Author Topic: Beethoven the Innovator  (Read 21348 times)

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Offline Gabriel

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #40 on: August 22, 2007, 09:28:37 AM »
Speaking of, how about the soloist starting the concerto by himself at the beginning of the 4th?  Precedent out there for that?

The closest precedent I know is Mozart's KV 271, but the orchestra precedes the soloist for a couple of seconds. (But, in this sense, Mozart's innovation is bigger than Beethoven's, because normally - in classical concertos, I mean - you would have to wait a complete orchestral exposition before the piano gets in).

Offline Gabriel

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #41 on: August 22, 2007, 09:45:10 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. 

The "length" element is certainly an element in which Beethoven tried to figure out a reasonable solution. If you want to invent a huge sonata form first movement, and keep the balance with the rest of the work, how would you do it? Imagine, for example, the violin concerto, where the first movement lasts for about 23-25 minutes. If he had followed Mozartian proportions, he would have needed either a concerto of about 75 minutes, or a rondo of about 20 minutes (I know I am oversimplifying, but otherwise it would be very hard to discuss this). The solution was to blend the 2nd and 3rd movements, what happened in the last two piano concertos, the violin concerto, and the triple concerto. (In the triple concerto he could have been able to preserve the equilibrium, without the "continuity" solution, considering that the third movement is almost as long as the first one, but the disproportion is related to the slow movement, which lasts 1/3 of the other ones).

head-case

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #42 on: August 22, 2007, 09:59:45 AM »
The solution was to blend the 2nd and 3rd movements, what happened in the last two piano concertos, the violin concerto, and the triple concerto.
The triple concerto isn't something I can really bring myself to listen to, but I don't see how there is any "blending" of the second and third movements.  The fact that the finale theme suddenly leaps up while the final chords of the slow movement are droning is neither here nor there.  If you want to talk about blending, there is Mozart 22, where a weird slow movement is embedded in the finale.
 

Offline JoshLilly

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #43 on: August 22, 2007, 10:24:53 AM »
Speaking of, how about the soloist starting the concerto by himself at the beginning of the 4th?  Precedent out there for that?


This was done multiple times in the second half of the 18th century. It would appear to be more common in Italy during that time period. I think I already answered this above, but I can't recall. Even if you don't want to get really obscure, Antonio Salieri did it in his own Triple Concerto, which starts out with the violin soloist all by itself. I actually have a Violin Concerto by an Italian composer, written in the 1770s, where the violin soloist gets to have quite a bit of fun before any other instruments appear. I'll get the exact piece when I get home. I'm sure it wasn't the first. Antonio Rosetti (Anton Rössler) wrote a Concerto for Two Horns in E-Flat where the two horns open it up by playing a hint of the main theme, and then give it over to the orchestra for a bit. He wrote three Concerti for Two Horns in E-Flat, so you have to find the right one! It's not KIII-51 or KIII-53.



"The closest precedent I know is Mozart's KV 271, but the orchestra precedes the soloist for a couple of seconds."

W.A. Mozart did not innovate this idea, either. His own dad did something very similar, where the orchestra plays for like 2 seconds, starting to introduce the theme, before the soloist comes in and "steals" the honours of presenting it from them, in his French Horn Concerto in D. In addition, if you go back to the Baroque, this was probably even more common than in the late 18th century. Mozart's major rival Leopold Kozeluch did this in his Sinfonia Concertante in E-Flat for Mandolin, Trumpet, Double Bass, and Piano (haha, yep!), which I think predates Mozart's K.271. The trumpet in that Sinfonia Concertante "cheats" and jumps in way early, before the orchestra gets to do more than introduce itself, and long before the other soloists make their more "proper" appearance.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2007, 10:41:02 AM by JoshLilly »

head-case

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #44 on: August 22, 2007, 11:34:44 AM »

This was done multiple times in the second half of the 18th century. It would appear to be more common in Italy during that time period. I think I already answered this above, but I can't recall. Even if you don't want to get really obscure, Antonio Salieri did it in his own Triple Concerto, which starts out with the violin soloist all by itself. I actually have a Violin Concerto by an Italian composer, written in the 1770s, where the violin soloist gets to have quite a bit of fun before any other instruments appear. I'll get the exact piece when I get home. I'm sure it wasn't the first. Antonio Rosetti (Anton Rössler) wrote a Concerto for Two Horns in E-Flat where the two horns open it up by playing a hint of the main theme, and then give it over to the orchestra for a bit. He wrote three Concerti for Two Horns in E-Flat, so you have to find the right one! It's not KIII-51 or KIII-53.



