Beethoven’s “Third Period” (1) Beethoven’s music is often divided into three style periods 1st period (until ca. 1800) – works that build on the Classical style of Haydn & Mozart 2nd period (ca. 1800 to ca. 1818) – “heroic” works like the Eroica and Fifth Symphonies 3rd period (ca. 1818 to 1827) – music becomes more abstract, introspective, & serene
Beethoven’s “Third Period” (2) 3rd period works favor intimate genres Especially string quartets & piano sonatas Even so, the mighty Ninth Symphony dates from this period Melds earlier strength with a new spirituality & gentleness Beethoven breaks down Classical features Potent control of contrast & musical flow New freedom of form & range of expression Previous disruptions become breaks & breaches in the musical fabric
Beethoven, String Quartet in F, Op. 135 Unusual third period movement plans Seven-movement string quartet (Op. 127) Two-movement piano sonata (Op. 111) Op. 135 almost seems ordinary Four-movement format But slow movement & scherzo reversed Movement II a genuine scherzo Full of rhythmic play & mad humor Also full of jolts & even violent shocks!
Beethoven, String Quartet in F, II (1) Typical scherzo A B A form Fast triple meter with frequent syncopation Many unusual, playful features The simplest of a themes (A-G-F – like “Three blind mice”) – but always on the wrong beat & always switching voices
Beethoven, String Quartet in F, II (2) The disruptive “wrong note” that begins b The Trio’s very free form – with odd modulations from F to G to A (cf. a theme!) The Trio’s ferocious ff explosion
Beethoven in 1822 Compare this scherzo with Rochlitz’s account of an 1822 visit with Beethoven His talk and his actions all formed a chain of eccentricities, in most part peculiar. Yet they all radiated a truly childlike amiability, carelessness, and confidence in every one who approached him. Even his barking tirades…are only explosions of his fanciful imagination and his momentary excitement. They are…simply blustered out lightly, good-humoredly, the offsprings of a mad, humorous mood.