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Lecture 8

MUS111H1 Lecture 8: Beethoven and Romantic Music

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Greg Johnston

MUS111 Lecture 8 Beethoven Symphony No.3 in E-flat, Op.55 (1803) • Title page of the “Eroica” with Napoleon’s name scratched out • Unprecedented length and complexity • one movement is longer than anything Mozart did o demanding to listen to • Beginning of a literary style o called “Heroic symphony” because he admire Napoleon and what he’s done • Beethoven wasn’t so sure how it’s put together • Beethoven themes chosen for melodic and harmonic potential o opening theme is just a chord o melody outlines a particular chord • First movement has five themes with others added to the development section o Usually movements have first theme we can’t really sing o second theme is more lyrical [narrative] ▪ themes playing off against each other o But Beethoven starts off with 5 themes and adds another one later on • Themes recur in different movements • Description of the song: o songs have much energy and drive o repetition keeps developing and changing Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 (1807-08) • most important in Beethoven’s life • the whole first movement is a motive, not really a melody and because it’s built on a harmony, you can do anything with it • Thematic unification of all movements through opening motive o he uses this in all the movements, everything comes back and unifies all 4 movements rd th • No break between 3 and 4 movement, it just runs into it • Starts in C minor but ends in C major by the time you get to 4 movement o very dramatic and story-telling change o he challenges faith by taking it from c minor and turns it into a success • First use of the trombone in a symphony o trombones would be used in only church music, never used in Haydn or Mozart Symphony No. 6 in D, Op. 68 (1808) • These kinds of concerts were opportunities for him to make money by selling subscriptions • Concerts were always new and a program symphony • “Programme Symphony” in keeping with his literary approach, each movement with its own • heading: Awakening of cheerful feelings on arriving in the country o scene by the brook o Merry making of the peasants o storm o thankful feelings after the storm • Idea of making the music personal, making it in 5 movements • Violently the 5 symphony starts • Don’t know what to expect [don’t plan] III: Meditative, Transcendent or Introspective Period (1816-27) • Very difficult sonatas • Last 5 piano sonatas, Missa solemnis, the Diabelli Variations, Symphony Nr.9 (Op. 125), and the last string quartets from 1824-26 o create art for the chosen few, was deaf at the time o worked more with variation forms but not similar with Haydn [theme, variation 1 and 2] o Beethoven modifies and evolves Symphony No.9 in D minor, Op.125 (1824) • 1.5 hours long, exceeding long • Beethoven’s setting of Schiller’s “Ode to Joy” • But movement is so long, he switches the order around o we expect to hear first movement has sonata allegro and second one as andante, and third one as minute and trio and last one is rondo o but he switches the two middle movements around • second movement is a Scirto o he slows down to an andante o he throws in voices [choir and soloist in the end] • First symphony to use chorus and vocal soloist • use of bass drums, triangle and cymbals, piccolo • based on a poem is Schiller’s Ode to Joy”, a call for universal brotherhood o positive reflection of life • hand-picked the soloists which were young voices/singers o even though he was deaf, he never heard them sing • he gives a bit of a recap in his movements to pull everything together • long set of variations of the same melody • the drum, triangle etc. = military instruments used by the Turkish army o So it’s also a matter of faith and confession, Islam pushing against the Christian world • Beethoven’s last appearance in public, withdrawals after that String quartet in C-sharp minor, Op. 131 (1826) • Extremely contrapuntal and experimental • various contrapuntal techniques of the Baroque, but in unusual ways o he relies on technique more • harmonically extremely experimental • varying lengths, varying numbers of movements not just 4 • Beethoven’s funeral in Vienne, 1827 o thousands of people showed up to it o his entire career on being a musician 19 century and Romanticism • Period about personal, introspective and subjectivness as an individual • power of nature in the 19 century • idea of wandering, going out and being by yourself in the world and feeling that you’re part of that world and observing it • Cult of the Individual feeling o individual poets and writing personal expressions o art is now something that is a personal statement o composers, musicians don’t want to be like others • Romanticism and Revolution o American Revolution 177
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