German composer and organist. Persuaded Beethoven’s father to allow him to teach the young composer.
Oldest son of Johann van Beethoven and Maria Magdelena Beethoven. His mother was very kind and demure. His father was very cold and tyrannical. Father was an organist and second rate tenor in the court chapel of the highborn prince max Friedrich. Father was a bad alcoholic. He was oppressive when drunk. He was relieved of his duties with the chapel due to his drunkenness. Young Beethoven took his fathers place as the replacement keyboard player and as a replacement singer for his father when his father was too drunk to do his job. In the end he replaced his father in the position at the age of 12. Beethoven’s father insisted upon being the young composer’s only teacher. Taught him clavier: piano, and violin. His father was a harsh teacher. Harsh punishments for not performing perfectly. His teaching abilities were not as good as other teachers. He had no patience for his son’s mistakes. Would beat him for not submitting. Would lock him in a cellar for not practicing enough. His father’s harshness coupled with his alcoholism caused helped to ruin the family life. Beethoven felt that it was up to him to save the family.
Beethoven and Patronage Beethoven manipulated the patronage system so that he could live more freely. Gave music lessons to wealthy families. Sold music to many publishers. Even when Napoleon was threatening the whole survival of continental Europeans, Beethoven had contacts with publishers in England who would continue to publish his music. Beethoven: Patronage Invited into the homes of the aristocracy. Treated as an equal to the aristocracy. Believed that one must be treated as an equal if music is to be produced.
As deafness sets in he returns to the piano sonata and the string quartet. Two genres he is most comfortable with.
“ Louis van Beethoven… a boy of 11 years and a most promising talent. He plays the clavier very skillfully and with power, reads at sight very well… This youthful genius is deserving of help to enable him to travel. He would surely become a second Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart were he to continue as he has begun.”
“ But as it has been demonstrated that only one when he is free from care as possible can devote himself to a single department of activity and create works of magnitude which are exalted and which ennoble art, the undersigned have decided to place Herr Ludwig van Beethoven in a position where the necessities of life shall not cause him embarrassment or clog his powerful genius.”
“ Though born with a fiery, active temperament I was soon to withdraw from society, to live a life alone. If at times I tried to forget all this, oh how harshly was I flung back by the doubly sad experience of my bad hearing. Yet it wasn’t possible for me to say to people, “Speak Louder, shout for I am deaf! Ah, how could I possibly admit to an infirmity in the one sense that ought to be more perfect in me than in others, a sense that I once possessed in the highest degree.”
“ How humiliated I have felt if somebody standing beside me heard the sound of a flute in the distance and I heard nothing...It is impossible for me to say to people, ‘Speak louder, for I am deaf.’ How would it be possible for me to admit to a weakness of the one sense that should be perfect to a higher degree in me than in theirs. So forgive me if you see me draw back from your company which I would so gladly share. I would have ended my life. It was only my art that held me back for it seemed impossible to leave the world until I have brought forth all that is within me.”
Man at some unexpected time in his life will sink to the depths of his existence, into the depths of chaos. It is only HE that can make the decision to turn the chaos into a triumphant victory. Rising out of the depths of human chaos is humanity’s primary task for survival.
“ I am resolved to rise superior to every obstacle. With whom need I be afraid of measuring my own strength? I will take Fate by the throat. It shall not overcome me. O how beautiful it is to be alive—would that I could live a thousand times.”
Wrote music that required improvement of the piano
For years, his compositions drew mixed reactions
Critics and journalists hassled him Intellect, Intellect, Intellect. Why must Herr Beethoven write such difficult and complex music? It sounds like cats fighting! Cannot he write a decent singable melody?
“ I carry my thoughts within me long, often very long before I write them down. As I know what I want, the fundamental idea never deserts me. It mounts, it grows in stature. I hear, I see the picture in its whole extent standing all of a piece before my spirit, and there remains for me only the task of writing it down.”
Easier to produce for Beethoven due to the fact that the hands did not have to move so far on the piano.
Music? “Not for you.. For a later time.
Beethoven is Power, the strangler of fate, who bowed neither to any man or to lesser gods. With men who do not believe in me I cannot and will not associate. - Beethoven His music reflects “the complete emancipation of human emotion and mind.” No composer was more committed to the struggle of mankind. Bach wrote for the Glory of God, Mozart because genius must out, (and because he had to eat), Beethoven to impose his will on the world. - All quotes from Goulding text
Symphony No. 5, 1 st Movement Coda Symphony No. 9, Ode to Joy Jacques-Louis David, Napoleon Crossing the Alps, 1800
Beethoven did not succumb to this, the gravest of a musician’s ills. Instead he composed the heroic and remarkably optimistic Third Symphony. It is today one of the best loved orchestral works ever written.
Ferdinand Ries recalls the piano contest with Stiebelt : Stiebelt again played a quintet with much success and in addition (and this was quite evident) had prepared a brilliant improvisation, choosing as the theme the subject of the variations of Beethoven's trio (Op.11). This outraged not only Beethoven's supporters but also the composer himself. He now had to seat himself at the piano in order to improvise. He went in his usual, I must say ungracious, manner to the instrument as if half lunging towards it, grabbing as he passed, the 'cello part of Stiebelt's quintet, placed it (intentionally?) upside down on the music stand and from the opening notes drummed out a theme with one finger. Offended and stimulated at the same time, he improvised in such a manner that Stiebelt left the room before Beethoven had finished. He refused ever to meet him again; in fact he made it a condition that Beethoven should not be invited anywhere where his company was requested.
