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Rod
12-08-2000, 07:11 AM
Originally posted by PDG:

What is Beethoven`s greatest symphony? Easy - No.9. And why the greatest? Because it is the summation of his orchestral writing, it was the gateway to the romantic movement, and it symbolizes liberty and free speech; even today.

LET`S MOVE ON, PEOPLE!!

I have moved on! Since this is really a different topic but worthy of comment...

Frankly I think you are doing Beethoven and the 9th a disservice with this statement, but it is a popular conception of B's place in the history of music. When I hear the 9th I suggest it possesses Classical strength and strucure in abundance, with little hint of romanticism as portrayed by later generations. The 9th is not a gateway to a new (in my opinion lesser) Romantic world, it is the pinnacle of the 'old' world order. For the gateway to Romantisism the 'father' I have always said is Weber. I suggest the Romantics would have been impressed with B's rhetorical style, and this is indicated in the may feeble attempts to immitate it, but it is mixed with a sentiment and form that is a million miles from Beethoven (which is perhaps why the immitation is less effective). Wagner was indeed impressed by Beethoven, but his music sounds far more akin to Webers to me, and almost nothing like Beethovens. I have a video of the excellent film 'Excalibur', which make careful use of Wagner music (careful in that the editor wisely cuts it off before it gets to the awful bombastic moments). A romantic heroic story, but I can't imagine even B's most heroic music would fit naturally in a movie such as this, wheras you could think Wagner wrote the music especially for a movie such as this!

Rod


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

Peter
12-08-2000, 07:33 AM
Originally posted by Rod:

When I hear the 9th I suggest it possesses Classical strength and strucure in abundance, with little hint of romanticism as portrayed by later generations. The 9th is not a gateway to a new (in my opinion lesser) Romantic world, it is the pinnacle of the 'old' world order. For the gateway to Romantisism the 'father' I have always said is Weber.


I agree - far from being a gateway, the 9th virtually paralysed composers who came after, despite a few attempts to imitate it.Remember Brahms was so in awe that he was reluctant to attempt a Symphony, and that was 50 years later. The Romantic movement comes through Weber, Sphorr,Hummel and Field not Beethoven.

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'Man know thyself'

Rod
12-08-2000, 09:25 AM
Originally posted by Peter:
I agree - far from being a gateway, the 9th virtually paralysed composers who came after, despite a few attempts to imitate it.Remember Brahms was so in awe that he was reluctant to attempt a Symphony, and that was 50 years later. The Romantic movement comes through Weber, Sphorr,Hummel and Field not Beethoven.


Absolutely, but how often do you here these composers brought into the equation my Romantic music fans? In fact some people fault Beethoven himself for starting this 'downward path' - as Britten said of B: 'where the rot set in'. Of course it is generally regarded that B's respect (awe) of Mozart and Haydn prevented him from publishing quartets and symphonies (where these composers were supreme) until he was 30, long after he had proved himself as a composer of the first order.

Rod

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

Serge
12-08-2000, 12:38 PM
A lot of what you've written sounds right, but how can any of you claim Beethoven was not the start of the Romantic mov't? How is the Romantic period classified? By the feeling and emotion of the music more than any 'advancements' in music theory. Romantic is synonymous with forceful, brash, quixotic, and achingly expressive music. While Ludwig's work is very classical in form, its content is very far removed from 'typical' Classical' fare, esp. as we move beyond 1803. Besides, most Romantic composers paid tribute to Beethoven as inspiration, whether through adopted motifs, or dedications, or comments in passing.

Rod
12-08-2000, 01:55 PM
Originally posted by Serge:
How is the Romantic period classified? By the feeling and emotion of the music more than any 'advancements' in music theory. Romantic is synonymous with forceful, brash, quixotic, and achingly expressive music. While Ludwig's work is very classical in form, its content is very far removed from 'typical' Classical' fare, esp. as we move beyond 1803. Besides, most Romantic composers paid tribute to Beethoven as inspiration, whether through adopted motifs, or dedications, or comments in passing.

