By the time he was 35 years old he was the most important composer in the world
LIFE-TIME-LINES BEETHOVEN 1770-1827 MOZART 1756-1789 HAYDN 1732-1809 1770 1820
Father and Grandfather were musicians.
Father was Ludwig’s first music teacher.
His father was an alcoholic
Supported his family as a child
Showed an interest in composing very early
“ 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.”
– Christian Gottlob Neefe
Beethoven went to Vienna, Austria to learn more about composing when he was 17. He played for Mozart
He had to return home when his mother died, and help raise his brothers.
Return to Vienna
When Beethoven was 22 (1792), he moved to Austria and never returned to Germany.
He studied with Haydn
True, it’s “van,” not the aristocratic “von,” but if someone mistakenly thinks I’m a “von” of royal blood I certainly won’t correct him.
Ludwig Van Beethoven
Beethoven and Patronage
Patronage is gone. Besides, Beethoven considered himself equal to, not the servant of, any noble!
made his living by:
selling compositions to publishers
concertizing as a pianist
1 st musician to make a living almost exclusively through composition
Beethoven was not easy to be around. He had a temper, and he was very demanding.
He would get lost in his own thoughts and would get impatient with others when they didn’t do what he thought they should do.
He criticized other musicians when they didn’t perform his pieces the way he wanted them to sound.
His whole life was very ‘stormy’ …there were many sad and discouraging times.
“ 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.”
His Imperial Highness, Archduke Rudolph
The Highborn Prince Lobkowitz
The Highborn Prince Ferdinand Kinsky
Total…. 4000 florins (150,000 USD)
All Beethoven had to do was to declare Vienna his home.”
It is good to walk among the aristocracy, but first you must MAKE them respect you.”
Beethoven, the pianist
the most virtuosic in Europe
dazzling technique and power
much music for piano
piano is being developed
cast iron frame (stronger, more powerful instrument)
larger range (Beethoven wrote notes that were not on current pianos, then told manufacturers to build new instruments)
Losing his hearing
Beethoven began hearing buzzing in his ears.
At first he tried to hide his loss of hearing from his friends.
He continued to write music when he was deaf.
Beethoven tried many hearing devices, but none of them worked.
He could watch people’s lips to understand what they were saying, or have them write in a notebook.
Manifests itself as early as 1796
By 1820 he could barely hear
Letter Beethoven writes in 1802
Describes his illness and his melancholy
Ca. 1799, Beethoven learned his increasing deafness was irreversible. Deep in despair, he remained in Heiligenstadt the summer and fall of 1802 contemplating suicide.
“ 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.”
Medical methods back then...
Doctors poured warm milk and crushed nuts in Beethoven’s ears, telling him that this would help restore his hearing!
Doctors rubbed Beethoven’s arms with an ointment until they blistered, then punctured and drained the blisters…telling him that this would help restore his hearing!
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.
Shows up in music.
Sense of despair.
Sense of acceptance
Sense of reconciliation
Sense of victory over despair.
“ 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.”
Beethoven died in Vienna, Austria in 1827.
Thousands of people lined the streets during his funeral procession to pay tribute.
Beethoven, the composer
Wrote many works for piano
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.”
Some of his Works
32 Piano Sonatas
Fidelio (his only opera)
Choral Symphony …#9 (Ode to Joy)
Beethoven’s Fifth …#5
Tied all movements into a theme
Fate versus hope
Ode To Joy
Jacques Louis David Coronation of Napoleon
Jacques Louis David Napoleon in his study
Symphony #5 C minor op. 67.
Archetypical Sonata Allegro Form.
Three note motive.
Shows up throughout the whole symphony.
What is this piece about?
Beethoven Piano Sonata in C minor. Pathetique
Beethovenian Pathos in each movement
Dramatic quality, sudden dynamic changes
Adagio section that is hymn-like
2 nd and 3 rd movements are in Rondo form
Mvt.1 Slow intro
Sense of sadness and then anger/ desperation as the music moves to the fast section.
Mvt. 2. Slow and hymnl-ike
Sense of calm acceptance
Rising out of chaos.
Sounds of triumph.
Ludwig van Beethoven
composed by evolving and revising musical ideas and compositions
kept notebooks of themes and ideas
B’s manuscripts, unlike Mozart’s, are a MESS--a sea of cross-outs, arrows, re-writes, etc.
Much of B’s music was composed in deafness (total by age 29!) He could only hear the music in his head.
works are larger, longer, more complex
B’s last two composition periods and styles clearly point the way to the coming Romanticism.
composed for himself and future, NOT for publishers or middle class market
For Beethoven music is much more important to human existence than mere entertainment!
