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HwaDam
11-15-2000, 11:58 AM
The point of my question is "Was Beethoven just Universalist, a man with a love for all human being across the borders and continents."
The phrases show Universalistic Beethoven such as "Tochter aus Elysium
, Alle Menschen, Himmlische dein Heiligtum, etc." in nineth sympony.
But his many masterpieces were dedicated to Prince Carl von Lichnowsky, Baron von Swieten, Prince Lobkowitz, Count Oppersdorf, Count Razumowsky, Friedrich Wilhelm II(Prussia), Baron Gleichenstein, Archduke Rudolph Prince Lichnowsky, and so on.
Was These dedication just due to his patronages or friendships?
Is there any traces of Nationalistic affairs in Beethoven's music and life?

I hope many basis, data, arguments about my question.



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Wohltuen, wo man kann,
Freiheit, ueber alles lieben,
Wahrheit nie, auch sogar am
Thorne nicht verleugnen.

HwaDam

[This message has been edited by HwaDam (edited 11-15-2000).]

Rod
11-15-2000, 07:36 PM
I have never got the impression that nationalism of any kind played a significant role in Beethoven's mindset, which was borne out of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. However he was not strictly a lover of 'all men' in my opinion. He would readily curse the more common element of Viennese street life, whilst at the same time he was as best ambivalent about the aristocracy, despite the great assistance he may have gained from them. Basically I think he judged people by his own moral and political standards regardless of their origin. He would compose to the honour of the French Revolution - 'Erioca', 'Leonore', or the English beating the French - 'Wellington's Victory', or the Austrians just being full of themselves - 'The Glorious Moment', as the political and commercial situation suited him.

I believe B may have looked at Schillers Ode (or rather the sections of it he selected for the 9th) from a deeply personal perspective, at least latently, rather than the whole world kissing and cuddling, which I suspect even B would have thought too much to expect.

On occasion I have got the impression that B's fantasy world would have been akin to that of Plato's 'Republic', with a moraly strong but sincere (and artistic?) ruling class, who were an example for the lower classes to follow. I think the US could do with a dose of this right now - forget democracy!

Rod

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

Peter
11-15-2000, 07:53 PM
I think Beethoven was really an idealist - His music represents these ideals of course, and in that I would describe him as a universalist, not a nationalist.

With regard to the dedications, Beethoven knew how to play the aristocracy to his advantage - Although he was on friendly terms with many of them, we know that his sympathies were Republican.

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'Man know thyself'

Rod
11-16-2000, 12:32 PM
Originally posted by Peter:

I think Beethoven was really an idealist - His music represents these ideals of course, and in that I would describe him as a universalist, not a nationalist.



Broadly I agree, but taking the use of Schiller's Ode in mind, which B had considered using throughout his compositional life, I suspect he would view it from a somewhat different perspective in his earlier days to what he did at the time of the 9th Symphony. The universal idealism would have been stronger in the younger man, whereas in the 9th the use of the Ode clearly reflects Beethovens personal priorities at that time as with other late works of his (though still of course with the univeral element playing its part). In a sence I suggest B was always to a certain extent living on past glories - the days of Enlightenment and revolution were gone by the time the Eroica was completed, never mind the 5th Symphony. So from what perspective must we view the 9th. By this time he must have been fighting for himself?

Rod

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

Peter
11-16-2000, 01:37 PM
Idealism is always stronger in a young man - Then disallusionment and reality set in - I am now a 38yr old cynic (not the right way to be - but a necessary phase I suspect) - I think the next stage will be acceptance. I don't think Beethoven was fighting by the time of the 9th - he had reached the final stage.His greatest battle was at the time of the Heiligenstadt Testament , and he won. Idealim,Cynicism,acceptance - I think they are the 3 phases of a man's life !

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'Man know thyself'

Rod
11-16-2000, 06:57 PM
Originally posted by Peter:
Idealism is always stronger in a young man - Then disallusionment and reality set in - I am now a 38yr old cynic (not the right way to be - but a necessary phase I suspect) - I think the next stage will be acceptance. I don't think Beethoven was fighting by the time of the 9th - he had reached the final stage.His greatest battle was at the time of the Heiligenstadt Testament , and he won. Idealim,Cynicism,acceptance - I think they are the 3 phases of a man's life !


Mmm..Pete the philosopher! Acceptance of the harsh realities of life is fine in the 3rd stage, but after this one must confront the harsher realities of death and never to be fulfilled dreams. The conflict and introspection of the last works may have been a result of this. But here Beethoven triumphs also - as we can see in the 9th. In his most subjective piece, the 'arioso dolente' and fugue of op110, Beethoven secure in his ultimate triumph, was not ashamed to display all of his gaping wounds from the battle that got him there.