"The closest precedent I know is Mozart's KV 271, but the orchestra precedes the soloist for a couple of seconds."

W.A. Mozart did not innovate this idea, either. His own dad did something very similar, where the orchestra plays for like 2 seconds, starting to introduce the theme, before the soloist comes in and "steals" the honours of presenting it from them, in his French Horn Concerto in D. In addition, if you go back to the Baroque, this was probably even more common than in the late 18th century. Mozart's major rival Leopold Kozeluch did this in his Sinfonia Concertante in E-Flat for Mandolin, Trumpet, Double Bass, and Piano (haha, yep!), which I think predates Mozart's K.271. The trumpet in that Sinfonia Concertante "cheats" and jumps in way early, before the orchestra gets to do more than introduce itself, and long before the other soloists make their more "proper" appearance.
Where can one fine a more convincing argument for the pointlessness of keeping track of who did what first?

Offline scottscheule

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #45 on: August 22, 2007, 12:50:54 PM »
Where can one fine a more convincing argument for the pointlessness of keeping track of who did what first?


I'm finding this dialogue fascinating.

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #46 on: August 22, 2007, 01:21:10 PM »
Where can one fine a more convincing argument for the pointlessness of keeping track of who did what first?


Actually, I find it to be fascinating information, but then, I'm actually as interested in history as Josh is. Perhaps you are not, but it doesn't make the information any less relevant.

The artificial constructs of "periods" that we have devised to make things easier to grasp tend to obscure the fact that music is an uninterrupted continuum from X to Y. For example, "Modernists" didn't invent dissonance, it was used in greater or lesser degree from the beginning of music. They simply brought it to the forefront for a time.

Beethoven was evolutionary, not revolutionary. Very few major composers became major because they invented something new, they became major because they took all the things that they absorbed from their predecessors and used it in different ways and to a degree of perfection that captured the imaginations and aesthetic sensibilities of their audiences. Why make it more complicated than what it is?   :)

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Offline Gabriel

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #47 on: August 22, 2007, 01:46:49 PM »
Beautiful words, Gurn.

In fact, the same could be said about Beethoven's inclusion of old modes in some of his later works, like the Et incarnatus in the Missa Solemnis, and the Molto adagio - Andante in the string quartet op. 132.

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #48 on: August 22, 2007, 01:50:47 PM »
Beautiful words, Gurn.

In fact, the same could be said about Beethoven's inclusion of old modes in some of his later works, like the Et incarnatus in the Missa Solemnis, and the Molto adagio - Andante in the string quartet op. 132.

Oh, I thought he invented old modes... :-\

;D

Thanks, Gabriel, I've been enjoying this thread, just been too busy to post. :)

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Offline BachQ

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #49 on: August 22, 2007, 01:51:18 PM »
Beethoven was evolutionary, not revolutionary. Very few major composers became major because they invented something new, they became major because they took all the things that they absorbed from their predecessors and used it in different ways and to a degree of perfection that captured the imaginations and aesthetic sensibilities of their audiences. Why make it more complicated than what it is?   :)

Beethoven was both evolutionary and revolutionary.

You can be revolutionary without "inventing" new forms, without "inventing" new instruments .......



((As an example, even if Stravinsky's Rite of Spring was somehow confined to sonata form, it would still be revolutionary.))

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #50 on: August 22, 2007, 02:01:10 PM »
Beethoven was both evolutionary and revolutionary.

You can be revolutionary without "inventing" new forms, without "inventing" new instruments .......



((As an example, even if Stravinsky's Rite of Spring was somehow confined to sonata form, it would still be revolutionary.))

Yes, "even if"...

I think "revolutionary" is a sadly overused adjective, particularly in music. :)

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #51 on: August 22, 2007, 02:17:04 PM »
In fact (as unpopular as this might make me) I hear more "revolutionary Piano Concerto" music in of Brahms, Schumann, Chopin.

