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Orchestral Music after Beethoven 21 January 2004.

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Presentation on theme: "Orchestral Music after Beethoven 21 January 2004."— Presentation transcript:

1 Orchestral Music after Beethoven 21 January 2004

2 Orchestral Genres  Symphony  Program symphony  ‘Absolute’ symphony  Concerto  Concert overture  Incidental music  Symphonic poem  Choral symphony  Solo voice plus orchestra

3 19thC Symphonic Tradition Symphonic music expensive to put on, but prominent in public concerts Number of musicians in orchestra nearly doubled from the 18th century – from 30-40 players to 60+ This increase in size (length and orchestra) meant that many composers spent much time deliberating over their symphonies Numerous 19th century composers were also active as conductors, often sponsoring and organizing concerts of their work, e.g. Berlioz, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Liszt, Brahms, Mahler and Bruckner

4 The Beethoven Legacy 19 th C composers of orchestral music had to contend with Beethoven legacy During the 19th century, Beethoven’s music reigned at concerts Composers either accepted or rejected Beethoven’s musical legacy: –Division in symphonic writing traditions, largely determined by composers’ opinion on program vs. absolute writing vis-à-vis symphonies of Beethoven: Nos. 1-2, 4, 7: no program – absolute music Nos. 3, 5, 6, 9: implicitly or explicitly programmatic Following Beethoven, a division occurred amongst 19thC orchestral composers (some overlap): –Those who wrote standard, unnamed symphonies (absolute) –Those whose symphonic works had a literary or social influence - Absolute vs. program music - Progressive vs. conservative

5 Absolute Symphonic Music Composers who continued to adhere to traditional, absolute music conventions included Schubert, Brahms, Bruckner, Mendelssohn, and Tchaikovsky –These composers tended to respect the orchestral traditions of the classical era –Symphonies are cast in four movements (F-S- M-F arrangement) –Adherence to standard structures associated with each movement

6 Franz Schubert (1797-1828) Born into a humble home in Vienna No formal training in music; made music at home and school Origin career plan: school teacher His life: constant struggle financially and health-wise

7 Franz Schubert Composed ceaselessly, dying at 31, yet large output Symphonic writing inspired by: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven’s early works, Rossini’s operas Symphonies: lyrical, harmonically experimental, emotional, expansion of and adherence to traditional forms Symphony No. 8 (“Unfinished”) (D. 759, 1822): –Only two movements –Much speculation about why he did not “finish” this piece –not performed until 37 years after his death

8 Johannes Brahms (1833-97) Recognized as the ‘next Beethoven’, and was extremely successful and famous throughout the world Suffered from “Beethoven angst” Took him over 20 years to write his first symphony –started his first symphony in 1855, and didn’t finish it until 1876 His first symphony was dubbed Beethoven’s 10th He composed four symphonies: –Show complexity, breadth and largess of the Romantic ideal –Yet adherence to the structures and forms of the classical era

9 “Traditionalists” Brahms: Symphony no. 1 in C minor, Op. 68 (1876) –conventional four movement form (fast, slow, medium, fast) –The tonal areas for each movement demonstrate Brahms’ indebtedness to Beethoven –Cyclical unity between movements by return of motivic material from the first movement introduction Brahms as symphonist: traditionalist, believing and proving that important things could still be said in the forms and idioms of the classic era: –created style that was dedicated to the purity of the classical style –avoided literary and poetic influences of other composers of this period Other composers continued in absolute music stream: Bruckner Many 19th C symphonists wrote both absolute and programmatic symphonies: Mendelssohn, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky

10 Concertos Another non-programmatic orchestral genre prominent in 19thC Ideal for virtuosic soloists Many composers adhered to structures and ideas of classical concertos, often with expansion of forms (three movements typical) Dialogue between soloist and orchestra Franz Liszt (1811-86), Piano Concerto No. 1 in E flat (1835–56) –Shows lyricism and potential of the instrument –Three movements

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