- August 20, 2012
- Posted by: essay
- Category: Free essays
Beethoven is one of the greatest classics of the world music. The novelty of the content of Beethoven’s music, marked by extreme emotional and dramatic force and depth of thought, led to the renewal and enrichment of the musical means of expression. The composer was the apex of the Vienna classical school and had an enormous influence on the further development of the world music culture.
Beethoven is surely one of the greatest phenomena of the world culture. His oeuvre occupies a place alongside such the titans of artistic thought, as Tolstoy, Rembrandt and Shakespeare. From the philosophical and democratic point of view, the courage of Beethoven’s innovation cannot to be equalled in the musical culture of Europe of the past centuries. The great awakening of the peoples, heroics and drama of the revolutionary era are marked in the creative work of this composer. Being an appeal to the whole mankind, his music was a bold challenge to the aesthetics of the feudal aristocracy (Chua 409-421).
Beethoven’s music is much different from the music of the Enlightenment composers. It entails a huge charge of energy, accumulation of feelings; an important feature of Beethoven’s aesthetics is a sense of harmony with the world, the connection with humanity and the world in whole. His creation is imbued with the force, faith, and joy of life that came to the music with the beginning of the romantic era.
Beethoven started giving music lessons back in Bonn. His Bonn student Stephen Breuning till the end remained composer’s most faithful friend. Breuning helped Beethoven to alter the libretto of Fidelio. In Vienna, a young Countess Giulietta Guicciardi became Beethoven’s pupil. Beethoven was fond of her and even dedicated his Moonlight Sonata to her. Teresa Brunswick also was Beethoven’s student. She was not only musically gifted, she also perfectly played the piano, sang, and even orchestrated. Another Beethoven’s student was Dorothea Ertman, one of the finest pianists in Germany. Ertman was famous for her performance of Beethoven works. The composer dedicated Sonata No.28 to her (Lockwood 53-64).
At the end of 1801 Ferdinand Ries arrived to Vienna. Ferdinand was the son of the Bonn chapel-master, Beethoven’s family friend. Like other Beethoven’s students, Ries was already skilful piano player and composer. Once during a walk Beethoven was murmuring a tune. Having arrived home he immediately sat at the piano and was so excited that forgot about the presence of his pupil. Thus, the finale of Appassionata was born.
Simultaneously with Ries, Beethoven began giving lessons to Carl Czerny. Carl was probably the only child among Beethoven’s pupils. He was only 9, but was already performing with the orchestra. Czerny had an amazing memory: he knew all the piano works of his teacher by heart. Czerny early started his teaching career and soon became one of the best teachers in Vienna. Among his pupils was T.Leschetizky, one of the Russian piano school founders. Czerny was extraordinarily prolific composer and wrote over 1000 works of different genres, but was most famous for his etudes. It is difficult to count the generations of musicians, brought up on these mandatory for every pianist fingers fluency schools. Czerny also edited sonatas of Scarlatti and Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier (Lockwood 57-64).
In 1822, Franz Liszt came to Czerny. His success was so great that the teacher gave him the permission to play to the public. Beethoven attended this concert. He acknowledged the boy’s talent and kissed him. Liszt kept the memory of that kiss for life. Liszt could be called the true disciple of Beethoven. Like Beethoven, Liszt treats the piano as an orchestra. While touring Europe, he promoted the Beethoven’s works, performing not only his piano compositions, but also symphonies, which he adapted for the piano. In those days, Beethoven music, especially his symphonies, were unknown to the wide audience.
The activity of Beethoven unfolded in a complex historical period associated with the French Revolution. The best works of the composer were inspired by the heroic struggle for freedom, the idea of universal brotherhood, deep belief in the moral purity and strength of the people. This explains oratorical expressive melody of the composer, the power of his orchestral and choral language. Revolutionary ideas and images are embodied in his symphonies, particularly in the images of grand folk processions – mournful, triumphant, and celebratory ones (3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th Symphonies). High pathetics is also inherent to oratorial works by Beethoven (Christ on the Mount of Olives, 1803; Missa Solemnis, 1822) and the heroic scenes of the opera Fidelio (1805), representing one of the highest achievements in opera of the early 19th century (Chua 409-421).
