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Peter
05-04-2001, 07:01 PM
Listening to this the other day, I really felt that it belonged with Op.130, although the new finale works perfectly well, and no one would think anything of it had the grosse fugue not existed. Beethoven was reported to be furious when the fugue failed to be appreciated and must have reluctantly agreed to replace it. I think it is the grosse fugue that suffers by being a separate entity, rather than the quartet with an alternative finale.

Mozart's fugue in C minor for 2 pianos (k.426) (which he arranged for string quartet) - a work which Beethoven copied out - is similarly 'shocking and modern' - anyone who thinks Mozart only wrote pretty music should listen to it!

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'Man know thyself'

aqua
05-04-2001, 09:55 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Peter:
[B]
"Beethoven was reported to be furious when the fugue failed to be appreciated-"

Have heard the GROSSE FUGUE many, many, times - but, must say that it fails to move
me. It just goes on and on - a one track train.
A discrete -stand alone - fugue, does not appear as a spellbinding music format.
Am I missing something and/or being musically naive??

PDG
05-04-2001, 10:02 PM
Originally posted by Peter:

Listening to this the other day, I really felt that it belonged with Op.130, although the new finale works perfectly well, and no one would think anything of it had the grosse fugue not existed. Beethoven was reported to be furious when the fugue failed to be appreciated and must have reluctantly agreed to replace it. I think it is the grosse fugue that suffers by being a separate entity, rather than the quartet with an alternative finale.

We've discussed this before! I think that Beethoven only agreed to substitute the finale of op.130, for "those cattle, those asses" who couldn't take to the Great Fugue, because he was tired of the struggles of his life, & was probably looking forward to his departure from it. The younger Beethoven, I'm sure, would have fought, tooth & nail, to keep his original concept intact. I like to think that he'd have hoped, one day, to have the fugue restored to the quartet, & even though I, too, love the substitute rondo, it's a shame that the quartet & fugue are still like an estranged family!!


Mozart's fugue in C minor for 2 pianos (k.426) (which he arranged for string quartet) - a work which Beethoven copied out - is similarly 'shocking and modern' - anyone who thinks Mozart only wrote pretty music should listen to it!


Mozart rescored his fugue for string orchestra, & prefaced it with an Adagio (K.546) 5 years after the two pianos version, which itself was written after Mozart had actually stopped composing for a while (!), to devote himself to a consistent study of the contrapuntal works of Bach & Handel (among others). Mozart's Fugue is great, but not as great as THE Great Fugue!

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PDG (Peter)

Rod
05-05-2001, 12:24 AM
Originally posted by PDG:
Mozart rescored his fugue for string orchestra, & prefaced it with an Adagio (K.546) 5 years after the two pianos version, which itself was written after Mozart had actually stopped composing for a while (!), to devote himself to a consistent study of the contrapuntal works of Bach & Handel (among others). Mozart's Fugue is great, but not as great as THE Great Fugue!


Yes, we have discussed this before, and you will recall that I mentioned that the sketches revealed that the fugue itself was a departure from B's original intentions, which were rather more in line with the replacement. B's relative youth at the time of the Waldstein did not prevent him from replacing it's original andante on the advice of his friends. The fugue on its own is not perhaps an ideal situation, though I think it has sufficiant contrasts to stand on its own - B wrote a lone fuge for string quintet in 1817, so there is a precedent for such a thing

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

PDG
05-05-2001, 01:06 AM
Surely the difference between Beethoven's thinking on the replacement mvts of, respectively, the Waldstein & the Grosse Fuge, is that with the Waldstein, he accepted that the change was for the best - he was under no duress in making the substitution. This is not the case with the Grosse Fuge.

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PDG (Peter)

Peter
05-05-2001, 01:52 AM
Originally posted by PDG:
Surely the difference between Beethoven's thinking on the replacement mvts of, respectively, the Waldstein & the Grosse Fuge, is that with the Waldstein, he accepted that the change was for the best - he was under no duress in making the substitution. This is not the case with the Grosse Fuge.