1. Early years
a. Beethoven born in Bonn
b. Studied under Christian
Gottlob Neefe (1748-98)
1. Court organist at Bonn
2. Wrote Singspiels and songs
c. 1787: Brief visit to Vienna,
may have played for Mozart
d. 1790: Haydn hears Beethoven's music
and urges the archbishop of Cologne
to send him to Vienna
a. Beethoven moves to Vienna in November of 1792
b. Studies with a number of composers
1. 1792-94: studied with Haydn
2. 1794: Johann Schenk (1753-1836):
composer of Singspiels
3. 1794: Johann Georg Albrechtsberger:
teaches Beethoven counterpoint
4. Antonio Salieri (1750-1825):
teaches vocal composition
3. Compositional overview
a. 9 symphonies b. 11 overtures
c. Incidental music to plays
d. 1 violin concerto e. 5 piano concertos
f. 16 string quartets g. 9 piano trios
h. 10 vioin sonatas i. 5 cello sonatas
j. 30 large piano sonatas
k. Numerous piano variations
l. 1 oratorio m. 1 opera
n. 2 Masses (including the Missa Solemnis in D)
o. Arias, songs and 1 song cycle
His Musical Style: Three Periods
1. Classical Elements: Musical style learned at the hands of Mozart and Haydn.
Use of sonata allegro form. Perfect architecture in his music.
5. The "Three Periods" and Beethoven Historiography
a. It is customary to divide Beethoven's works
into three periods on the basis of style and chronology
b. "Bonn" period is usually not taken into account
5. The "Three Periods" and Beethoven Historiography (cont.)
c. Periodic breakdown
1. Early Period in Vienna (1792-1802 )
Six String Quartets, Op.18/1-6
The first 10 piano sonatas (through Op.14)
Symphonies 1 & 2
5. The "Three Periods" and Beethoven Historiography (cont .)
C. Periodic breakdown
2. Middle Period: Beethoven's "Heroic" period (1803-1816)
1. Beethoven regarded the Mass as his greatest work
2. Mass as a single musical unity, a symphony in 5 mov't
D. Ninth Symphony
1. Premiered on May 7, 1824
2. Significant features
a. Choral finale
1. Setting of Schiller's "Ode to Joy"
2. Beethoven selects stanzas about
universal brotherhood of man
b. Double fugue in the finale
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!
Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67
I = Standard symphony format
IMP Romantic characteristics
It looks like a classical symphony, but mark this well: Underneath that polite, perhaps predictable, exterior rages an overwhelming storm of romanticism.
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.
Symphony No. 5, Mvt. 1 Kamien, p. 193, CD #2
Exposition Development Recapitulation Coda T1 B T2 CT T1 B T2 Ct What? How? •••— motive What change from Expos? What instruments? What instruments? LONG! •••— New ideas 4. 1. 2. 3.
Symphony No. 5, Mvt. 1 Kamien,
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. 1
This movement is UNIFIED like no earlier piece had ever been!
Exposition Development Recapitulation Coda T1 B T2 CT T1 B T2 Ct What? •••— motive •••— motive •••— motive •••— motive Listen to entire piece
Symphony No. 5, Mvt. 2
I = contrasting key “time out,” lyrical double theme & variations (Why not a rondo?)
A B A’ B’ A” (?) A’’’ Coda Ths A & B Mood? Instruments?
Symphony No. 5, Mvt. 3
I = scherzo (“joke”) minuet & trio form & triple meter BUT character is rough and rollicking, not genteel
•••— motive R A B A’ energy level? Perceived tempo? Texture? Dynamic? Virtuoso double bass
Symphony No. 5 Bridge between mvts. 3 & 4
timpani: •••— motive R
repeated patterns--high strings
ambiguous mode (How will this symphony end?)
C minor? (turmoil, struggle, failure)
C major? (victory, triumph, overcoming)
Crescendo at end leads to Mvt 4
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
Symphony No. 5
Mvt 1: •••— motive used in every part of sonata form
Cyclicism : •••— motive used in Mvts 1, 3, 3-4 bridge, 4. (It is even obscurely used in mvt 2!!!)
Mvts 3 & 4 tied together by ambiguous bridge
1. Postponement of gratification, “emotional progression”
2. Conflict & struggle idea of C minor
3. Symphony is more highly unified than earlier ones
4. Symphony deals with emotion , passion
Symphony No. 5 Romantic Notions: Mvt. 1 Mvt. 2 Mvt. 3 Mvt. 4 C minor C Major
String Quartet in C Minor, Op . 18, No. 4, Mvt. 4
String Quartet movement
I = rondo
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
Beethoven Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61.
Written in 1806
From his first and second period of compositional period.