The first mistake in my opinion that that people associate music of the Romantic era with the idea that it uniquely developed the musical elements of expression and drama etc. This is a complete myth - by this classicification Beethoven, Mozart and all of the well known Baroque composers could be classified as Romantic. There is more drama and emotion in Handel than there is in Wagner, and then on top of that the music's better too! The Romantic era is one were giving the impression of these emotions was more important than actually having them for real, and so the effect becomes warped and distorted. Thus I often say this music, though emotional, lacks the sincerity one finds in music such as Beethovens. This is as good as I can explain it, which is not very good I admit.

Rod


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

Peter
12-08-2000, 04:24 PM
Originally posted by Serge:
A lot of what you've written sounds right, but how can any of you claim Beethoven was not the start of the Romantic mov't? How is the Romantic period classified? By the feeling and emotion of the music more than any 'advancements' in music theory. Romantic is synonymous with forceful, brash, quixotic, and achingly expressive music.

I'd say Beethoven gets more classical (even baroque) not less as he develops - Look at the frequent use of Fugue in the later works and trills. It also has to do with form and harmonic relationships - His key relationships always present an increase in tension as they reinforce the classical tonic-dominant relationship (although he frequently uses the mediant or sub-mediant as substitute dominants as well ) - and move towards a central climax . In Romantic music the emphasis is towards the sub-dominant creating a weakening of tension - Schubert was the first to do this in the last movement of the Trout quintet.
If the Romantics were influenced by B at all , it was from his early works such as Adelaide or the slow movements of the first sonatas.
As to expressiveness, I don't think Romantis music has the monopoly on that - you can find very expressive music in Bach/Handel/Purcell or even earlier - Gesualdo (which contains some of the most chromatic writing before Wagner).

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'Man know thyself'

Serge
12-09-2000, 03:31 AM
So, by those arguments, we have destroyed the intrinsic value of the Romantic era. If that era could not produce better musical expression than its predecessors, and could only develop little details like chordal progression, then where's the value of the music of everyone between Schubert and Wagner? Was this an age of decadence and even decline?

I don't know how to argue this! I'm lost. I suppose that if what you've said is true, then the R. age was one of a reborn kind of expression. I still maintain that Beethoven was the alpha male as far as (Austro-German) Romantic goes, but perhaps this is a matter beyond eras-- a matter that boils down to regionalism and nationalism. Most of the famous/popular composers were of the German tradition. The others seemed distinctly nationalistic: the French, the English, the Scandinavian, the east-European, the Russian, the Italian... and each seems to have its own style. Each region may have undergone distinct revolutions in musical style that cannot rightly be compared together. Comparing Handel to Wagner may be a moot point.

Peter
12-09-2000, 05:04 AM
Originally posted by Serge:
So, by those arguments, we have destroyed the intrinsic value of the Romantic era. If that era could not produce better musical expression than its predecessors, and could only develop little details like chordal progression, then where's the value of the music of everyone between Schubert and Wagner? Was this an age of decadence and even decline?



Again I don't agree Serge ! - By saying that B was the summit of musical culture, doesn't imply that there is no value in later or earlier music - there is a lot of great music written after B and before. Why do you say that the intrinsic value of Romantic music is destroyed, simply because the Romantic movement does not have its roots in B ?
I could argue that your view implies continual progress and therefore Schumann or Tchaikovsky are greater composers than B - I don't think so.
I don't believe that every era necessarily produces 'better musical expression' - it merely expresses it in a different way. Certain eras reach a zenith in cultural achievement - this happened with the Greeks in the 5th century B.C - I suggest that in music the 18th and early 19th centuries were the equivalent. Why do you think we use the term 'Classical' to describe the music c.1750 -1830 ? - Because that term implies the perfection achieved by the ancient civilisations.

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'Man know thyself'

Bob the Composer
07-20-2001, 09:04 PM
Originally posted by Rod:
I have moved on! Since this is really a different topic but worthy of comment...

Frankly I think you are doing Beethoven and the 9th a disservice with this statement, but it is a popular conception of B's place in the history of music. When I hear the 9th I suggest it possesses Classical strength and strucure in abundance, with little hint of romanticism as portrayed by later generations. The 9th is not a gateway to a new (in my opinion lesser) Romantic world, it is the pinnacle of the 'old' world order. For the gateway to Romantisism the 'father' I have always said is Weber. I suggest the Romantics would have been impressed with B's rhetorical style, and this is indicated in the may feeble attempts to immitate it, but it is mixed with a sentiment and form that is a million miles from Beethoven (which is perhaps why the immitation is less effective). Wagner was indeed impressed by Beethoven, but his music sounds far more akin to Webers to me, and almost nothing like Beethovens. I have a video of the excellent film 'Excalibur', which make careful use of Wagner music (careful in that the editor wisely cuts it off before it gets to the awful bombastic moments). A romantic heroic story, but I can't imagine even B's most heroic music would fit naturally in a movie such as this, wheras you could think Wagner wrote the music especially for a movie such as this!