I agree PDG, although my position has changed because I recall disagreeing with you about this before! I do think the fugue belongs to the quartet and that it is the fugue that suffers rather than the quartet as a result of its absence.

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'Man know thyself'

Peter
05-05-2001, 01:56 AM
Originally posted by PDG:
. Mozart's Fugue is great, but not as great as THE Great Fugue!



I agree, but the point is that both works are quite astoudingly modern - and Mozart wrote his in 1783! Neither is typical of their composer, and if you didn't know, it would be impossible to guess that they were written by Mozart and Beethoven respectively. They sound almost 20th century!

Incidentally, not only has the Grosse fugue been scored for string orchestra by Weingartner, but it has also been arranged for string quartet and string orchestra by Meirion Bowen - has anyone heard that version?
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'Man know thyself'

[This message has been edited by Peter (edited 05-04-2001).]

Peter
05-05-2001, 02:05 AM
Originally posted by aqua:

Have heard the GROSSE FUGUE many, many, times - but, must say that it fails to move
me. It just goes on and on - a one track train.
A discrete -stand alone - fugue, does not appear as a spellbinding music format.
Am I missing something and/or being musically naive??

It is an incredibly difficult work to listen to even today - no wonder they were bemused back in the 1820's! I've heard it referred to as the ugliest piece of music ever written (meant as a compliment!)- by a contemporary critic reviewing Schoenberg! I've also come across this poem by an anonymous author :

'Beauty is Beethoven's Grosse Fugue
swirling like a desperate dare that beats
th'Wings of its unique existence

between Fixity's defeats
towards some yet staggering Triumph

over th'teet'ring Turbulence which pits
the heavenly black angels of The Light
forever against the hellish demons of the Right

and the Fall is Beauty, like (the) Beethoven
Grosse Fugue, which sinking into itself

yet leaves many a stopgap rope (of final resort)
like a bursting Hope (woven from th'articles of its
dependence

--Leaves over) leaves
over Death's empty prophecy:

Spring's fateful rhetorics

peaking over long ago's relics
like phantom figures & ghosts of structures
of crumbling bricks, because

O a desperate daring's Beauty
blossoming upon Death's utter edge

while Dissolution's cavalry there passes
to the inner order of The Mind (part

resignation) beyond which none trespasses

but with that violation Man falls
to the confusion of his Self-assertion

between th'Chasm of Trust & Truth
that's
Interpretation

falls Beauty:

to cement
with eloquent extinguishment

( born of the moment that it spent
like some immortal accident )

the most evident torment of
its violent wonderment.'


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'Man know thyself'

PDG
05-05-2001, 07:33 AM
Originally posted by Peter:
I agree PDG, although my position has changed because I recall disagreeing with you about this before! I do think the fugue belongs to the quartet and that it is the fugue that suffers rather than the quartet as a result of its absence.


I agree. Forgive my vivid imagination here, but the Fugue's wretched, anguished expression sounds to me like a cry in the dark from a discarded, misunderstood, unloved child left to fend for itself; desperate for its sibling movements to return to it; desperate in its need to be a part of the whole again................

Beethoven's biggest musical misjudgement, in my view.

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PDG (Peter)

Peter
05-05-2001, 02:20 PM
Originally posted by PDG:

Beethoven's biggest musical misjudgement, in my view.



I don't see it as a misjudgement as the quartet itself does not suffer - had the fugue not existed, no one would have complained at the new finale which works perfectly well. Beethoven obviously was persuaded that the fugue may hinder the acceptance of the work - no one even today can deny that the fugue is the most difficult music to listen to that Beethoven ever wrote. I think the work should be performed in both versions, rather than playing the fugue separately - fortunately today as most recordings of Op.130 include the Grosse fugue as well, we can programme our CD's to do this so there isn't really a problem!

