Author Topic: Beethoven the Innovator  (Read 21349 times)

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Offline Gabriel

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2007, 06:25:11 AM »
In fact, Lilly's Law is totally uncertain. Any composer, very famous or very unknown, can introduce innovations to music.

By the way, Larry, Reicha's music was also held as radically eccentric during his lifetime. (It's a curious coincidence that both were friends in Bonn and then met again in Vienna before Reicha established himself in Paris).

Offline JoshLilly

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2007, 06:31:24 AM »
Lilly's Law is just a joke. I'm fairly certain that several famous composers did totally new things. Berlioz or Schönberg, perhaps? I don't know much about either, sadly. But that thing is just a joke, an exaggeration of how often it really is true that a famous composer credited with something really wasn't the first. But that's not just true for music, is it? It goes for all types of technical inventions, &c.

Speaking of Beethoven's 3rd Symphony, I read something - I think it was in the liner notes from Gardiner's set - that claimed that his 2nd Symphony was a more radical departure from the 1st, than the 3rd was from the 2nd. Has anyone else seen this said? Or, it didn't say radical departure, but some other wording, like the difference between the 1st and 2nd, was more than the difference between the 2nd and 3rd.

head-case

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2007, 09:07:39 AM »
Can't believe D forgot "He added a chorus in a symphony" when that work is in D minor...

Which led to the popular expression, "I need a chorus in my symphony like I need a hole in my head."  To bad Beethoven did not live long enough to replace the finale of the 9th with an instrumental movement, as he had planned (according to some biographers).  Then the choral finale would take its place with Beethoven's other grotesque monstrosity, the choral fantasy.

Renfield

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #23 on: August 20, 2007, 10:10:19 AM »
Which led to the popular expression, "I need a chorus in my symphony like I need a hole in my head."  To bad Beethoven did not live long enough to replace the finale of the 9th with an instrumental movement, as he had planned (according to some biographers).  Then the choral finale would take its place with Beethoven's other grotesque monstrosity, the choral fantasy.


Hmm... I somehow managed to read the title of this thread as "Beethoven the Infiltrator". 8)

But seriously, may I inquire about the source of your enmity, regarding choirs in symphonic music? In fact, if Beethoven had replaced the choral part of the 9th symphony with an instrumental movement, it might indeed have been great, even in the way of the Brucknerian "chorales"; but would it have been as exhilarating to hear?

Given that I think the point of the 9th symphony, in terms of its meaning, is greatly dependent on a climactic "catharsis" in the final movement, I do wonder what could have been better than a choir, at the time it was written...

Still, I'm definitely not the right person to contribute to the present conversation, with my meagre theoretical knowledge: so don't take my opinion too much into account. But that comment did strike me as one I thought to inquire about. ;)

Don

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #24 on: August 20, 2007, 10:39:50 AM »
Which led to the popular expression, "I need a chorus in my symphony like I need a hole in my head."  To bad Beethoven did not live long enough to replace the finale of the 9th with an instrumental movement, as he had planned (according to some biographers).  Then the choral finale would take its place with Beethoven's other grotesque monstrosity, the choral fantasy.


Many consider the choral finale magnificent and the Choral Fantasy a highly worthy piece - I'm one of them.  So I'll have to disagree with your view while possessing respect for it.

bwv 1080

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #25 on: August 20, 2007, 10:50:14 AM »
Beethoven's most significant innovation from the standpoint of generation of composers who followed him, was moving away from dominant and subdominant key relations within his sonata forms to mediant and submediant relationships.  The Waldstein & Hammerklavier sonatas as well as the late SQ's all share this feature - as does the work of Chopin, Schumann & Schubert.

Larry Rinkel

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #26 on: August 20, 2007, 10:51:20 AM »
Many consider the choral finale magnificent and the Choral Fantasy a highly worthy piece - I'm one of them.  So I'll have to disagree with your view while possessing respect for it.

The choral finale was controversial from the start. I can't imagine the symphony without it, but I can't blame anyone who has a problem with it.

As a composition, the Fantasy has always seemed to me a real mess.

Don

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #27 on: August 20, 2007, 10:54:08 AM »
The choral finale was controversial from the start. I can't imagine the symphony without it, but I can't blame anyone who has a problem with it.

As a composition, the Fantasy has always seemed to me a real mess.

Sex is messy also, but a major treat. 8)

Offline Gabriel

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #28 on: August 20, 2007, 10:58:43 AM »
Beethoven's most significant innovation from the standpoint of generation of composers who followed him, was moving away from dominant and subdominant key relations within his sonata forms to mediant and submediant relationships.  The Waldstein & Hammerklavier sonatas as well as the late SQ's all share this feature - as does the work of Chopin, Schumann & Schubert.

My question here would be if Beethoven was alone in introducing other key relationships, or if it was shared with some of his contemporaries, like Reicha or Hummel.

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As a composition, the Fantasy has always seemed to me a real mess.

But, Larry... A delightful mess it is! ;)

Offline scottscheule

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #29 on: August 20, 2007, 04:50:28 PM »
I've nothing to contribute but praise.  Gentlemen, what a fascinating thread!

Josh, thanks so much for sharing your detailed knowledge of the subject.

Larry Rinkel

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #30 on: August 20, 2007, 05:24:56 PM »
But, Larry... A delightful mess it is! ;)

I know, and it doesn't contradict my previous point.