Allow me to join you in your unpopularity. ;D

Offline BachQ

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #52 on: August 22, 2007, 02:50:37 PM »
Yes, "even if"...

I think "revolutionary" is a sadly overused adjective, particularly in music. :)

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Your approach is refreshingly revolutionary, Gurn ..........  >:D

((PS: I've always felt that the word "overused" has been overused .......))

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #53 on: August 22, 2007, 03:00:59 PM »
Your approach is refreshingly revolutionary, Gurn ..........  >:D

((PS: I've always felt that the word "overused" has been overused .......))

And you just managed to overuse it twice more. :D

IMO, putting the accent on particular devices that have not had the accent on them before (take your pick, there are thousands of them) is evolutionary. If you choose to call that an innovation, we won't argue about it. I do too. In that sense practically all memorable composers are innovative. I just draw a distinction between innovative and revolutionary, I don't view them as synonyms. Perhaps I am irreconcilably conservative... :-\

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Offline JoshLilly

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #54 on: August 22, 2007, 03:04:43 PM »
Got the Italian violin concerto I was thinking of:

Giovanni Giornovichi (1735-1804): Violin Concerto #3 in G. The solo violin opens up and it is several measures before any other instruments appear.  This specific piece just came to mind, and I said I'd look up the info later, so here it is! Almost certainly not the first time this was done, though.  Hmm, I'd forgotten how tuneful his violin concerti were! Even leaving aside the less-than-usual opening, I like this work pretty well.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2007, 03:06:38 PM by JoshLilly »

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #55 on: August 22, 2007, 03:09:28 PM »
Got the Italian violin concerto I was thinking of:

Giovanni Giornovichi (1735-1804): Violin Concerto #3 in G. The solo violin opens up and it is several measures before any other instruments appear.  This specific piece just came to mind, and I said I'd look up the info later, so here it is! Almost certainly not the first time this was done, though.  Hmm, I'd forgotten how tuneful his violin concerti were! Even leaving aside the less-than-usual opening, I like this work pretty well.

Interesting Josh, can you steer me to a performance? Late 18th century Italians are still off my radar (my loss :( )

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Offline JoshLilly

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #56 on: August 22, 2007, 03:23:37 PM »
I only know of the Arte Nova CDs of his complete violin concerti. I have Volumes 1 and 2, and there had to have been at least 3 CDs to hold them all. Unfortunately, I've never found any evidence for this third CD. Arte Nova is a German label, and I got a number of CDs of theirs in the late 1990s, but I don't find them any more at all.

Offline Gabriel

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #57 on: August 22, 2007, 03:30:39 PM »
Got the Italian violin concerto I was thinking of:

Giovanni Giornovichi (1735-1804): Violin Concerto #3 in G. The solo violin opens up and it is several measures before any other instruments appear.  This specific piece just came to mind, and I said I'd look up the info later, so here it is! Almost certainly not the first time this was done, though.  Hmm, I'd forgotten how tuneful his violin concerti were! Even leaving aside the less-than-usual opening, I like this work pretty well.

Very interesting, Josh. Thanks a lot.

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #58 on: August 22, 2007, 03:36:11 PM »
I only know of the Arte Nova CDs of his complete violin concerti. I have Volumes 1 and 2, and there had to have been at least 3 CDs to hold them all. Unfortunately, I've never found any evidence for this third CD. Arte Nova is a German label, and I got a number of CDs of theirs in the late 1990s, but I don't find them any more at all.

Follow the link I posted for you in the WAYLTN thread. There are currently 203 disks in their catalog, not these, however. Vol 1 is available "used" at Amazon for $60... ::)

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Offline orbital

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Re: Beethoven the Innovator
« Reply #59 on: August 22, 2007, 04:30:54 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?
I don't understand how this movement coming up before that, or how this vocal section was put into this is a big deal. The point is, there is a decided deviation from the set standards of classical music form. Someone put the Scherzo before the adagio or vice versa at some point. Once the departure from the tradition has started, what difference does it make who put what movement where? These are all forms that were already in existence. If he had opened with the quotations followed by a fugue then the variations, we'd be equally amazed, no?

What matters is how is the quoatation, how good is the fugue, and how revolutionary is the theme and variations themselves. I think the general agreement is that they are almost uniformly at a high level.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2007, 04:34:04 PM by orbital »