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Beethoven's Intimate Creations
Wall Street Journal ^ | 6/5/10 | STUART ISACOFF

Posted on 06/05/2010 8:01:56 PM PDT by starczar66

...Beethoven's life was as complex and outsize as his art—a 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 ...


TOPICS: Arts/Photography; Chit/Chat; History; Music/Entertainment
KEYWORDS: beethoven; bloggersandpersonal; chat; classicalmusic; energy; music

1 posted on 06/05/2010 8:01:56 PM PDT by starczar66
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To: starczar66

2 posted on 06/05/2010 8:03:37 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: starczar66

What a fantastic article.


3 posted on 06/05/2010 8:13:10 PM PDT by SoCalPol (Reagan Republican for Palin 2012)
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To: Borges; sitetest

ping


4 posted on 06/05/2010 8:16:27 PM PDT by EveningStar (Karl Marx is not one of our Founding Fathers.)
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To: starczar66
"His piano sonatas were embraced by the next generations of musicians with a nearly sacred sense of adoration. One story is illustrative: On an evening in 1886, a small group of musical friends gathered in the salon of writer Ernest Legouvé. Franz Liszt seated himself at the piano when the room, which had been lit by a single candle, was suddenly plunged into darkness. "Whether by chance or by some unconscious influence," remembered Legouvé, Liszt "began the funereal and heart-rending adagio of [Beethoven's] Sonata in C# minor [the 'Moonlight']. The rest of us remained rooted to the spot where we happened to be, no one attempting to move. . . . I had dropped into an armchair, and above my head heard stifled sobs and moans. It was Berlioz." What more need be said?"

Wow.

5 posted on 06/05/2010 8:26:10 PM PDT by ItsForTheChildren
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To: starczar66

Thank you for posting this article. It willfully adds yet another layer of enjoyment for Beethoven’s music. Bravo!


6 posted on 06/05/2010 8:28:49 PM PDT by ruralvoter
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To: starczar66
What more need be said?...Rachmaninov....
7 posted on 06/05/2010 9:15:45 PM PDT by Intolerant in NJ
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To: starczar66

I really enjoyed that. Thanks.


8 posted on 06/05/2010 9:29:37 PM PDT by conservativegranny
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To: ItsForTheChildren

Berlioz died in 1869 so that must have been a bust that was moaning.


9 posted on 06/05/2010 10:08:33 PM PDT by Borges
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To: .30Carbine; 1rudeboy; 2nd Bn, 11th Mar; 31R1O; ADemocratNoMore; afraidfortherepublic; Andyman; ...

Classical Music ping


10 posted on 06/05/2010 10:11:45 PM PDT by Borges
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To: Borges
Good catch. I think “1869” must be a typo. I did an internet search of the story and found the same account in material published by Cambridge University, and it said the date was 1837.

http://assets.cambridge.org/97805216/44624/excerpt/9780521644624_excerpt.pdf (page 7)

11 posted on 06/05/2010 11:02:16 PM PDT by starczar66
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To: Borges
I have been listening to Beethoven's music since I was 10 years old, when I asked my friend (the one across the street from me who took piano lessons) what he was playing and he answered "Für Elise." He eventually played the Moonlight, the Pathetique and the Appassionata. By thirteen I had his piano sonatas and symphonies on LP, and even a few of his middle period string quartets. By the time I was 20 I had all the quartets and much else of his chamber music.

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.

12 posted on 06/06/2010 5:55:43 AM PDT by Pharmboy (The Stone Age did not end because they ran out of stones...)
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To: starczar66

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”.


13 posted on 06/06/2010 6:47:06 AM PDT by left that other site (Your Mi'KMaq Paddy Whacky Bass Playing Biker Buddy)
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To: Pharmboy
"Fur Elise" was the first piece I was forced to learn when I took piano lessons as a young skull full of mush. I can still "ghost-tap" it out on my computer keyboard.

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.

Leni

14 posted on 06/06/2010 7:40:00 AM PDT by MinuteGal (Bill O'Reilly: 9/8/09: "Communism is not a threat to us anymore" - 10/20/09 "Obama is not a Marxist")
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To: Pharmboy

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.


15 posted on 06/06/2010 7:46:11 AM PDT by Borges
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To: Borges
I must admit, that although there are a few of Wolfie's symphonies that I love (yeah...the usual suspects) and some concerti are beautiful, I find his music too frilly (as Frederick said: "Too many notes"). With that being said, I wish he lived past his mid-thirties since I believe that what he might have written at age 45 would have blown his previous stuff away. I say this because I never tire of his Requiem, a piece that I believe is one of the top compositions 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?

16 posted on 06/06/2010 7:58:16 AM PDT by Pharmboy (The Stone Age did not end because they ran out of stones...)
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To: starczar66
He was in many ways a monster . . . !

He was called "the Unlicked Bear" . . . !

17 posted on 06/06/2010 8:24:42 AM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (Vatiftach ha'aretz 'et-piyha vativla` 'otam ve'et-bateyhem; ve'et kol-ha'adam 'asher leQorach . . .)
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To: starczar66

Excellent article. Thanks for posting it.

EggsAckley, Master of Arts, Beethoven’s Five ‘Cello Sonatas,
San Jose State University


18 posted on 06/06/2010 10:00:06 AM PDT by EggsAckley ( There's an Ethiopian in the fuel supply!)
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To: Pharmboy; Borges
...I wish he lived past his mid-thirties since I believe that what he might have written at age 45 would have blown his previous stuff away.

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.

19 posted on 06/06/2010 11:25:54 AM PDT by Publius (Unless the Constitution is followed, it is simply a piece of paper.)
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To: EggsAckley
The third cello sonata, Opus 69, has some amazing attributes. The first movement works in units of six bars, not the usual four-and-eight construction.

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.

20 posted on 06/06/2010 11:29:15 AM PDT by Publius (Unless the Constitution is followed, it is simply a piece of paper.)
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To: Publius

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.


21 posted on 06/06/2010 11:43:07 AM PDT by EggsAckley ( There's an Ethiopian in the fuel supply!)
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To: Pharmboy

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.


22 posted on 06/06/2010 2:35:20 PM PDT by Andyman (The truth shall make you FReep.)
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To: Pharmboy

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.


23 posted on 06/06/2010 3:00:50 PM PDT by Borges
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To: Publius

Thanks for that...great description.


24 posted on 06/06/2010 10:18:38 PM PDT by Pharmboy (The Stone Age did not end because they ran out of stones...)
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To: Borges

Thirty-seven years since my last music history class. Guess I don’t remember much. :-(


25 posted on 06/07/2010 10:30:32 AM PDT by ItsForTheChildren
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To: Pharmboy; All

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.


26 posted on 06/07/2010 10:34:35 AM PDT by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only donate monthly, but socialists' ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: Borges

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...


27 posted on 06/07/2010 3:17:45 PM PDT by Pharmboy (The Stone Age did not end because they ran out of stones...)
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To: Pharmboy

Haydn was also a genius and a tremendous innovator.


28 posted on 06/07/2010 3:33:04 PM PDT by Borges
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To: Borges
Well, I defer to you...I guess moving from Baroque to Viennese Classical took a bit of genius. Was he the key or were there others that you would tap?

In other words, who were the ones responsible for moving from Bach and Handel to Haydn and Mozart?

29 posted on 06/07/2010 3:43:52 PM PDT by Pharmboy (The Stone Age did not end because they ran out of stones...)
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