Rod




I have seen Excalibur too. It is perhaps the best King Arthur movie in existence. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if they had used Beethoven's music. If they had done that, it might have seemed like a very different movie. It is a disservice to classify Beethoven with the Romantics, or any other period for that matter, for the greatest musicians and artists, etc. transcend and step outside the bounds of their time period to produce great music that lasts outside their own time and still has universal meaning. Beethoven did this. So did Handel, and to a certain extent, Mozart.

Bob

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I am not a number, I am a free man!


[This message has been edited by Bob the Composer (edited 07-20-2001).]

PDG
09-07-2001, 08:58 PM
Originally posted by Rod:
I have moved on! Since this is really a different topic but worthy of comment...

Frankly I think you are doing Beethoven and the 9th a disservice with this statement, but it is a popular conception of B's place in the history of music. When I hear the 9th I suggest it possesses Classical strength and strucure in abundance, with little hint of romanticism as portrayed by later generations. The 9th is not a gateway to a new (in my opinion lesser) Romantic world, it is the pinnacle of the 'old' world order. For the gateway to Romantisism the 'father' I have always said is Weber. I suggest the Romantics would have been impressed with B's rhetorical style, and this is indicated in the may feeble attempts to immitate it, but it is mixed with a sentiment and form that is a million miles from Beethoven (which is perhaps why the immitation is less effective). Wagner was indeed impressed by Beethoven, but his music sounds far more akin to Webers to me, and almost nothing like Beethovens. I have a video of the excellent film 'Excalibur', which make careful use of Wagner music (careful in that the editor wisely cuts it off before it gets to the awful bombastic moments). A romantic heroic story, but I can't imagine even B's most heroic music would fit naturally in a movie such as this, wheras you could think Wagner wrote the music especially for a movie such as this!

Rod




When I originally referred to the 'Gateway to the Romantic movement' (and my quote here was taken out of context), I wasn't calling Beethoven a Romantic composer as such, more that by stretching all known existing forms as he did, he showed those who followed him the possibilities within music but without traditional classical restraints. I believe that there would have been no Brahms or Tchaikovsky - as we know them - without Beethoven. Even Schumann and Mendelssohn couldn't have simply carried on as they did where Mozart and Haydn left off; the jump in styles is too great. And what about Schubert? Regarded by most as a Romantic, yet his period was almost identical to Beethoven's. So was his composing style, more or less. Surely, it is too simplistic to call Beethoven 'Classical' and Schubert 'Romantic'.

Beethoven, then, a bridge. Or a gateway, if you will, between the old order and the new. And when all is said and done, LvB is generally regarded as the founding father of modern classical music.

Reasonable?

Peter
09-07-2001, 09:09 PM
Originally posted by PDG:
Surely, it is too simplistic to call Beethoven 'Classical' and Schubert 'Romantic'.

Beethoven, then, a bridge. Or a gateway, if you will, between the old order and the new. And when all is said and done, LvB is generally regarded as the founding father of modern classical music.

Reasonable?



It's reasonable but not my assessment!
Schubert to me is the Gateway from Classical to Romantic. I thought Mahler was regarded as the father of modern classical music.

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'Man know thyself'

Rod
09-07-2001, 09:32 PM
Originally posted by PDG:
When I originally referred to the 'Gateway to the Romantic movement' (and my quote here was taken out of context), I wasn't calling Beethoven a Romantic composer as such, more that by stretching all known existing forms as he did, he showed those who followed him the possibilities within music but without traditional classical restraints. I believe that there would have been no Brahms or Tchaikovsky - as we know them - without Beethoven. Even Schumann and Mendelssohn couldn't have simply carried on as they did where Mozart and Haydn left off; the jump in styles is too great. And what about Schubert? Regarded by most as a Romantic, yet his period was almost identical to Beethoven's. So was his composing style, more or less. Surely, it is too simplistic to call Beethoven 'Classical' and Schubert 'Romantic'.

