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Chris
09-25-2000, 09:20 PM
I have never heard this piece, and I was wondering something about it. It is really just for two violins or are there other instruments that provide accompaniment?

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"Wagner's music is better than it sounds." - Mark Twain

Michael
09-26-2000, 01:33 AM
WoO34 is a "late" period work but it's only 19 seconds long! It was written in 1822 for the French violinist, Alexandre Boucher and it is for two violins only.
WoO35 is another short piece (26 seconds), entitled Canon in A major and the CD booklet says "probably for two violins". It was written in 1825 and inscribed to the Dutch painter Otto de Boer.
B. wrote a much more substantial piece in 1796-7 for the unusual combination of viola and cello. It is known for its whimsical title: "DUET WITH TWO OBLIGGATO EYEGLASSES" (WoO 32). It is believed to have been written for B's friend, Baron Zmeskall who was an accomplished cellist while B himself had played the viola at the Bonn court. Both men wore spectacles, so the title looks like something B himself would have put on it! There are only two movements, the first is a fine allegro, nearly nine minutes long, followed by a shorter allegretto. I think there is some doubt about the second movement actually belonging to the first, but I'm not sure about this.
Incidentally, there was a query in a music magazine a few years ago as to what was the shortest piece of music ever written. The magazine suggested a bagatelle from Beethoven's Opus 119 which was 9 to 11 seconds long, depending on the performer! I'm sure somebody will come up with something shorter.

Michael

Chris
09-26-2000, 03:47 AM
Hmmm...so duets can have any number of movements (to the Classical way of thinking)?

Rod
09-26-2000, 11:52 AM
Originally posted by Chris:
Hmmm...so duets can have any number of movements (to the Classical way of thinking)?

Why not?

Rod

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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

Rod
09-26-2000, 12:00 PM
Originally posted by Michael:
... The magazine suggested a bagatelle from Beethoven's Opus 119 which was 9 to 11 seconds long, depending on the performer! I'm sure somebody will come up with something shorter.

Michael

Certainly this must at least be the shortest published composition. I've heard nothing else as short as this.

Rod


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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

Peter
09-26-2000, 02:10 PM
Originally posted by Michael:
The magazine suggested a bagatelle from Beethoven's Opus 119 which was 9 to 11 seconds long, depending on the performer! I'm sure somebody will come up with something shorter.

Michael

It is no.10 from Op.119 marked Allegramente, which simply means brightly.The metronome suggested is Minim=100, whether or not Beethoven intended it this fast is debatable.On the CD of the complete Bagatelles I have with Stephen Bishop Kovacevich it does indeed last 9 seconds!



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'Man know thyself'

Chris
09-26-2000, 03:09 PM
Originally posted by Rod:
Why not?

Rod


I just never heard anything on it one way or the other. Sometimes certain types of compositions had standard stuctures and number of movements. That is not to say that they were a strict mold, of course (the 6th symphony, after all, had more movements than was the standard).

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"Wagner's music is better than it sounds." - Mark Twain

Rod
09-26-2000, 06:20 PM
Originally posted by Chris:
I just never heard anything on it one way or the other. Sometimes certain types of compositions had standard stuctures and number of movements. That is not to say that they were a strict mold, of course (the 6th symphony, after all, had more movements than was the standard).



I believe these multi movement sonata constructions were developed from Baroque times, for example the 'Church Sonata' style. Initially anything up to 6/7 movements could exist in a single composition, but over time 3/4 movements became the general standard. There are numerous volumes written on this subject.

Rod


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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

Peter
09-26-2000, 07:16 PM
Originally posted by Chris:
I just never heard anything on it one way or the other. Sometimes certain types of compositions had standard stuctures and number of movements. That is not to say that they were a strict mold, of course (the 6th symphony, after all, had more movements than was the standard).



Scarlatti's sonatas are in just one movement, (though some were written as pairs)- he was using the term to mean compositions for solo instrument.The Baroque Suite allowed for the greatest number of movements.In Haydn, Mozart and Clementi, 3 movements became the accepted norm.Even in his early Sonatas, Beethoven is unconventional, sometimes using 4 movements - of course later there are examples of 2 movements (Op.78,90,111) and 7 movements in the C# min Quartet Op.131.




