Author Topic: Now it's Beethoven's turn (but with a twist)  (Read 10020 times)

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Online Gurn Blanston

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Re: Now it's Beethoven's turn (but with a twist)
« Reply #40 on: September 04, 2009, 08:43:52 AM »
But actually, not much different ...

And please, folks, read the instructions for 7-9 again. The key word there is "other."
Actually, Poco, this is harder than the first one... :)

1-3. One work each from the early, middle, and late periods.
4-6. One work each from the piano sonatas, symphonies, and quartets.
7-9. Up to three other works from any other genre (chamber, choral, opera, etc.).

1. String Quartet Op 18 #6 'La Malinconia'
2. Piano Sonata in f Op 57 'Appassionata'
3. Symphony in d Op 125

4. Piano Sonata in c Op 111
5. Symphony in Eb Op 55
6. Quartet in c# Op 131

7. Cello Sonata in C Op 102 #1
8. Song Cycle   "An die ferne Geliebte" Op 98
9. Piano Trio in Eb Op 70#2


8)

Correction duly noted and made, Poco. My bad. :)

8)
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Re: Now it's Beethoven's turn (but with a twist)
« Reply #41 on: September 06, 2009, 09:05:29 AM »
      OK, so I haven't worked out the exact hour usage of time, but here is the general outline of my course. Lessons are numbered, but some will take up more than one class period. The series from the Eroica Symphony to the 5th Symphony will probably take up 8 or 9 classes in all, since it is so pivotal. Additionally, there are also certain lectures where 3-5 works are mentioned as required listening. Listening to all the music is not the point. The lectures in these cases will touch on a number of features common to all the music.

      This is an upper level (200-500) course for upperclassmen/graduate students designed to give an idea of exactly how Beethoven singlehandedly carried classical music into the romantic period. Therefore, listening assignments will not be limited to Beethoven. Being an upper level course, students are required to have a basic knowledge of both basic forms and diatonic harmony, although there won't be too much analysis.

1. Op.25 flute serenades, First Symphony - discuss early Beethoven, and his classical tendencies. Also provide brief review of sonata-allegro form.

2. Symphony No.2, Mozart Symphony 35 - discuss how Beethoven differs from Mozart, with particular emphasis on harmonic rhythm, and how each composer was a genius in his own rite.

3. Archduke Trio, 26th Piano Sonata, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik - further discussions on how Beethoven differed from Mozart, with particular emphasis on the piano, and Beethoven's unprecedented virtuosity on the instrument.

4. Violin Variations on Se Vuol Ballare, 3rd mvt of 5th Piano Concerto, first movement of 4th Symphony - Beethoven's favorite forms: theme & variations, rondo, and sonata-allegro

5. Fidelio - Beethoven tries to write an opera.

6. Op.18 Quartets - Beethoven's first entry in the cannon.

7. Variations on Mozarts Bei Mannern, and 3rd Cello Sonata - Beethoven and the cello.

8. Kruetzer Sonata and Violin Concerto - Beethoven, the violin, and Clementi.

9. Eroica Symphony - Beethoven breaks from the mold.

10. Op.59 Quartets - Beethoven the madman!

11. Moonlight Sonata, Op.95 Quartet, look ahead to 5th symphony - what differentiates romanticism emotionally and thematically from classicism? Also touch on Beethoven's deafness, the Heilegenstadt Testament, and his self-perception as an artist.

12. Further discussion on Eroica Symphony and Op.59 Quartets - what formal rules did Beethoven break in his quest for romanticism?

13. 4th & 5th Piano Concertos - Beethoven's last great piano concertos. Also discuss on how his reputation as a composer is beginning to become more important than his reputation as a concert artist.

14. 5th Symphony - romanticism arrives full on the scene.

15. Pastoral Symphony - Beethoven invents program music.

16. 7th & 8th Symphonies - Beethoven's art continues to mature.

17. Missa Solemnis - Beethoven's sacred work.

18. 9th Symphony - His last great symphony.

19. Op.127, 130, 132, 135 Quartets, and the Grosse Fugue - the music of the future. Reflect upon the op.18 quartets, and where Beethoven's harmonic and thematic language has gone.

20. Schubert Unfinished Symphony, Brahms 1st Symphony Mahler Symphonies 1 (1st & 2nd movements), 2 (5th movement), Shostakovich Symphonies 5 & 9 - discuss the stigma left by the 9th symphony. This includes how the work acted as both beacon and intimidating obstacle to the romantics, and how future composers sought to emulate the work.