Beethoven, then, a bridge. Or a gateway, if you will, between the old order and the new. And when all is said and done, LvB is generally regarded as the founding father of modern classical music.

Reasonable?


Well you mention Schubert as being of the same period as Beethoven, and this proves a point that has been expressed here before, for the true 'proto-Romantics' as I call them (Weber and Hummel being the others mentioned here) were contemporary with Beethoven, but B himself was by this time virtually an isolated genre on his own. The path to Romantisism was already in existance regardless of Beethoven. I'm sure Chopin and Liszt would have been much the same without him. I've read of Weber being referred to as the 'father of Romantisism'. Thus these chaps are the true 'gateway'.

I think the Romantics attempted to immitate B's 'rhetorical' style but always in an unconvincing manner to my ears, it's too forced and musically unjustified. The general Romantic sentimentality is to be found nowhere in Beethoven's output. For true Romantics anything was and should be possible musically and thus every new work could almost be a genre on its own, whereas B in this sence was a conservative. Can you imagine B composing a suite and calling it 'Thoughts on wandering through the park..' or whatever?! (the 6th Symphony doesn't count!)

In all sincerity I haven't heard a single piece from the Romantic era that I like, but I like all of B, so the link between them and Beethoven cannot be that strong as far as I am conserned, or else B's influence obviously failed musically. They're chalk and cheese! There wasn't the simple jump from Mozart to Tchaikovsky via Beethoven.

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


[This message has been edited by Rod (edited 09-07-2001).]

PDG
09-08-2001, 07:27 PM
Originally posted by Peter:
It's reasonable but not my assessment!
Schubert to me is the Gateway from Classical to Romantic. I thought Mahler was regarded as the father of modern classical music.



I don't think Schubert ever considered himself to be advancing musical styles beyond that of his idol, Beethoven. It's difficult to reverently follow in someone's footsteps if one is walking a different route!

If Mahler is the father of modern classical music, then he's the most irresponsible father beyond the reach of the CSA!

Rod
09-08-2001, 11:01 PM
Originally posted by PDG:
I don't think Schubert ever considered himself to be advancing musical styles beyond that of his idol, Beethoven. It's difficult to reverently follow in someone's footsteps if one is walking a different route!

If Mahler is the father of modern classical music, then he's the most irresponsible father beyond the reach of the CSA!



I've read that Schubert regarded the Enlightenment as a 'straightjacket'. I would construe this as a Romantic attitude. Schubert's style was not an advance on Beethoven's. It's not an issue of advancement, but of a diferent state of mind and its consequent effects on music. I think B's supremacy in the sonatas and symphonies may have encouraged later generations of composers to divert from these genres, lest they obviously be seen as inferior by direct comparison. For whatever reason I think there was more interest in creating new forms during this time, avoiding the 'straightjacket' of Enlightenment influenced Classisism perhaps!? Don't know about all this, just guessing now.

PS, dont mention Mahler AND the CSA in the same sentance...trying to give me a heart attack!!

PPS, oh Hell, I've done just that myself.....uuuurgghh.....

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



[This message has been edited by Rod (edited 09-08-2001).]

Peter
09-08-2001, 11:03 PM
Originally posted by PDG:
I don't think Schubert ever considered himself to be advancing musical styles beyond that of his idol, Beethoven. It's difficult to reverently follow in someone's footsteps if one is walking a different route!




Well most composers start off imitating others, and Schubert's early music seems to me to be modelled more on Mozart than Beethoven. I don't think you can regard Romanticism as an advance on Classicism any more than you can think of Classicism being an advance on the Baroque - they are simply different. Schubert most certainly was walking a different route to Beethoven and his late Sonatas are very great works that offer a completely different approach to Beethoven's. Schubert's naturally lyrical style placed most emphasis on melody rather than harmonic structure as in Beethoven. The weakening of the tonic-dominant relationship becomes apparent with Schubert - the last movement of the Trout Quintet contains the first exposition that modulates to the subdominant, a harmonic relationship common in the works of Schumann and Chopin but non-existent in Beethoven Sonata form works. It is the use of harmony that really marks the change in the two styles and the early Romantics were more influenced by Schubert, Field, Weber and Italian Opera in this than by Beethoven.

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'Man know thyself'