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stout
05-02-2001, 06:19 AM
I am sure you all have heard of Leo Tolstoi, author of "War and Peace" and "The Kreutzer Sonata".
Yes, I was astonished myself to read it. It is mainly about adultry. But, there is a chapter about Beethoven, sort of.
Have you seen "Immortal Beloved"-the movie with Gary Oldman? There is a scene there where he meets schindler. That one part in the movie where Beethoven discusses music with schindler comes from that part of the book by Tolstoi. Amazing!!!!

PDG
05-02-2001, 03:54 PM
Yes, Stout, I have seen this movie. I believe that Serge has, too http://www.gyrix.com/~cgraye/ubb/smile.gif

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PDG (Peter)

Peter
05-02-2001, 04:47 PM
Originally posted by PDG:
Yes, Stout, I have seen this movie. I believe that Serge has, too http://www.gyrix.com/~cgraye/ubb/smile.gif



We've all seen this movie! I recorded it and watched it a few years back on boxing day whilst nursing an almighty hangover - instead of cheering me up, it utterly depressed me. What is the purpose of a film but to entertain and to educate - it failed on both counts, in fact it went further and misinformed with the preposterous notion of the sister in law as the Immortal beloved!

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'Man know thyself'

Peter
05-02-2001, 04:51 PM
Originally posted by stout:
I am sure you all have heard of Leo Tolstoi, author of "War and Peace" and "The Kreutzer Sonata".
Yes, I was astonished myself to read it. It is mainly about adultry. But, there is a chapter about Beethoven, sort of.


Tolstoy was a great admirer of Beethoven and although I've heard of the novel 'Kreutzer Sonata', I've never read it - isn't a murder supposed to take place to the strains of this sonata? - Something like that anyway!!

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'Man know thyself'

PDG
05-02-2001, 05:17 PM
Yes, Peter, I know we've all seen the movie. I was being ironic!

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PDG (Peter)

Rod
05-02-2001, 08:05 PM
Originally posted by Peter:
Tolstoy was a great admirer of Beethoven and although I've heard of the novel 'Kreutzer Sonata', I've never read it - isn't a murder supposed to take place to the strains of this sonata? - Something like that anyway!!


I recall reding that in the novel the first movment is described as not fit for ladies, the the variations as lame and the finale as weak (or words to these effects). I presume the chap in question was not impressed?

Michael
05-03-2001, 01:14 AM
Tolstoy was one weird individual. He could be remarkably inconsistent and, in spite of his interest in music, was regarded by Tchaikovsky as being very "unmusical". One of the first things he said to Tchaikovsky when he met him was that "Beethoven was bereft of musical talent". Now, T. was no great fan of Beethoven but he was utterly nonplussed by Tolstoy's remark.
So am I. I haven't read the "Kreutzer Sonata" but from what I have read about it, it seems to portray the adverse effects a performance of this piece of music has on the protagonists.

Michael

Peter
05-03-2001, 04:07 AM
Originally posted by Michael:
Now, T. was no great fan of Beethoven but he was utterly nonplussed by Tolstoy's remark.

Michael

Tchaikovsky's great love was Mozart, but he certainly admired Beethoven whose portrait was (and still is) prominently displayed in T's house at Klin. T said that B struck him with the awe he felt as a child towards the Old Testament God! In 1879 he wrote to his brother Modest, 'I have a new pleasure in life, I bought some piano scores of Mozart and Beethoven quartets in Geneva and I play one each evening. You will not believe what a joy it is, and how refreshing they are.' He also wrote in 1870 'It was the first time that I heard Beethoven's Missa Solemnis - terribly difficult to perform - which is one of the greatest of musical compositions.'

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'Man know thyself'

Michael
05-03-2001, 07:35 AM
Originally posted by Peter:
Tchaikovsky's great love was Mozart, but he certainly admired Beethoven whose portrait was (and still is) prominently displayed in T's house at Klin. T said that B struck him with the awe he felt as a child towards the Old Testament God! In 1879 he wrote to his brother Modest, 'I have a new pleasure in life, I bought some piano scores of Mozart and Beethoven quartets in Geneva and I play one each evening. You will not believe what a joy it is, and how refreshing they are.' He also wrote in 1870 'It was the first time that I heard Beethoven's Missa Solemnis - terribly difficult to perform - which is one of the greatest of musical compositions.'



Tchaikovsky is forgiven! I knew Mozart was his great love (musically!) but he did
show, as you demonstrated, a healthy respect for the Master.
I still don't know what to make of Tolstoy, musically. He is my favourite novelist (really!) but I have yet to come across his "Kreutzer Sonata" which is more of a long short story, I think, than a novel.
Beethoven is mentioned in "Anna Karenina" but not in "War and Peace" even though the latter novel takes place during the high creative years of B's life, and even describes the taking of Vienna by Napoleon's troops.
To confuse things a little further, didn't some composer write a piece or an opera called "The Kreutzer Sonata" - based on the Tolstoy novel and not Beethoven's work?

M.

Peter
05-03-2001, 02:16 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Michael:
Tchaikovsky is forgiven! I knew Mozart was his great love (musically!) but he did
show, as you demonstrated, a healthy respect for the Master.