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Re: Now it's Beethoven's turn (but with a twist)
« Reply #42 on: September 06, 2009, 09:21:34 AM »
Wow that's amazing!  If you offered that class I would take it. :)  Except of course I have to note:

5. Fidelio - Beethoven tries to write an opera.

Damn!  That's harsh! >:D

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Re: Now it's Beethoven's turn (but with a twist)
« Reply #43 on: September 06, 2009, 01:13:55 PM »
      Upon further reflection, I might want to reverse the order of the last two lectures - the last quartets reached much further into the future than the 9th symphony.

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: Now it's Beethoven's turn (but with a twist)
« Reply #44 on: September 06, 2009, 02:21:42 PM »
      Upon further reflection, I might want to reverse the order of the last two lectures - the last quartets reached much further into the future than the 9th symphony.

That's a very interestingly thought out syllabus, and more than exceeds my expectations for what a well-considered response should look like. Even at the 500 level, however, I suspect you'd have a hard time fitting all your material in. It looks like a year-long course to me. But I especially like the way you're seeing B. in relation to other composers preceding and following him.
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Re: Now it's Beethoven's turn (but with a twist)
« Reply #45 on: September 06, 2009, 03:05:42 PM »
     Upon further reflection, I might want to reverse the order of the last two lectures - the last quartets reached much further into the future than the 9th symphony.

In order to justify the premise of #15, you are either going to have to ignore a couple of centuries of music plus ignore what Beethoven himself said about the music, or else you are going to have to invent something.... :-\

That said, I would enjoy spending a year in this class. :)

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Re: Now it's Beethoven's turn (but with a twist)
« Reply #46 on: September 06, 2009, 03:08:41 PM »
In order to justify the premise of #15, you are either going to have to ignore a couple of centuries of music plus ignore what Beethoven himself said about the music, or else you are going to have to invent something.... :-\

Yeah like all of Bach's cantatas being program music, in fact that was what I was how I was going to start phase 2 of the greatest Bach project.  Like Vivaldi's 4 Seasons (I seem to remember some old curmudgeon leading us through those elements...) etc etc etc

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Re: Now it's Beethoven's turn (but with a twist)
« Reply #47 on: September 06, 2009, 03:10:37 PM »
Yeah like all of Bach's cantatas being program music, in fact that was what I was how I was going to start phase 2 of the greatest Bach project.  Like Vivaldi's 4 Seasons (I seem to remember some old curmudgeon leading us through those elements...) etc etc etc

And that's just a dip of the wick. :)

8)

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Re: Now it's Beethoven's turn (but with a twist)
« Reply #48 on: September 06, 2009, 04:17:15 PM »
I suspect you'd have a hard time fitting all your material in. It looks like a year-long course to me.

      Possibly. A lot would depend on the pace of the students. For example, 2 & 3 are one super-lecture split into two aspects, and the same is true of 11 & 12. How quickly we get through these would depend strictly upon the familiarity of the students with the subject matter, and how readily they grasp the essential concepts presented in these lectures. Also, some of this stuff, like Fidelio, the cello and violin lectures, and the flute serenades, would probably take up less than a single lecture. While that material may be important in understanding Beethoven as a composer, they are decidedly less important in the big picture than his symphonies and quartets.

Offline amw

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Re: Now it's Beethoven's turn (but with a twist)
« Reply #49 on: October 19, 2016, 05:53:48 AM »
Now it's Beethoven's turn.

Different rules once again. You are teaching a 12-week, 36-contact hour college course in Beethoven's music and you must create a syllabus. You may feel that some works will require 3 classes, while others can be covered in less than one contact hour each. Obviously you cannot cover everything. Obviously some works will be duplicated in various lists. Your job is to (a) create the syllabus, and (b) write a brief proposal so that your department head understands what you are trying to achieve with the course.

The Beethoven catalog (excluding all the works without opus numbers) lists 138 opus numbers. Following post 138 (if we get that far), further proposals will be ignored and the thread will be locked as soon as possible after. Then a new thread will be started where we can vote for the top three courses and have a discussion.
I know it's been 7 years, buuuuuuut you didn't reach Post #138 yet. Also I can't sleep. So, basic idea:

Week 1: Introduction to Beethoven. I'll allow 30 minutes for explaining exactly what the course is going to be about, how to turn in your assignments, how to use the University's learning management system etc. For the remaining 2 1/2 hours I will concentrate on Beethoven's Opus 1, the three piano trios, using them to explain the basic harmonic, rhythmic, motivic and contrapuntal background of Beethoven's style, and possibly contrasting snippets with short excerpts from earlier works by Beethoven's forebears (Mozart, Haydn, Clementi, etc) if there's time for that, to show the influences as well as the differences.