Ferdinand Ries describes the concert of 22 Dec 1808 : Beethoven gave a large concert in the Theater an der Wien at which were performed for the first time the 5th and 6th Symphonies as well as his Fantasia for Piano/orchestra and chorus. In this last work, at the place where the last theme already appears in a varied form, the clarinet player made, by mistake, a repeat of 8 bars. Since only a few instruments were playing, this error was all the more evident to the ear. Beethoven leapt up in a fury, turned round and abused the orchestra players in the coarsest terms and so loudly that he could be heard throughout the auditorium. Finally he shouted "From the beginning!” The concert was a great success, but afterwards the artists remembering only too well the honourable title which Beethoven had bestowed on them in public swore never to play for Beethoven again - this went on until Beethoven composed something new and their curiosity got the better of them.
Ludwig Reelstab on Beethoven's deafness : Beethoven: “This is a beautiful piano! I got it as a gift from London. Look at the name!" He pointed with his finger to the strip of wood above the keyboard.” It is a wonderful present,” said Beethoven looking at me "and it has a beautiful tone," he continued turning towards the piano without taking his eyes off me. He struck a chord softly. Never will another chord pierce me to the quick with such sadness and heartbreak. He has played C major in the right hand and B natural in the bass; he looked at me steadily and repeated the false chord several times to let the mild tone of the instrument sound, and the greatest musician on earth could not hear the dissonance!
CA 1790 Music Journalism exploded on the European scene. Middle class people wanted to read essays, analyses, and criticisms about new compositions, performers, instruments, concert halls, etc. (ANYTHING MUSIC!) They bought music newspapers, journals, and magazines by the millions. While these music rags loved and praised Beethoven’s pianistic virtuosity (until deafness curtailed his playing), they mercilessly and audaciously condemned most of his compositions! “Intellect, intellect, intellect!” Herr Beethoven’s music is too complex. It isn’t musical entertainment; it’s intellectual “mind games.” Once again Beethoven wrote something that no one wants to hear. These invectives and journalistic fulminations bothered Beethoven a great deal. However, he is known to have replied to at least one upstart reporter, “Of course you don’t understand it (implying the interviewer had neither the intelligence nor world view). I wrote the piece for future generations. They will understand and appreciate it.” He was correct.
Exposition Development Recapitulation T1 B T2 CT T1 B T2 Ct What? How? •••— motive What change from Expos? What instruments? What instruments? LONG! •••— New ideas
Symphony No. 5, Mvt. 1 D e v e l o p m e n t Theme 2 reminder •••— motive Based on Th 2 Reminder of Th 1 Horn call w/ new answer 2 notes of horn call! 1 note of horn call!! 1.a. 1.b. 2.a. 2.b.c.d. 2.e.
Symphony No. 5, Mvt. 1 Click for guided listening to the entire development.
Symphony No. 5, Mvt. 1 D e v e l o p m e n t •••— motive is ubiquitous! Horn call w/ new answer 2 notes of horn call! 1 note of horn call!! Reminder of Th 2 Back to 1 note Based on Th 2 Reminder of Th 1 New melody, motive R Th 1 melody & R Based on Th 1
Symphony No. 5, Mvt. 1 Click for guided listening to the recapitulation and coda.
Symphony No. 5, Mvt. 1 R e c a p i t u l a t i o n •••— motive is ubiquitous! Subdued horns + Bassoons! •••— in accompa-niment Theme 2 Closing Th Yes! It was an oboe. Now it continues w/ a short cadenza. Important addition Theme 1 Bridge 4.a.b.
Symphony No. 5, Mvt. 1 C o d a Long! based mostly on •••— motive some new ideas introduced
Symphony No. 5, Mvt. 4 Exposition Development Recapitulation Coda T1 B T2 CT T1 B T2 Ct What? How? VERY LONG! Earlier themes reviewed including •••— C Major! Triumphant mood •••— motive R! •••— motive R a la mvt 3
String quartet = ?? What is the meaning of Op. (opus)?
Rondo Form A B A C A B A Coda aa b a b a ccdcdc aa’bab’a’ eeff Unity: ? Contrast: ? dev Beethoven String Quartet in C Minor, Op . 18, No. 4, Mvt. 4
Rondo Form A B A C A B A aa b a b a Unity: ? Contrast: ? Beethoven String Quartet in C Minor, Op . 18, No. 4, Mvt. 4
Rondo Form A a a b a b a Q u e s t i o n Q u e s t i o n Q u e s t i o n Q u e s t i o n A n s w e r A n s w e r A n s w e r A n s w e r Opening Phrase; Incomplete cadence Closing Phrase; Complete cadence Beethoven String Quartet in C Minor, Op . 18, No. 4, Mvt. 4
Rondo Form A B A C A B A Coda aababa ccdcdc aa’bab’a’ eeff Rhythm ? ? ? Major ? ? ? Minor ? ? ? Style ? ? ? Energy ? ? ? Unity: ? Contrast: ? dev Click the record, listen, track the form, describe points of contrast between the A, B, and C sections. How does Beethoven treat the upward scales? Beethoven String Quartet in C Minor, Op . 18, No. 4, Mvt. 4