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'Man know thyself'

Michael
05-05-2001, 10:30 PM
Originally posted by Peter:
- no one even today can deny that the fugue is the most difficult music to listen to that Beethoven ever wrote.
[/B]

When I first heard Opus 130 back in 1973 (see the impression it made - I can remember the year!) I kept on playing the substitute finale and ignored the Grosse Fugue, but I do remember reading somewhere (probably the record sleeve notes) that if any piece of music justified the invention of the gramophone, it was the Fugue. After many years, I have found this to be true - and now, more often than not, I listen to the quartet with the fugue finale.
I did once find it the most difficult piece B ever wrote but not any longer. I don't claim to be able to understand it all but it now makes MUSICAL sense to me.
Incidentally, the two most difficult works for me are the finale of the "Hammerklavier" and the "Diabelli Variations". But I keep on listening .......

Michael

Serge
05-05-2001, 10:45 PM
I've got a recording by Juilliard of the op. 130 that keeps the fugue and does not bother with the rondo. I have listened to it all the way through maybe four times because I still can't wrap my head around the whole thing; it is simply beyond me. I can tell there is infinite depth, but I can't yet grasp it. I usu. just stop after the Cavatina now, which works swimmingly for me (I don't yet have a "revised" op. 130 in my collection). But, I hope one day to fully grasp it, and I know it will be a glorious moment.

I would think the quartet does not suffer in the least from two diff. endings. If anything, it gives all of us a far more encompassing take on the same opus. n one hand, the piece ends on a sunny, optimistic note; on the other, a leaden, turmoiled, "ugly" contraption of, well, everything you could imagine, I guess. It is a truly miraculous thing. Nowhere I know of did Ludwig say "Now the quartet will end with the new rondo and that's it!" He gave us a choice, and the options could not have been more different. How could the same quartet end so differently?


Originally posted by Peter:

Mozart's fugue in C minor for 2 pianos (k.426) (which he arranged for string quartet) - a work which Beethoven copied out - is similarly 'shocking and modern' - anyone who thinks Mozart only wrote pretty music should listen to it!



Guess what, I'm gonna give 'er a try. But, I had better be really impressed, or that's the end for Mozart!!!!!

Peter
05-05-2001, 11:31 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Serge:
How could the same quartet end so differently?

This just goes to prove that nothing is pre-ordained in music - had Beethoven listened to critics of the 9th , we may well be having a similar debate about the 'two finales' of that work!

Guess what, I'm gonna give 'er a try. But, I had better be really impressed, or that's the end for Mozart!!!!!

It's not a work I would introduce anyone to Mozart's music with, anymore than I would Beethoven's with the Grosse fugue. You probably won't like it, but at least you'll have to admit there's a bit more to Mozart than easy 'nice' music!



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'Man know thyself'

PDG
05-06-2001, 12:02 AM
One can only conclude that in his anger at the non-acceptance of the Grosse Fuge, Beethoven, in changeing the profile of the quartet with the new finale, was making merciless fun of his critics, akin to: "Now try not liking THIS!!"

Serge, please don't judge Mozart on his Fugue - you just won't like it!! Try instead his D minor piano concerto, K.466; even better, the version with Beethoven's cadenzas. It's on Naxos, & you don't even have to look at the cover http://www.gyrix.com/~cgraye/ubb/wink.gif

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PDG (Peter)

Rod
05-06-2001, 12:14 AM
Originally posted by PDG:
Surely the difference between Beethoven's thinking on the replacement mvts of, respectively, the Waldstein & the Grosse Fuge, is that with the Waldstein, he accepted that the change was for the best - he was under no duress in making the substitution. This is not the case with the Grosse Fuge.



Of course B would have not changed the Waldstein if he did not see the benefits to be gained from such a change. With op130, if B had insisted the fugue remain as the finale I'm sure he would have got his way.

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

[This message has been edited by Rod (edited 05-05-2001).]