The rationale for using Opus 1 is simply that it was Beethoven's first published work, and therefore the one with which he first presented himself to the Viennese public as a composer.

Week 2: Seeking Perfection. In this week I'll talk about the Quartet, Op. 18 no. 5, and the Sonata, Op. 22, using them to demonstrate Beethoven's form and long-range planning as well as his lifelong affection for traditional, "conservative" models, and his ability to write highly conventional music with no "tricks" or apparent originality. Discussion of the major forms Beethoven used (sonata, variations, rondo, scherzo/minuet), in the sense of what they meant to Beethoven.

The rationale for choosing these two works is that they are unpopular and little-known, that both look back to earlier models (the quartet more explicitly), and that Beethoven himself was very proud of them.

Week 3: Looking Forwards. In this module I'll try to explain the tension between Beethoven's love of conventional form and highly basic, almost characterless material, and his relentless push towards a wider range of expression, using some "experimental" works from the years 1800-1804: the third+fourth movements of the Sonata Op. 27/1, the first movement of the Sonata Op. 27/2, excerpts from the Variations Op. 34, and one of the Bagatelles Op. 33 (probably either No. 2 or No. 5). I will hope to show that (a) when Beethoven is experimenting with an aspect of musical structure he tends to radically simplify other aspects, to the point where their extreme conventionality itself becomes unconventional; and (b) the piano works were at this time Beethoven's "workshop" where he tried out new ideas.

Reason for choosing these works is because they're all experimental in some way, obviously.

Week 4: Breakthrough. In the first half of this lecture I plan to analyse the first movement of the Symphony No. 3, Op. 55. This work "realised" Beethoven's years of experimentation and fused them with his concept of traditional form and whatever. The analysis will point out the conventional forms from Week 2 and the experimental devices played around with from Week 3 and how they are integrated into one of Beethoven's longest and most coherent symphonic movements. In the second half I will more briefly touch on the other three movements pointing out similar devices, and encouraging the students to listen the entire work with score and produce an analysis of a selected movement (not more than 1000 words).

Choice of work should go without saying.

Week 5: Rhythm. Charles Rosen talks about how Beethoven could not do without purely rhythmic figures at this point in his career. I plan to go into why that is the case, with reference to the first movement of Symphony No. 5, the first movement of Piano Concerto No. 4, and the first movement of the Sonata Op. 57. So this lecture will basically be about the contribution of rhythm to the "Beethoven sound" and how the works would be less effective if they were less obsessional.

Choice of the works here is because they all involve a very similar rhythmic figure (although with subtle differences. The symphony is three shorts and a long. In the piano concerto the fourth note is also shortened, and in the sonata the first note is stressed)

Week 6: Beethoven and the sublime. From about 1805 onwards Beethoven became quite keen on attempting to depict awe and terror in music, as well as the idea of transfiguration. Works touched upon will be the graveyard scene from Fidelio (possibly a few other excerpts also), parts of the Leonore No. 2 overture, possibly the Egmont overture if there's time, and the 3rd and 4th movements of the Symphony No. 5. Reference will be made to precursors such as the opening of Haydn's Creation and the coda to Mozart's Symphony No. 41, to put Beethoven's ideas in a Classical context.

The rationale for choosing these works is simply that they illustrate Beethoven's processes for doing these things and show that this flowed to some extent out of dramatic music, but he successfully used similar strategies in absolute works.

Mid-semester break. Listening assignment will be the three Op. 59 quartets.

Week 7: Move towards fantasy. After a short quiz (no marks) to see who actually did the listening, this lecture will briefly touch on the idea of fantasy and refer to the opening of the Op. 77 Fantasia before concentrating on the Quartets Op. 74 and 95, analysing them in light of techniques discussed in Week 6 to show how these more dramatic techniques led to a more intense subjectivity that would influence some of the early Romantics. Attention will also be drawn to the beginning of a new element in Beethoven's style, that of composing with the specific acts of performance in mind, and making instrumental timbre as important a part of his music as everything else had been.

Choice of these works is fairly obvious I think.

Week 8: Looking forwards (2). In this lecture I will analyse two of the works that form the culmination of this period in Beethoven's work, An die ferne Geliebte and the Sonata Op. 101, after which he entered a sort of creative crisis and composed little music for about two years. These works carry this level of fantasy far enough that it creates an intractable conflict with Beethoven's sense of conventional form and tonality. Both works come close to being open-ended and are among Beethoven's more radical experiments. Reference will be made to some of the composers influenced by these works, such as Schumann (probably Frauenliebe und Leben) and Mendelssohn (the A minor quartet, most likely).