I would put myself in the second stage also, but I'm not sure if I was ever in the first! Therefore I create a 4th stage for people like me - Demigod. You'll all be in trouble when I reath the 5th.

Rod

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

Serge
11-16-2000, 11:48 PM
You're really serious when you say that, aren't you, Rod?

I think it is unlikely Beethoven was making a statement in his late music, or trying to rediscover past glories in the 9th (why would he bother? He didn't really care what others thought of him). B.'s last music was written to satisfy one person: himself. He had commissions but took forever to respond to them, so it's not like money was a factor (besides, B. died relatively well-off thanks to his bank shares). I'm certain he wrote for an audience of one when he himslf was the only person he could turn to.

Peter
11-17-2000, 12:46 AM
Beethoven had never been a 'populist'composer,so there was nothing new in that. I do think money was still a concern for B - remember in 1823 he was forced to sell one of his bank shares (which he was saving for Karl)- remember also how B reacted to the news of the profits from the 2 performances of the 9th. He was also doing some pretty underhand negotiations with publishers as well !

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'Man know thyself'

Luis
11-17-2000, 10:33 AM
Beethoven: individualist - universalist

In a sence I suggest B was always to a certain extent living on past glories - the days of Enlightenment and revolution were gone by the time the Eroica was completed, never mind the 5th Symphony. So from what perspective must we view the 9th. By this time he must have been fighting for himself?
(Rod)

I don't think Beethoven was fighting by the time of the 9th - he had reached the final stage. His greatest battle was at the time of the Heiligenstadt Testament, and he won.
(Peter)

Acceptance of the harsh realities of life is fine in the 3rd stage, but after this one must confront the harsher realities of death and never to be fulfilled dreams. The conflict and introspection of the last works may have been a result of this. But here Beethoven triumphs also - as we can see in the 9th.
(Rod)
------------------------

How to interpret the ninth symphony? Is that the question? Whether its content is biographical or if does it represent a message for the whole humanity? Well, I would not say “or” but “and” instead.
The past glories had disappeared of the composer's mind, perhaps, but the fact that the idea of the ode has been planned so time ago in B’s life makes us not characterize this like a typical last period B work.

Rod says:
Acceptance of the harsh realities of life is dies in the 3rd stage, but after this one must confront the harsher realities of death and never to be fulfilled dreams.

Ok. But I don't consider these topics as being invoked/evoked in this symphony as they were it in the last two piano sonatas or in the later quartets.

I cannot say if all the suffering and conflict expressed at the symphony was individual or not. I mean, if B was thinking of his own sufferings and his individual triumph over them or the triumph of the whole humanity. Introspective it could have been but not exclusively biographical. It indeed has a message, and the work it seems in all sense like a last wise legacy.

Seid umschlungen, Millionen. (You millions, I embrace you
Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt! This kiss is for all the world!)

Was die Mode streng geteilt (All that custom has divided,
Alle Menschen werden Brüder All men become brothers)

In this sense, it can be that from his individual position as a man who has triumphed over all type of distresses tries to leave a hopeful message.
In what measure this message is “revolutionary” or " conformist " is another thing that we cannot settle down easily and there are indications of both. *

For example in one of the most moving passages:

Laufet, Brüder, eure Bahn, (Thus, brothers, you should run your race,
Freudig, wie ein Held zum Siegen As to hero going to victory!)

And after this comes the dramatic double fugue (previous to the choir explosion) that represents conflict, fight, intent after intent until getting the victory. (listen to it!)

On the other hand, besides this aspect, the message points maybe (and here without any doubt, fruit of an introspection) to simply enjoy the everyday life. (as B didn’t and he is complaining at this stage of his life?)

Wem der große Wurf gelungen, Whoever has created
Eines Freundes Freund zu sein, An abiding friendship,
Wer ein holdes Weib errungen,i Or has won
Mische seinen Jubel ein! A true and loving wife,
Ja, wer auch nur eine Seele All who can call at least one soul theirs,
Sein nennt auf dem Erdenrund! Join our song of praise;
Und wer's nie gekonnt, der stehle But those who cannot must creep tearfully
Weinend sich aus diesem Bund. Away from our circle.

On the religious message involved in the work I leave the place to somebody better qualified than me to understand these matters.

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* I used to like thinking in the first sense. And, returning to the topic of the man stages, I am on a painful transition from idealism to whoever knows http://www.gyrix.com/~cgraye/ubb/frown.gif

Well, that’s all for now. Let me know what you think.