Or Don's.  :D


Offline scottscheule

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #31 on: August 21, 2007, 04:00:13 PM »
How about the bizarre form of the last movement of the Ninth?  Quotations of the prior three movements, followed by a theme of variations and a double fugue and god knows what else.  Was there any precedent for that?

Larry Rinkel

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #32 on: August 21, 2007, 04:17:48 PM »
Lilly's Law is just a joke. I'm fairly certain that several famous composers did totally new things. Berlioz or Schönberg, perhaps? I don't know much about either, sadly. But that thing is just a joke, an exaggeration of how often it really is true that a famous composer credited with something really wasn't the first. But that's not just true for music, is it? It goes for all types of technical inventions, &c.

Speaking of Beethoven's 3rd Symphony, I read something - I think it was in the liner notes from Gardiner's set - that claimed that his 2nd Symphony was a more radical departure from the 1st, than the 3rd was from the 2nd. Has anyone else seen this said? Or, it didn't say radical departure, but some other wording, like the difference between the 1st and 2nd, was more than the difference between the 2nd and 3rd.

Yes, Nicholas Marston says that in his notes to the Gardiner CDs. I disagree, but no matter. Marston also refers to the Eroica's "overwhelming novelty." But considering your unwillingness to grant Beethoven any originality, why refer to this issue at all?

Bonehelm

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #33 on: August 22, 2007, 12:26:09 AM »
How about the bizarre form of the last movement of the Ninth?  Quotations of the prior three movements, followed by a theme of variations and a double fugue and god knows what else.  Was there any precedent for that?

Fugues in the finale of a symphony - Mozart symphony no.41

Offline Gabriel

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #34 on: August 22, 2007, 02:53:39 AM »
How about the bizarre form of the last movement of the Ninth?  Quotations of the prior three movements, followed by a theme of variations and a double fugue and god knows what else.  Was there any precedent for that?

The problem is to defend the position that the finale for the Ninth symphony is satisfactory. The quotations of the prior three movements are an attempt by Beethoven to give some coherence to the unexpected last movement, so different in nature from the other ones.

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Fugues in the finale of a symphony - Mozart symphony no.41

What you find in the finale of the Jupiter symphony is not a fugue, but fugato passages, like in the finale of the Ninth. Those fugato ("fugati") of the 41st symphony are almost miraculous and I prefer them to what Beethoven shows, in this issue, in the finale of the 9th. And, besides, for great counterpoint in symphonies, you have a lot of good Haydn music to enjoy. ;)

Haffner

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #35 on: August 22, 2007, 03:44:12 AM »
I'm not sure LvB necessarily revolutionized the Piano Concerto. They all seemed to owe one helluva lot to Mozart, and the 5th even directly quotes from more than theme from Mozart's works. Perhaps as vehicles of extraordinary/borderline "superhuman" improvisation.

In fact (as unpopular as this might make me) I hear more "revolutionary Piano Concerto" music in of Brahms, Schumann, Chopin.


I mostly hear "revolutionary"  (as opposed to "one-upping" Haydn, Mozart, and J.S. Bach) in the later works of LvB.

head-case

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #36 on: August 22, 2007, 08:20:10 AM »
How about the bizarre form of the last movement of the Ninth?  Quotations of the prior three movements, followed by a theme of variations and a double fugue and god knows what else.  Was there any precedent for that?

The Finale of Beethoven's ninth strikes me as being a very disorganized cantata.   If you take off the slap-dash intro with the parading of themes from the first three movements it would be a free standing piece (which is how I listen to it, generally).   

head-case

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #37 on: August 22, 2007, 08:24:06 AM »
I'm not sure LvB necessarily revolutionized the Piano Concerto. They all seemed to owe one helluva lot to Mozart, and the 5th even directly quotes from more than theme from Mozart's works. Perhaps as vehicles of extraordinary/borderline "superhuman" improvisation.

I certainly agree.  Beethoven increase the scope of the piano concerto, but it is put together exactly like a Mozart concerto.  To claim that the increase in duration of the music is an "innovation" or to cite another obscure composer who wrote a concerto that is even longer misses the point entirely.  Any half-wit can write a concerto twice as long as a Mozart concerto.  That Beethoven conceived a work which is much longer and was a compelling masterpiece was the feat. 

Haffner

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #38 on: August 22, 2007, 08:28:05 AM »
I certainly agree.  Beethoven increase the scope of the piano concerto, but it is put together exactly like a Mozart concerto.  To claim that the increase in duration of the music is an "innovation" or to cite another obscure composer who wrote a concerto that is even longer misses the point entirely.  Any half-wit can write a concerto twice as long as a Mozart concerto.  That Beethoven conceived a work which is much longer and was a compelling masterpiece was the feat. 





Interesting. We could also posit the "Eroica's" first movement as being a longer, younger brother to the finale of Mozart's "Jupiter" Symphony.

Offline scottscheule

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #39 on: August 22, 2007, 09:16:43 AM »
I certainly agree.  Beethoven increase the scope of the piano concerto, but it is put together exactly like a Mozart concerto.  To claim that the increase in duration of the music is an "innovation" or to cite another obscure composer who wrote a concerto that is even longer misses the point entirely.  Any half-wit can write a concerto twice as long as a Mozart concerto.  That Beethoven conceived a work which is much longer and was a compelling masterpiece was the feat. 

Speaking of, how about the soloist starting the concerto by himself at the beginning of the 4th?  Precedent out there for that?