Choice of works is, again, pretty obvious I'd think.

Week 9: Monuments. The start of Beethoven's "third period" in 1818 or so was in some ways a return to tradition—even archaism—and a radical simplification of means. At the same time, the sheer level of concentration Beethoven imparts is unprecedented. I will primarily concentrate on the Missa solemnis although also with references to the Diabelli Variations and the Consecration of the House Overture. That said, towards the end of the lecture I would want to bring up the idea of fugue with reference to the Sonata Op. 106, even though counterpoint will be discussed in the next lecture, as Op. 106 also played the role of a "monument". It won't be analysed in any detail though.

Choice of works is difficult—ideally I could devote an entire lecture, or even an entire course, to the Missa Solemnis, but instead I'll have to cover it from the perspective of archaism or at least dialogue with an older tradition. This means also bringing in other works (even if only for a few minutes each).

Week 10: Counterpoint. After a brief rundown of fugal writing in Beethoven's output (Op. 10/2, Op. 59/3, etc) the first half of the lecture will talk about the general principles of Beethoven's fugue with reference to In gloria Dei Patris from the Gloria and Et vitam venturi from the Credo of the Missa Solemnis and the finale of Op. 106. The second half will be a detailed analysis of the first movement of the Quartet Op. 131.

Choice of works is fairly obvious. I'm leaving the Grosse Fuge in reserve for the students' final essay.

Week 11: Unity. The lecture will return to Op. 131 and analyse the entire work, detailing Beethoven's strategies for creating unities and disjunctions, and how he establishes or threatens coherence on the largest scale. All of the knowledge previously covered in the course will be used, the goal being to give students ways to explain why Beethoven's works are great. Students will then be assigned to produce a similar analysis for Op. 130/133 (let's say 3000-4000 words depending on department requirements).

Rationale for choosing the work is because it's Beethoven's best one, mostly. >_>

Week 12: Beethoven against the sublime. For the final lecture I'll examine how Beethoven's last works repudiate the grander, more dramatic works of his middle period, with reference to Variation 33 from the Diabelli Variations, the third movement of Op. 130, the first movement of Op. 135 and the 1826 finale to Op. 130. These have been interpreted as a sign of conservatism, a wish to revisit musics he heard in his youth before losing his hearing, or a threshold to a new creative period that went unrealised due to his death. We will talk about the extent to which this reflected the reception of Beethoven's work in the 19th century, with the more subjective and sublime middle period music venerated whilst the late works were often misunderstood. Cake will be served. If there is time left over, the students will play Beethoven Bingo using 10-second snippets from works covered in the course or recommended listening.

The exam I guess will be an essay question and an analysis of a set work. Set work may be a movement of the Symphony No. 9 or something. I dunno.

Offline nathanb

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Re: Now it's Beethoven's turn (but with a twist)
« Reply #50 on: October 19, 2016, 07:40:52 AM »
Can I make mine a Stockhausen or Cage syllabus plz

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Now it's Beethoven's turn (but with a twist)
« Reply #51 on: October 19, 2016, 07:49:41 AM »
Can I make mine a Stockhausen or Cage syllabus plz

Will the first Cage lecture be the professor not speaking for an hour?  ;D

Sorry!...carry on.

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Offline nathanb

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Re: Now it's Beethoven's turn (but with a twist)
« Reply #52 on: October 19, 2016, 07:52:20 AM »
Will the first Cage lecture be the professor not speaking for an hour?  ;D

Sorry!...carry on.

Sarge

You have completely turned me off from intelligent discourse.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Now it's Beethoven's turn (but with a twist)
« Reply #53 on: October 19, 2016, 07:55:05 AM »
You have completely turned me off from intelligent discourse.

Oh, let a fellow make the odd joke!
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Offline nathanb

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Re: Now it's Beethoven's turn (but with a twist)
« Reply #54 on: October 19, 2016, 07:57:27 AM »
Oh, let a fellow make the odd joke!

I was being sarcastically overdramatic, and I should know better because it doesn't translate into type very well. That being said, 4'33" jokes are hardly "the odd joke", "now and then", or anything of the sort. I mean I've never seen a "deader" horse.

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Now it's Beethoven's turn (but with a twist)
« Reply #55 on: October 19, 2016, 08:08:07 AM »
I was being sarcastically overdramatic, and I should know better because it doesn't translate into type very well. That being said, 4'33" jokes are hardly "the odd joke", "now and then", or anything of the sort. I mean I've never seen a "deader" horse.