Tchaikovsky also conducted the 9th in 1889 -

I still don't know what to make of Tolstoy, musically. He is my favourite novelist (really!) but I have yet to come across his "Kreutzer Sonata" which is more of a long short story, I think, than a novel.

Tchaikovsky was in despair over Tolstoy as a writer! - I'm confused myself regarding Tolstoy's attitude to Beethoven - I always thought he was an admirer, yet your earlier post implies not!

To confuse things a little further, didn't some composer write a piece or an opera called "The Kreutzer Sonata" - based on the Tolstoy novel and not Beethoven's work?

M.

That is confusing! A Sonata by Beethoven, appears in a novel by Tolstoy and is transmuted into an Opera by a mystery composer!!

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'Man know thyself'

Michael
05-04-2001, 02:00 AM
Originally posted by Peter:

That is confusing! A Sonata by Beethoven, appears in a novel by Tolstoy and is transmuted into an Opera by a mystery composer!!

[/B]

The name of Janacek was lurking at the back of my mind when I described this work but I was afraid to mention it as I thought it so unlikely. But I have checked up since and found out I was right. However, it was a string quartet and not an opera. I have pasted in the following:


In 1923 the Bohemian Quartet, led by the famous violinist Joseph Suk (1874-1935), requested Janacek to compose two string quartets for them. The first, the ardent "Quartet based on the Kreutzer Sonata," was written within a period of eight days. "Note after note fell smoldering from my pen," wrote Janacek, who found inspiration in a tragic 19th-century Russian story itself inspired by Beethoven's "Kreutzer" Sonata for Violin and Piano: "I had in mind a miserable woman, suffering, beaten, wretched, like the great Russian author Tolstoy wrote about in his Kreutzer Sonata." Janacek sought to convey the story, a psychological profile of a failed marriage and a jealous murderer, as a unified drama told musically through expressive, subtly changing motifs. In the first movement, which corresponds to the exposition of the story, Janacek depicts both "compassion for the miserable, prostrate woman" and her evolving character.

The second movement develops the story extensively. The first violinist portrays the future seducer, and a furtive, trembling passage describes the fateful encounter, after which a melodious violin passage suggests the first admissions of love. Tension increases as the tempo accelerates, and the abruptly soft final chord forebodes the future tragic end.

The third movement portrays the crisis. A brief quotation from Beethoven's "Kreutzer" Sonata conveys the power of music to unleash varying passions--love in the woman, jealousy in the husband. Passages of wild figuration lead to sobs; a hymn-like passage portrays the woman fleeing to her lover. A plaintive passage introduces the fourth movement. Agitated passages depict the murder. The husband contemplates his dead wife and, in a majestic passage that represents a dramatic catharsis, experiences an awakening: "For the first time I saw a human being in her." As do Janacek's operas, the work concludes with human dignity restored to both the victim and the penitent.


Talk about adaptations of adaptations!

Michael

PDG
05-04-2001, 08:20 PM
A couple more points about Janacek's Kreutzer Sonata Quartet:

Apart from the inspiration of it being Tolstoy's same-named novella, Janacek insisted that he also wrote it as a "protest against the subjection of women".

The quartet has also been transcribed for string orchestra, by William Walton.

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PDG (Peter)

Peter
05-04-2001, 09:53 PM
Originally posted by PDG:

The quartet has also been transcribed for string orchestra, by William Walton.



The plot thickens! - Kreutzer - Beethoven -Tolstoy - Janacek - Walton! And to think Kreutzer never played the original!!

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'Man know thyself'

PDG
05-04-2001, 10:25 PM
Oops! Faux pas, Peter & everyone. I mis-read my CD notes. It was the conductor, Richard Tognetti, who transcribed the Janacek. Walton similarly transcribed his own 1947 string quartet.

With humble apologies..........

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PDG (Peter)

aqua
05-04-2001, 10:26 PM
" it utterly depressed me. What is the purpose of a film but to entertain and to educate - it failed on both counts"
Agree somewhat with what you say. Happened to see this movie while visiting London- back in 1995. From all I've read, B, HATED his
brother's wife and referred to her as "the Queen of the Night" - that vilainous character from Mozart's "MAGIC FLUTE" .

Wonder how many people IMMORTAL BELOVED succeded in misleading- regarding the true Beethoven. A real sacrilage.

Wonder why some good director doesn't make
an epic movie on Beethoven. Something
on the scale of "Lawrence of Arabia" or "Gandhi" ?
Considering what can be done by a good director, with a subject as uninspiring as TE Lawrence- Can one imagine the potential for a GOOD movie on Beethoven??

PDG
05-05-2001, 07:06 AM
Yes, aqua, the potential for a great movie is there, but it would seem as though the major studios are reluctant to tackle it. Maybe they're a little put off by the relative commercial failure of Immortal Beloved. Or maybe it just needs a director/producer with a fondness for this composer to make it happen. After all, Clint Eastwood idolises Charlie Parker, so made "Bird"; Richard Attenborough hugely admires Gandhi, so made his sprawling bio-pic. Some faith, the right people & a GOOD SCRIPT will surely see a healthy return on any studio's outlay. Let's hope we don't have to wait until 2027 (the bicentenery) for it to happen...........

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PDG (Peter)