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'Man know thyself'

Rod
09-26-2000, 07:54 PM
Originally posted by Peter:
Scarlatti's sonatas are in just one movement, (though some were written as pairs)- he was using the term to mean compositions for solo instrument.The Baroque Suite allowed for the greatest number of movements.In Haydn, Mozart and Clementi, 3 movements became the accepted norm.Even in his early Sonatas, Beethoven is unconventional, sometimes using 4 movements - of course later there are examples of 2 movements (Op.78,90,111) and 7 movements in the C# min Quartet Op.131.




Whereas Handels duo violin sonatas (with continuo) had up to 5 movements. For Baroque concerti, 3 movements became the norm (though Handel would have more, suiting conservative English taste).

B's earliest efforts produced on Bonn, such Electoral sonatas (WoO47) and trios WoO37 and 38 and the quartets WoO36 all had three sovements. It seems that sterner competition in Vienna compelled B to introduce a symphonic grandure (4 movements) to his first efforts there, at a time when he had yet to provide the Viennese public a symphony of his own. One could say the larger than normal number of movements in works such as Op 130, 131 and 132 was a nod in the direction of an earlier age.

Rod



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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

Peter
09-26-2000, 10:09 PM
Originally posted by Rod:
One could say the larger than normal number of movements in works such as Op 130, 131 and 132 was a nod in the direction of an earlier age.

Rod



Well yes I'd agree with that, though I think Beethoven's model would probably have been the 18th century divertimento rather than the concerto grosso.



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'Man know thyself'

Michael
09-27-2000, 01:29 AM
Regarding the number of movements in a work, I don't think that B, in his last years, was bound by any considerations of Baroque or Classical precedents. I think, for him, the internal logic of the piece dictated the number of its movements. The obvious example is Opus 111 which, in theory, lacks a finale. But what in hell (or heaven, I should say) could follow that second movement?
Michael

Chris
09-27-2000, 05:18 AM
Of course. I was just curious about the standard of the day.

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"Wagner's music is better than it sounds." - Mark Twain

Peter
09-27-2000, 10:46 AM
Well Chris it just goes to prove that rules are made to be broken - In the works of Haydn and Mozart this is very apparent as well, with plenty of examples of their non-conformity to sonata form.

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'Man know thyself'

Rod
09-27-2000, 12:02 PM
Originally posted by Michael:
Regarding the number of movements in a work, I don't think that B, in his last years, was bound by any considerations of Baroque or Classical precedents. I think, for him, the internal logic of the piece dictated the number of its movements. The obvious example is Opus 111 which, in theory, lacks a finale. But what in hell (or heaven, I should say) could follow that second movement?
Michael

I don't think anybody was bound by precidents, it's just that certain structures became popular over time, but not the rule. I agree it is the content that should (and does) define the structure, and not the other way around. Op111 is probably the ultimate example of this. Why the question of the missing finale ever arose is a mystery to me.

Rod


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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

Rod
09-27-2000, 12:13 PM
Originally posted by Peter:
Well yes I'd agree with that, though I think Beethoven's model would probably have been the 18th century divertimento rather than the concerto grosso.



Maybe so (which is why I did not commit myself to saying what particular age!), but with op131 at least, the structure reminds me more of the Handelian model, with movements serving an introductary function to other movements - i for ii, iii for iv, v stands alone, vi for vii.

Rod

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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

Peter
09-27-2000, 01:17 PM
Beethoven's interest in earlier music is very evident in Op.131- the opening movement contains passages (e.g.canon episode)that were influenced by Renaissance music, Palestrina, Josquin and possibly earlier.We know that J.Sonnleithner was preparing an edition of Renaissance choral music (including 10 pieces by Josquin)at the time he was working on the libretto of 'Leonore' and must in all probability have shown these to Beethoven.

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'Man know thyself'

Michael
09-27-2000, 05:00 PM
. Why the question of the missing finale ever arose is a mystery to me.

Rod


[/B][/QUOTE]
If my memory is correct, I think our old friend Schindler was the culprit here. He was supposed to have asked B why he didn't write a third movement and B replied that he didn't have time! It sounds like a true story because the joke is on Schindler.
Michael

Rod
09-27-2000, 05:05 PM
Originally posted by Michael:
. Why the question of the missing finale ever arose is a mystery to me.