I'm a fan of John Cage's music. I believe he had a sense of humor (his 4'33'' is one proof of that). You should learn from him...and learn from us Brianites, who take the brunt of teasing on this forum for our fandom. We don't take ourselves so seriously. We join in the laughter while celebrating the music.

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline North Star

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Re: Now it's Beethoven's turn (but with a twist)
« Reply #56 on: October 19, 2016, 08:09:59 AM »
Can I make mine a Stockhausen or Cage syllabus plz
You can make as many syllabi as you want, I'm sure there will be interest in them. Maybe a new thread for each, or all of your syllabi.
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Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: Now it's Beethoven's turn (but with a twist)
« Reply #57 on: October 19, 2016, 03:43:00 PM »
Wow, I completely forgot this thread. But it just goes to show that creating a syllabus for a college course is by no means easy. The temptation is always to do too much, and you have to gauge where your students are before throwing a ton of stuff at them that they won't be able to absorb. Thanks to amw for taking the question seriously even though his course may be a bit on the dense side for the typical college kid.
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Offline amw

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Re: Now it's Beethoven's turn (but with a twist)
« Reply #58 on: October 19, 2016, 11:58:25 PM »
Yes, to be fair, this wouldn't be a particularly unusual workload for the university at which I got my undergrad degree—we were on the trimester system (so 8 weeks instead of 12), and typically covered about that much material per lecture, or slightly more. But the university I attended was uh..... actually ranked #1 worldwide at the time lmao (it's dropped down a bit since then, but still in the top ten). So I might just be used to doing atypical amounts of work. >_>
« Last Edit: October 20, 2016, 12:01:17 AM by amw »

Offline Jo498

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Re: Now it's Beethoven's turn (but with a twist)
« Reply #59 on: October 20, 2016, 11:31:47 AM »
I know it's been 7 years, buuuuuuut you didn't reach Post #138 yet. Also I can't sleep. So, basic idea:

Week 1: Introduction to Beethoven.
...
Reason for choosing these works is because they're all experimental in some way, obviously.
....
All very interesting, although it almost looks like you were consciously avoiding many of the most famous works from the first ca. 35 opus numbers.

Quote
Week 6: Beethoven and the sublime. From about 1805 onwards Beethoven became quite keen on attempting to depict awe and terror in music, as well as the idea of transfiguration. Works touched upon will be the graveyard scene from Fidelio (possibly a few other excerpts also), parts of the Leonore No. 2 overture, possibly the Egmont overture if there's time, and the 3rd and 4th movements of the Symphony No. 5. Reference will be made to precursors such as the opening of Haydn's Creation and the coda to Mozart's Symphony No. 41, to put Beethoven's ideas in a Classical context.

The rationale for choosing these works is simply that they illustrate Beethoven's processes for doing these things and show that this flowed to some extent out of dramatic music, but he successfully used similar strategies in absolute works.
Among the things I miss from your overall rather fascinating suggestions but it might be included in this section are the "programmatic" elements, e.g. Pastoral symphony, Les adieux sonata, maybe the Leonore, Egmont and Coriolan ouvertures, maybe the "Prometheus program" of the Eroica, maybe also the 9th symphony.

Quote
Mid-semester break. Listening assignment will be the three Op. 59 quartets.

Week 7: Move towards fantasy. After a short quiz (no marks) to see who actually did the listening, this lecture will briefly touch on the idea of fantasy and refer to the opening of the Op. 77 Fantasia before concentrating on the Quartets Op. 74 and 95, analysing them in light of techniques discussed in Week 6 to show how these more dramatic techniques led to a more intense subjectivity that would influence some of the early Romantics. Attention will also be drawn to the beginning of a new element in Beethoven's style, that of composing with the specific acts of performance in mind, and making instrumental timbre as important a part of his music as everything else had been.

Choice of these works is fairly obvious I think.
It's not really obvious for me why the op.59 is only a break assignment and why and how opp. 74 and 95 fall unter the heading "fantasy". I'd be delighted to be enlighted on the latter if you can explain it non- or not too technically.

Missing or somewhat short-changed are violin and cello sonatas. One of op.102 could maybe be covered either in the "fantasy" section or with op.101 and Ferne Geliebte. Also, some of the violin sonatas seem among the most accomplished earlier works although I see your point in going with op.1 and op.18/5.
Also, the 9th symphony seems missing among the "monuments" and Fidelio might deserve a whole section. Of course your suggestions are all sufficiently interesting so that one hesitates to cut anything.

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