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Beethoven in America. 1824 – Beethoven was totally deaf Many had written him off as a has-been Premier huge success. Ninth Symphony. Ninth Symphony. Starts as standard four movements Fast Scherzo Slow But then Choral Finale. Choral finale added late

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Beethoven in America

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Beethoven in america

Beethoven in America

Ninth symphony

1824 – Beethoven was totally deaf

Many had written him off as a has-been

Premier huge success

Ninth Symphony

Ninth symphony1

Ninth Symphony

  • Starts as standard four movements

    • Fast

    • Scherzo

    • Slow

  • But then

    • Choral Finale

  • Choral finale added late

  • Revolutionary – had never been done before

Ninth symphony2

Ninth Symphony

  • Symphony as a whole huge

    • Each movement lengthy

    • Overall sound large

    • Chorus in finale adds to sense of overpowering sound

    • Sense of vastness, monumental scope

Ninth symphony first movement

Ninth Symphony, First Movement

  • Large sonata form

  • Big sweeping gestures

  • At times dense passages

  • Quiet beginning – open sounds

  • Recapitulation

    • Massive sound – contrast with beginning

    • To some invokes terror

  • Big coda

Ninth recapitulation metaphors

Ninth Recapitulation Metaphors

  • [the first theme] stands on F#-A-D…for twelve long bars (immovable like a terrifying specter, like the gloomily flaming Earth-Spirit which stood before Faust, which he con­jured up but could not withstand)—until in the twelfth bar—again at the last moment, the last eighth-note—it turns first to Eb and three bars later to the tonic, to D minor to conclude the opening period. To conclude?—no, that is not within the power of this troubled Giant-Spirit.

    • A. B. Marx

Beethoven in america

  • This is the paroxysm of the tempest – the three apparitions of God on Sinai . . . totally surrounded by lightning and thunder. . . . we are at the heart of the hurricane. Masses of sound collide violently. The winds set themselves up in contrapuntal opposition to the strings; and the lightning bolts intertwine, both from the heights and depths.

    • Romain Rolland

Beethoven in america

  • Hitherto we have known the opening as pianissimo, and only the subtlety of Beethoven's feeling for tone has enabled us to feel that it was vast in sound as well as in spaciousness. Now we are brought into the midst of it, and instead of a distant nebula we see the heavens on fire. There is something terrible about this major tonic, and it is almost a relief when it turns into the minor as the orchestra crashes into the main theme, no longer in unison, but with a bass rising in answer to the fall of the melody.

    • Donald Francis Tovey,

Beethoven in america

  • And if the thrusting impulse characteristic of tonality and the aggression characteristic of first themes were not enough, Beethoven's symphonies acid two other dimensions to the history of style: assaultive pelvic pounding (for instance, in the last movement of the Fifth Symphony and in all but the "passive" third movement of the Ninth) and sexual violence. The point of recapitulation in the first movement of' the Ninth is one of the most horrifying moments in music, as the carefully prepared cadence is frustrated, damming up energy which finally explodes in the throttling, murderous rage of a rapist incapable of attaining release.

    • Susan McClary

Beethoven ninth second movement

Beethoven Ninth Second Movement

  • Scherzo

  • ABA – Scherzo and Trio Form

  • A section expanded – with imitation

  • Timpani featured

  • (Think Huntley-Brinkley)

Beethoven ninth third movement

Beethoven Ninth Third Movement

  • Lyrical adagio

  • Double Theme and Variation

  • First theme – long line, flowing B-flat major

  • Second theme – smaller range, tighter motive – D major

Ninth symphony finale

Ninth Symphony Finale

  • Text based on Shiller poem of 1785

  • About universal brotherhood

Beethoven in america

  • Falls into several sections

    • Opening – instrumental

      • Fragments of first three movements heard

      • Recitative-like passage

      • Instrumental variations on Ode to Joy

    • Baritone enters – “Not these tones, but let us sing of joy”

      • Music mirrors opening instrumental recitative

      • Symbolic rejection of earlier movements

Beethoven in america

  • Solo voices and chorus alternate with verses of Schiller’s Ode

  • New section – Turkish march

  • New Idea – “Seid unschlungen”

  • Old and new ideas put together

  • Large coda

Beethoven grosse fuge op 133

Beethoven – Grosse Fuge, Op. 133

  • Originally finale of String Quartet Op. 130

  • Publisher suggested it be published as separate piece



  • Polyphonic piece based on imitation

    • First voice enters with theme (called subject)

    • Next voice enters with theme – first voice continues with other material (countersubject)

    • Continues until all voices in

    • Fugue then consists of further statements of subject in different keys alternating with passages where no subject is heard (episodes)

    • There is no set number of statement of the subject

Grosse fuge

Grosse Fuge

  • Giant fuge in several sections (unusal for fugue)

  • Piece has stark, taut quality to it.

  • Not “pretty.” Is it ugly.

    • Question is the basis for extended philosophical discussion in Copying Beethoven

Copying beethoven

Copying Beethoven

  • 2006 film

  • Ninth Symphony premier approaches

  • Beethoven needs a copyist

  • The conservatory sends a woman

    • Basis for conflict

    • Film raises many gender issues

    • Ninth Symphony and Grosse Fuge play prominent roles

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