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(1770-1827).  Beethoven grew up when Haydn and Mozart were still actively composing; he studied the Classical style.  He lived well into the 19 th century.

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Presentation on theme: "(1770-1827).  Beethoven grew up when Haydn and Mozart were still actively composing; he studied the Classical style.  He lived well into the 19 th century."— Presentation transcript:

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2  Beethoven grew up when Haydn and Mozart were still actively composing; he studied the Classical style.  He lived well into the 19 th century when Romanticism was blossoming. He was a beneficiary of the change (from Classical to a Romantic style) and partly responsible for it.  He took forms, procedures and ideas from the Classical period and developed them beyond their previously accepted limits.  He enlarged the orchestra, changed musical structure, added a chorus to the symphony and told narratives with purely instrumental works.  He was a child of one era and a father of the next.

3  Born in 1770 into a family of musicians.  Father and Grandfather were professional musicians at the court of the Elector of the German town of Bonn  Father was an alcoholic, so as a teenager, Beethoven was put in charge of the family finances. He began a job at the court where he studied organ and composition and took care of the instruments. It was at this time that he began to compose songs and chamber works.

4  In 1790, Franz Joseph Haydn passed through Bonn on his way to London.  Beethoven and Haydn meet and Haydn agrees that upon his return to Vienna, Beethoven would study with him.  In 1792, Beethoven moves to Vienna to study with Haydn, a great master.  The lessons did not go well; Haydn was old fashioned and Beethoven was rebellious and headstrong.  Beethoven was able to stay in Vienna and find work as a pianist. Prince Lichnowsky gave him room and board in return for piano music at parties and original compositions.

5  Early, Beethoven mainly wrote keyboard and chamber-music pieces.  As time passed, he decided to compose larger musical forms: string quartet, piano concerto and symphony  At age 32, he had written piano sonatas, lots of chamber music, six string quartets, three piano concertos and two symphonies.  Showing signs of individuality: 1 st symphony deliberately begins in the wrong key, 3 rd piano concerto features a unifying rhythm and the last movement of an early string quartet has a slow introduction (Melancholy)

6  In 1802, Beethoven discovers that he is going deaf  He contemplated suicide, but overcame this by deciding that his first responsibility was to produce the works that he had in his mind.  In 1817, Beethoven could not hear a single note and communicated by means of an ear trumpet and a notebook slung around his neck.  His deafness prevented him from performing or conducting, but he composed until the end of his life by hearing all of the notes in his head.

7  Beethoven’s middle period included a focus on work with a sense of triumph over adversity. This period is often called the Heroic Period  In one of his letters, Beethoven writes, “I will seize Fate by the throat”.  He had extraordinary productivity in this period from  He composed six more symphonies, four concertos, five more string quartets, an opera, orchestral overtures, piano sonatas and chamber music.  The music during this time is strong and confident with contrasting passages of great lyricism. They are also larger in scope (in the 3 rd symphony, the first movement is longer than complete symphonies of Haydn and Mozart)  Beethoven became popular during this period and his music was regarded as strong and patriotic (his homeland was at war with France)

8  Family crisis: Beethoven’s brother dies and leaves Beethoven and his widow joint custody of his son, Karl  This caused Beethoven great turmoil and distress. Having never married, he decided to seek sole legal custody of his nephew.  He ultimately won his long, exhausting custody battle and his nephew came to live with him.  His relationship with his nephew was stormy because Beethoven was strict and possessive.  At age nineteen, Karl pawned his watch, bought two pistols and tried to kill himself.  After this incident, Karl was allowed to return to his mother and he escaped Beethoven’s domination by joining the army.

9  Beethoven gradually regains productivity  His most important works of this period includes: the last three piano sonatas, the Ninth Symphony and a series of string quartets.  Piano Sonatas are unusual in form and design, juxtapose complexity and simplicity  Ninth Symphony, revolutionary in that it includes a choir and four vocal soloists. (The use of a choir in a symphony was unheard of at this time) The text for the last movement is a poem by Schiller: the Ode to Joy. Summation= “Let Joy bring everyone together: all men will be brothers; let all kneel before God.”  Beethoven’s last three years were devoted to composing string quartets  He died on March 26, 1827 at the age of 56

10  Stylistic traits include:  1. Long powerful crescendos that seem to carry the music inexorably forward  2. Themes that sound exactly right played quietly and very loud;  3. Dramatic use of Classic structures such as sonata form;  4. Sudden key changes that nonetheless fit into a powerful harmonic logic.

11  During the latter part of Beethoven’s life, newspapers begin to emerge and print music reviews.  As it is today, reviewers are not always fond of new music. Here are a few reviews of Beethoven’s music…  On the Third Symphony, “It is infinitely too lengthy….If this symphony is not by some means abridged, it will soon fall into disuse.”  On the Ninth Symphony, “crude, wild, and extraneous harmonies” “…ugly, in bad taste, cheap.”  On all his music: “Beethoven always sounds to me like the upsetting of bags of nails, with here and there also a dropped hammer.”


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