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Beethoven’s Musical Reality Essay

1166 words - 5 pages

Dating back to the Renaissance, the arts have been reconceived as a ways of exploring the universe, complementary to the sciences. Beethoven was perhaps the “first composer for whom an exploratory function of music took precedence over every other: pleasure, instruction, and even, at times, expression” (Rosen). This approach to the composition and theory of music is one of the many early aspects of Beethoven’s talent that sets him apart from any other artist of the time.
As aforementioned, Beethoven had some severe social issues—some authors consider him to have a very defined ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ relationship with himself. “The really important thing about Beethoven—his music—is largely ...view middle of the document...

After the Pathétique was published, the next two works, the piano sonatas in E and G major (Op. 14) lift their cheery spirits as if to say, “Well, after all, fate may seal the outer ear, but it cannot close up the ears of a musicians mind” (Schlindler).
Throughout his time at Vienna, Beethoven “increasingly relied directly upon the fundamental tonal relationships for material” and therefore created unique music abundantly (Rosen). One of Beethoven’s “gems” of his earlier years in Vienna was the opening movement of his Fourth Quartet in C minor (Op. 18), the allegro ma non tanto (Burk). Though the principal theme bears an inordinately close resemblance to the basic theme of his Sonate Pathétique, there is nothing ‘pathetique’ about this “virile, self-assured music” (Forbes I). This segment of soul poured onto paper by Beethoven has been called “an utterance straight from the innermost heart of the young Master. A new note had been stuck. A deeper level of the psyche, heretofore voiceless, had been reached and set free for musical expression” (Schauffler). Not quite yet breaking free from all tendencies of older, more developed composers, Beethoven’s first symphony leaned heavily on the more rococo qualities of Haydn and Mozart both (Knight).
Now around the age of 28, his close circle of friends noticed that he had “began to lose the more quiet, retiring manner of his youth, and to take a somewhat high tone” (Forbes I). Coming from such an unstable family life and prodigal upbringing, Beethoven’s limited command over his emotions was fairly natural in such a highly temperamental man such as himself. “In social intercourse, as in his art, he would suddenly make the most unexpected transition of mood, but without harmonizing the transition as he so well knew how to do in music” (Newman, E). Much of what he said in public gatherings during his early years bears an “unconscious witness to a proud sense of his own strength” (Schindler). As he grew into manhood “his arrogance and self-sufficiency became less noticeable in matters of music, but took the curious form of the most unwarrantable interference with the lives of his relations” (Newman, E). A prime and primary example of this accusation is a short statement from Beethoven in a letter he wrote in 1802 when he said that he values his friends “merely by what they do for me…I regard them simply as instruments on which I play when I please” (Schauffler).
Growing into such a difficult disposition,...

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