3 Ludwig van Beethoven (1) (1770-1827) Son & grandson of Bonn court musiciansTo Vienna in 1792 to study with HaydnBegan a career as pianist & composerProgressive deafness diagnosed in 1802Beethoven considered suicideChose to devote his life to his art insteadHis music now took on a new urgencyForceful, strong-willed, uncompromisingHe all but demanded support from nobility
4 Ludwig van Beethoven (2) (1770-1827) Probably the 1st person to make a career solely from composingSeen as a genius, he seemed to live for his artMany affairs, but he never marriedTotally deaf by 1820Adopted his orphan nephew in later yearsBeethoven was much too overprotectiveShock of his nephew’s suicide attempt hastened his own death20,000 attended Beethoven’s funeral
5 Beethoven and the Symphony (1) Beethoven created excitement & urgency by maximizing musical elementsHigher and lower registersSharper syncopations & stronger accentsHarsher dissonances that must struggle to arrive at yet more profound resolutionsNew demands on instrumentsExpansion of the orchestraClassical forms stretched to their limits
6 Beethoven and the Symphony (2) Beethoven wrote only nine symphoniesHe wrote many more piano sonatas (32) & string quartets (16)But Beethoven is associated especially with the symphonyWrote some of the greatest symphonies everOrchestra provided the greatest range of expression, variety, & sheer volumeEven his sonatas & quartets of sound like symphonies – and require new techniques of piano & string playing!
7 Beethoven and the Symphony (3) Beethoven’s “symphonic ideal” can be observed in his Fifth Symphony (1808)Three main features have impressed generations of listenersRhythmic driveMotivic consistencyPsychological progression
8 Rhythmic DriveBlunt, even ferocious rhythms produce a palpable physical impactBeethoven hammers the meterEmphasizes meter & disrupts it with equal vigorPiles accent upon accent, rhythm upon rhythmRhythmic motives surge forwardLong-range rhythmic planning & goalsA far cry from the elegance & wit of Classical style
9 Motivic Consistency Constant repetition of a single motive Especially in 1st movement of Symphony 5Motive repeated, yet constantly variedVariations never sound randomMotive becomes more significant & vivid as work progressesCreates a feeling of organic growth – like a plant’s leaves growing from a single seed
10 Psychological Progression Symphony no longer simply 4 contrasting movementsBeethoven now traces a coherent & dramatic psychological progression“There fate knocks at the door!”Beethoven on the 1st movementBut Fate is trampled under by a military march in the the last movementSymphony now expresses an inspirational life process – a drama to rival opera!
11 The Scherzo Beethoven substitutes a scherzo for the traditional minuet Italian word scherzo = jokeAristocratic minuet too formalScherzo shares a few features with minuetA B A form & triple meterBut scherzo was much fasterRhythmic drive & frequent syncopation give it a brusque, jocular, even violent feel
12 Beethoven, Symphony No. 5, I (1) Motivic consistency prominent hereA single rhythmic motive dominatesIt forms the first themeIt initiates the bridgeIt appears as background to lyrical 2nd themeIt emerges again in the cadence material
13 Beethoven, Symphony No. 5, I (2) It is used throughout the developmentIt continues to grow in the long codaMotive gives the work a gripping urgency
14 Beethoven, Symphony No. 5, I (3) Listen for—Arresting, primal first statement of Theme 1 motives separated by fermatasHorn-call bridge announces Theme 2Theme 1 variant announces the developmentThematic fragmentation in the developmentOboe cadenza in the recapitulationRecapitulation’s 2nd group in major keyLONG, developmental coda with new themeMain motive repeated & varied in every bar!
15 The Remaining Movements First movement ends with a standoff at the end of a heroic struggleLater movements respond to and resolve this struggleThe rhythmic motive recurs in each movement to remind us of the struggleC minor passages also recall the struggleC major passages point to the ultimate triumph over Fate
16 Beethoven, Symphony No. 5, II Double theme & variations formSix variations on Theme 1Primary key is A-flat majorModulates to C major 3 times for powerful, triumphant fanfare passagesRhythmic motive appears in mysterious retransition to A-flat
17 Beethoven, Symphony No. 5, III (1) Scherzo movement in A B A formA section recalls 1st movementSpooky a theme is in C minor with fermata interruptionsRhythmic motive dominates forceful b theme
18 Beethoven, Symphony No. 5, III (2) B section (Trio) points to Fate’s defeatHumorous fugal section in C majorReturn of A completely transformedMysterious pizzicato & oboeLeads into doubly mysterious transition
19 Beethoven, Symphony No. 5, IV (1) Eerie transition leads directly into IVRhythmic motive in timpaniMusic grows gradually louder & clearerAt climax, full orchestra (with trombones) announces marchlike 1st theme of the 4th movement – in C majorStraightforward sonata form movementTheme 2 based on the rhythmic motive
20 Beethoven, Symphony No. 5, IV (2) End of development brings back 3rd movement’s b theme & eerie transitionA final reminder of the struggleRecapitulation & coda provide a great C-major celebrationNo surprises in recapitulationLONG coda in three sections revisits previous themesFinal section accelerates tempo for a rousing Presto finaleEnding drives home C major chord
21 ConclusionsThe dramatic strength & rhythmic power of this work went far beyond earlier musicBeethoven unified the symphonyMotives appear in more than one movementMovements can be connected without pauseThe symphony narrates a dramatic “story”Beethoven single-handedly changed the nature of the symphony genreNever again would the symphony be a simple entertainment
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