Friday, March 26, 2010

Ludwig van Beethoven

Born in Bonn, Germany
Famous for his passion in his symphonies and music
Ludwig's father, Johann, a singer in the Court of the Archbishop of Cologne, drove his son fairly hard in his musical talents to become like Mozart, a child prodigy, but Ludwig's gifts needed a longer time to develop.
Sad childhood- cruel, alcoholic father who died when Beethoven was 18
Supported his family
Pupil of Haydn and accompanied him to Vienna, tired of being a "pupil of Haydn"
Stayed in Vienna rest of life, but also traveled
Impressed Mozart by playing
Respected throughout Europe, but strange and intense
Upon losing hearing and having a hard time with it at a retreat in Heiligenstadt in 1802, he resolved to still compose music and make it his happiness and salvation.
Aristocrat, noble admirers
Big funeral
Works organized by: opus numbers and WoO

9 symphonies (no. 3 Eroica and No. 9 Choral)
32 piano sonatas (Pathetique and Moonlight)
1 opera (Fidelio)
Overtures (Egmont, Leonore)
5 piano concertos (no. 5 Emperor)
Song cylce- An die ferne Geliebte ("To the distand beloved")
Choral music, (Missa Solemnis)

Wrote for himself
Displayed the artist's life as becoming property to mankind and a hero.
His music differed from the technical style of the Baroque period in some ways in relation to his regard for feeling in his music.
Transition from Classical to Romantic- more daring

Early Period until 1892-
generally within the boundaries of Classical customs set up by Mozart and Haydn.
Moonlight piano sonata, op. 27
Spring violin sonata, op. 24
Middle Period- 1802-1812
Experiments with new forms
Works on a huge scale
expanded customary forms
Apassionata Piano Sonata, op. 57
lyrical "Emperor" piano concerto, no. 5, op. 73
"Pastoral" Symphony no. 6, op. 68
Late Period0 1813-1827
Hearing failing
No interest of pleasing audience
Inward anguish, despair->hope
"Hammerklavier" Piano sonata, op. 106- MIGHTY
Choral Symphony no. 9, op. 125
Piano sonatas- New Testament
Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier- Old Testament
Beethoven wrote out cadenzas in "Emperor" concerto and that became a standard custom for composers.
Revolutionized string quartets-
first ones- traditional
later- revolutionized genres
1 opera- Fidelio
way to prove oneself to receive royal favor
Fidelio was initially criticizd as too bold and shrill
Revolutionized symphony form
-full orchestra, soloists, and chorus
Symphonies lasted for a long time!
Expanded coda- dramatic ending, not formal
Substituted graceful Minuet and Trio with the boyant and joyous Scherzo and Trio
Piano sonatas and string quartets- length increased
Wrote out cadenzas- leaving his own mark on places that were normally conducted by the performer
Frequently dedicated works to patrons on whom he leaned for commission for his works... BUT exterior powers did not control his ingenuity.

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