Peter
05-06-2001, 04:18 AM
Originally posted by PDG:

Serge, please don't judge Mozart on his Fugue - you just won't like it!! Try instead his D minor piano concerto, K.466; even better, the version with Beethoven's cadenzas. It's on Naxos, & you don't even have to look at the cover http://www.gyrix.com/~cgraye/ubb/wink.gif



PDG you have an uncanny knack of picking the pieces I am either listening to, or playing! - I'm working on Mozart's D minor concerto at the moment - an appropiate work for this forum as Beethoven wrote some fine cadenzas for it. I agree that it is a far better work to approach Mozart with than the fugue - I just think the fugue is Mozart's most extreme work, as the Grosse fugue is Beethoven's.

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'Man know thyself'

Serge
05-06-2001, 07:32 AM
It's not a work I would introduce anyone to Mozart's music with, anymore than I would Beethoven's with the Grosse fugue. You probably won't like it, but at least you'll have to admit there's a bit more to Mozart than easy 'nice' music!

/B]


Well, it's not like I'm going to listen to Mozart for the first time in my life. I'm familiar with a lot of his stuff; I just don't actually enjoy much of it. If his k.426 fugue is the most forward-thinking or otherwise Ludwig-ish work, then I'm going straight for it.

I should concede here that there was a piece of M's I kinda liked: last mov't of a p. concerto for 4 hands, k. 3-something-something. Very catchy, if not filled with everlasting emotion :)

Peter
05-06-2001, 02:24 PM
Originally posted by Serge:

Well, it's not like I'm going to listen to Mozart for the first time in my life. I'm familiar with a lot of his stuff; I just don't actually enjoy much of it. If his k.426 fugue is the most forward-thinking or otherwise Ludwig-ish work, then I'm going straight for it.



Do you know the D minor K.466 and the C minor K.491 piano concertos? - both works were much admired by Beethoven, who said of the C minor to Cramer - 'We shall never be able to do anything like that' - an example of B being modest, though this was said in the late 1790's. I think they are much fairer works to judge Mozart by than the fugue which is quite atypical, extraordinary though! Since you are no Mozart or Haydn fan, I wonder what your opinion of the Beethoven of the 1790's is?

Incidentally, the Mozart concerto for 2 pianos you liked is K.365 in Eb.


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'Man know thyself'

~Leslie
05-06-2001, 10:25 PM
I'll second that. The k.466 feels like a door was left cracked open for Ludwig, particularly I feel, with the Romanze mvt in mind. It starts off being the warm and fuzzy Mozart, and then without warning, his internal emotional angst rises and boils to the surface, fairly unprecedented, if you consider how polite and polished Wolfgang could be for the type of audience he had to write for. The stage was amply set to B to unleash his perspective and rock the world.~

Rod
05-06-2001, 10:34 PM
Originally posted by Peter:
Do you know the D minor K.466 and the C minor K.491 piano concertos? - both works were much admired by Beethoven, who said of the C minor to Cramer - 'We shall never be able to do anything like that' - an example of B being modest, though this was said in the late 1790's. I think they are much fairer works to judge Mozart by than the fugue which is quite atypical, extraordinary though! Since you are no Mozart or Haydn fan, I wonder what your opinion of the Beethoven of the 1790's is?

Incidentally, the Mozart concerto for 2 pianos you liked is K.365 in Eb.




Contrary to popular opinion, I would say even Beethoven from the 1790's is still substantially different from that of M or H, if this is the inference of your question.

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

Peter
05-07-2001, 03:32 PM
Originally posted by Rod:
Contrary to popular opinion, I would say even Beethoven from the 1790's is still substantially different from that of M or H, if this is the inference of your question.



It wasn't the inference at all - I agree with you, it's just that there is a misconception about this which also brackets Mozart and Haydn as though they were one and the same.

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'Man know thyself'

Roehre
11-17-2009, 03:13 PM
A lively recent discussion around opus 130 and 133 can be found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbradio3/F7497566?thread=6954287