Sonata in Beethoven’s creative work reaches the inexorable logic of development and dramatic tension, which haven’t been surpassed by composers of subsequent generations. In particular, this is applicable to 32 piano sonatas, among which Pathetique, Appassionata and Waldstein are the most popular masterpieces. Beethoven opened and took full advantage of sonata form’s diverse possibilities, so that his work marks the culmination of classical ideas of sonata, and simultaneously, the beginning of its decay. In these works, the lyrical side of composer’s talent found its finest expression. Lyrical beginning also prevails in his songs; here Beethoven’s personality comes into organic combination with the image thinking of the people. His Irish and Scottish songs, the cycle To the Distant Beloved are a response to the newly-emerging Romantic movement in European music (Senner 115-127).
An outstanding mouthpiece of this new trend was Franz Schubert, in whose works the art of song reached its peak. Songs by Schubert, closely associated with folk and domestic origins of Vienna’s musical culture, became a particularly important milestone in the development of classical music. Marked with deep lyricism and democratic in their orientation, the songs of Schubert followed dramatic trends, especially in last years of composer’s life. Being the nearest followers of Beethoven, Schubert’s sonata for solo instruments and piano duets are full of extraordinary beauty of the harmonic and melodic language and abound in expressive dramatic episodes (Senner 131-140).
Before 1845 four piano sonatas were created by C.M. von Weber and three piano sonatas by F. Mendelssohn, R. Schumann and F. Chopin, which marked the beginning of the Romantic era. An important manifestation of romantic composers’ inclination to the growing unity of sonata cycle (unity achieved by Beethoven through stylistic and dramatic integrity of the concept) was the direct application of monothematic technique, establishing one thematic idea in all the parts, often in connection with the literary program. Monothematic technique was also inherent to sonata cycles C. Franck (1822-1890), including the popular Sonata for Violin and Piano (1886) and Symphony in D minor (1888) (Chua 409-421).
Symphony is the most serious and responsible genre of orchestral music. Like in novel or drama, a diverse range of phenomena of life in all their complexity and diversity is available for symphonies (Bonds 1-5). Beethoven’s symphonies have their roots in the development of instrumental music by 18th century, especially in his predecessors Haydn and Mozart. The sonata-symphony cycle prevailing in their works and its graceful designs reasonably became a solid foundation for the massive architecture of Beethoven’s symphonies. Principles of operatic drama applied to the symphony, helped to deepen the contrast and enlargement of the overall plan of symphony. Following in the footsteps of Haydn and Mozart, Beethoven created majestic tragedies and dramas in symphonic instrumental forms. Distinction between the art of Beethoven and the symphony of the 18th century is primarily marked through its thematics, ideological content, and character of musical images (Bonds 44-57).
The famous composer Berlioz is widely known for his program symphonies: they particularly brightly and daring embodied typical features of his innovative art. Not reaching the philosophical scope of Beethoven, Shakespeare or Goethe, Berlioz’s symphony nevertheless is close to them by inspiration of thought and the broadness of ideas. In this sense, Berlioz is a true successor to Beethoven’s symphony. Romantic images in Berlioz’s symphonies obtained Beethoven-like generalized expression. Berlioz, who considered himself Beethovens follower, noted that in the music of the great Viennese symphonist poetic idea was felt everywhere, but the music totally dominated, not needing words to achieve the accuracy of expression (Lockwood 450-456).
Second half of the 19th century was marked by a new rise of creativity of Austrian composers, the emergence of large individuals, the birth of new genres of music. In 1862 in Vienna settled Brahms, a sequential continuer of classic traditions, who was yet closely linked with the heritage of romantic school. The dramatic nature of Brahms’ music unites it with the works of Beethoven. During the crisis of symphony in the West Brahms with his creativity proved the viability of this genre and the possibility of its further development (Bond 88-93).
Concluding the era of musical classicism, Ludwig van Beethoven at the same time cleared the way for the advancing age. His music is above all that was created by his contemporaries and the generation coming after him, resonating in the searches of far later times. Beethoven’s views on the future are amazing. Until now the ideas and musical practice of genius Beethoven’s art are not exhausted. Beethoven’s creative energy was like rushing river, sweeping on its way the last bastions of musical classicism and cleared the direction for a new romantic trend.
Not only composer’s works, but his outlook and way of life influenced the Romantic composers.