, but there is absolutely no ambiguity here. Another use of the open fifth is to create the sense of spaciousness, usually the sense of spaciousness above. Here Mozart uses that open fifth D chord to create the sense of spaciousness below. For the length of that whole note with fermata, Mozart gives the listener a view of the abyss. I still can't figure out how he did it.
But it's the scherzo that is a step ahead of the competition. He uses that ostinato B-A figure throughout the scherzo proper and the trio as a unifying motif, anticipating John Williams' "Jaws" motif with a different time signature. It's the most radical thing Beethoven had written up to that point.
Opus 69, the middle period sonata, is my favorite. But all five are marvelous. To me, they create a perfect glimpse into B’s First, Second, and Late period pieces. His growth as a composer can be easily traced through the five sonatas.
One would be Mozart. For a few reasons. The breadth of his catalog, the number of compositions, and the quality (in no particular order). The second movement of his 20th piano concerto is just about my favorite piece of classical music.
Beethoven would have to be included
The last spot in my trio would be awfully hard to fill. Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Bach. . . . yikes, so hard to choose. Mozart and Beethoven would be easy choices because there is so much to listen to that it would be a long time before you had to listen to a piece over again. I might choose Borodin for the third, but he just didn’t write enough.
So, Mozart for his beauty, Beethoven for his emotion, the third, I’d really have to think about it.
So you prefer Haydn to Mozart? The latter was primarily a vocal composer and his instrumental music shows it. His music is also wonderully moody and completely lacking in artifice. I don’t see how any future stuff would have ‘blown away’ his best works. They cannot be improved upon.
Thanks for that...great description.
Thirty-seven years since my last music history class. Guess I don’t remember much. :-(
I listen to talk radio at home, but when in Spain I keep it tuned to Radio Espana (Classics). Not knowing the language perfect fully doesn’t matter when they are playing that quality of music.
Wonderful driving through the mountains listening to the classics at full volume.
Well...ya got me. Overall...no. But I do love Papa’s choral music. Mozart was a genius; Haydn was a craftsman. But, taste is still hard to argue. If I were an opera fan, I’m sure Mozart would be Nummer Eins...
Haydn was also a genius and a tremendous innovator.
In other words, who were the ones responsible for moving from Bach and Handel to Haydn and Mozart?
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