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Beethoven 3 Essay

1927 words - 8 pages

Beethoven Events of the day matter less in a study of Beethoven (1770-1827) than they do in most other composers. However, certain factors need to be taken into consideration when one is looking at his composition method. He never moved from Vienna and only ever left the city for any lengthy period either to take a summer holiday - which was only a holiday in the sense that he could devote himself to composition more entirely without interruption - or to visit Baden and elsewhere for the sake of his general health or in his attempts to find a cure for his deafness. In Vienna his success as a composer centred around performances in friends houses or in the concert hall. He was not always in poverty but never became rich and died poor. Almost the whole of the remainder of his life story is the series of difficulties he had with money matters, his troubles with sponging relatives, the opposition to his work by professional musicians and the faithful admiration extended to him by amateurs.Outside the purely personal considerations one must not overlook the drastic changes which passed over the whole of European society in Beethoven's lifetime. Twice during the most productive part of Beethoven's life, Vienna was occupied by Napoleon's armies but his work went steadily forward. Nevertheless, the ideas that brought those armies into existence was sweeping across Europe. The spirit of independent thought and action was stirring and it was this that eventually gave birth to the inventive genius of the 19th century. It animated the poetic thought of Goethe and Schiller and infused itself into the music of Beethoven from the Sonata Appassionata to the ninth symphony.This spirit might be the strongest reason for Beethoven's slow working and his comparatively small output. Haydn and Mozart could turn out symphonies and quartets by the dozen because they accepted certain principles of order without question. Beethoven, on the other hand, considered every work a matter of strong personal conviction. When, in later life, he looked back at earlier works he was disgusted by how much he had taken for granted. Now he felt that his ideas as he first put them on paper did not represent his feelings truly and accurately. He adopted the plan of putting them down just as they came, merely catching a glimpse of his though as it passed. Then he sifted them, discovering what part really represented that thought; what was the chance of the moment or due to mere convention of style. And so, rejecting the latter and perfecting what he felt to be genuine, he gradually formed his melodies, extended them, and moulded them into complete shape.Beethoven adopted the habit of sketching in innumerable notebooks. He always carried one with him, made of rough greyish paper, more like wrapping paper than for writing, crudely sewn, presumably by himself. A great many of these notebooks with their priceless contents have been lost, but a good number remain and are, thanks to the efforts...

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