Rod



If my memory is correct, I think our old friend Schindler was the culprit here. He was supposed to have asked B why he didn't write a third movement and B replied that he didn't have time! It sounds like a true story because the joke is on Schindler.
Michael

[/B][/QUOTE]

I'm aware of this story, but others have been fooled too. Have you not heard about the mysterious 'silent' finale, that exists only in the ether?

Rod


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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

Michael
09-27-2000, 08:39 PM
Well Chris it just goes to prove that rules are made to be broken - In the works of Haydn and Mozart this is very apparent as well, with plenty of examples of their non-conformity to sonata form.

Even in the very first of the Electoral Sonatas, written when B was only 12 or 13, you find him adapting sonata form to suit his material. In the first movement, the first subject is omitted altogether in the recapitulation. He instinctively knew that the form was not a blueprint that had to be slavishly followed.
Michael

Chris
09-27-2000, 09:35 PM
Nor should it be. I just like finding patterns and so forth in music through the ages.

Michael
09-27-2000, 10:51 PM
Originally posted by Rod:
I'm aware of this story, but others have been fooled too. Have you not heard about the mysterious 'silent' finale, that exists only in the ether?

Rod




No. What's that all about?

Michael

Rod
09-28-2000, 12:37 PM
Originally posted by Michael:
No. What's that all about?

Michael

I don't know the origins of this romantic idea, but I've heard it suggested on more than one occasion, from professionals who should know better. The idea is that such is the spirituality of the Arietta that Beethoven intented a sort of mystical silent finale - the silence is the music, the ultimate in peace and contemplation. Groovy! I have some sympathy with the idea (I must be getting soft), only it's just not correct, B was too down-to-Earth for that sort of thing.

Rod

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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

Peter
09-28-2000, 01:04 PM
Well I've never heard that one before - no doubt these 'professionals' probably say this mystical 3rd movement is Beethoven's greatest achievement - anticipating John Cage !!
The 2 movements are perfectly logical and a 3rd (even a silent one !) would distort the balance - the sonata to me is like a 2 way mirror - on one side the material world and on the other, the spiritual - they contrast each other perfectly ; Minor/Major , Sonata form/Variation, Turbulence/Serenity.

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'Man know thyself'

Rod
09-28-2000, 07:50 PM
Originally posted by Peter:

Well I've never heard that one before - no doubt these 'professionals' probably say this mystical 3rd movement is Beethoven's greatest achievement - anticipating John Cage !!

The 2 movements are perfectly logical and a 3rd (even a silent one !) would distort the balance - the sonata to me is like a 2 way mirror - on one side the material world and on the other, the spiritual - they contrast each other perfectly ; Minor/Major , Sonata form/Variation, Turbulence/Serenity.



Please, don't bring the likes of Cage into this place of discernment!

The master-stroke in op111 is the way B's suddenly ends the 'Turbulant' allegro with 'Serenity', thus bonding these most contrasting movements in a most effective manner.

Rod


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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

Michael
09-28-2000, 08:56 PM
That mystical "silent finale" sounds like something from the likes of E T A Hoffmann. In his criticism of the Fifth Symphony, written during B's lifetime, he says things like: "... right to the very last chord, indeed for some moments after it, (the listener) will be unable to emerge from the magical spirit-realm where he has been surrounded by pain and pleasure .... etc."
That early Romantic sort of stuff sounds a bit laughable nowadays,(maybe the loss is ours), but I think B was pleased enough with Hoffmann's reviews.
Re John Cage and that infamous piece, "Four minutes and 33 Seconds or whatever"- I forget the name of it, was it Stravinsky who said, on hearing it, that he looked forward to pieces of major length from this composer?

Michael

P.S. Any ideas on the best recording of the Cage piece? The version I have is taken miles too fast and the soloists aren't very good!

Peter
09-28-2000, 09:47 PM
Originally posted by Michael:

P.S. Any ideas on the best recording of the Cage piece? The version I have is taken miles too fast and the soloists aren't very good!

Actually that's quite an interesting point as absolute silence is virtually impossible to acheive (especially in today's world - and I'm probably more fortunate than most, living in the country, but we still get disturbed by cows mooing and church bells !!)
So I doubt that Cage can ever have had a satisfactory performance of his 'masterpiece' !!

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'Man know thyself'