Rod
11-17-2000, 01:30 PM
Originally posted by Luis:
How to interpret the ninth symphony? Is that the question? Whether its content is
biographical or if does it represent a message for the whole humanity? Well, I would not say “or” but “and” instead. The past glories had disappeared of the composer's mind, perhaps, but the fact that the idea of the ode has been planned so time ago in B’s life makes us not characterize this like a typical last period B work.

Rod says:
Acceptance of the harsh realities of life is dies in the 3rd stage, but after this one must
confront the harsher realities of death and never to be fulfilled dreams.

Ok. But I don't consider these topics as being invoked/evoked in this symphony as they were it in the last two piano sonatas or in the later quartets.

I cannot say if all the suffering and conflict expressed at the symphony was individual or not. I mean, if B was thinking of his own sufferings and his individual triumph over them or the triumph of the whole humanity. Introspective it could have been but not
exclusively biographical. It indeed has a message, and the work it seems in all sense
like a last wise legacy.)

I also stated that the universal message is still to be found in the ninth, but that at this time some parts of the Ode had more of a personal significance than would have been the case in the 1790's. There certainly is conflict, introspection and resolution in the 9th as far as I can hear! Much the same can be said the Missa Solemnis, though at the end the emotion is one of only guarded hope rather than resolution, which is interesting. I never suggested that there was a biographical programme to the 9th - B was never that one dimentional a composer.

Rod

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

Rod
11-17-2000, 01:40 PM
Originally posted by Serge:
You're really serious when you say that, aren't you, Rod?
B]

Yes...yet on the other hand....

Originally posted by Serge:
I think it is unlikely Beethoven was making a statement in his late music, or trying to rediscover past glories in the 9th (why would he bother? He didn't really care what others thought of him). B.'s last music was written to satisfy one person: himself. He had commissions but took forever to respond to them, so it's not like money was a factor (besides, B. died relatively well-off thanks to his bank shares). I'm certain he wrote for an audience of one when he himslf was the only person he could turn to.

By past glories, I didn't mean B's own musical past glories, but rather the political past glories of the French revolution and the Enlightenment that were an important influence on Beethoven, but became less relevant as time progressed politically. I mean I doubt the 9th could be regarded as a 'herioc' work on the context of revolutionary heroes as those days were long gone by the time it was composed. Thus I suggested that B's motivation may have been more personally orientated with the 9th, but I'm not particularly making an issue of this point.

Rod


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

Luis
11-19-2000, 07:57 AM
Originally posted by Rod:
(...) In his most subjective piece, the 'arioso dolente' and fugue of op110, Beethoven secure in his ultimate triumph, was not ashamed to display all of his gaping wounds from the battle that got him there.

What do you know about the meaning of this sonata or this particular movement that make you say that? On my CD notes says that first B seems to be “remembering the days when he could live in a full possessions of all his senses”, then, on the adagio ma non troppo and airoso dolente, it assumes the form of a kind of personal confession, to finally endow the fugue as a final liberation from his painful experiences by either religion or music. Have you heard something about all this? Anything else to add?

Rod
11-19-2000, 08:09 PM
Originally posted by Luis:
Originally posted by Rod:
(...) In his most subjective piece, the 'arioso dolente' and fugue of op110, Beethoven secure in his ultimate triumph, was not ashamed to display all of his gaping wounds from the battle that got him there.

What do you know about the meaning of this sonata or this particular movement that make you say that? On my CD notes says that first B seems to be “remembering the days when he could live in a full possessions of all his senses”, then, on the adagio ma non troppo and airoso dolente, it assumes the form of a kind of personal confession, to finally endow the fugue as a final liberation from his painful experiences by either religion or music. Have you heard something about all this? Anything else to add?

The angst in this movement seems to have a deep unusually subjective nature even by B's standards, yet it ends in a flurry of unsurpassed triumph. Make of it what you will!

Rod

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

HwaDam
11-20-2000, 02:36 PM
Thank you for your replies, Mr. Luis, Peter, Rod, Serge.

I had found this site a few weeks age. This page is so good and useful.

~Leslie
11-25-2000, 04:47 AM
This is a thread that I read with
much interest, because it shows the depth
and scope of knowledge in this site.
With that I must ask innocently (I have only
read two LvB biographies) if Beethoven was not a Universalist, and he had grown cynical
in his views of mankind in his latter years, then why did
he bother to include Schiller's Ode to Joy
chorale mvt in the ninth, which he must have known in his heart would be his crowning achievement, and lasting gift to mankind? (OK, that's subjective, on my part)
Wasn't this usage of choir unprecedented insofar as symphonies go, before that time?~

Serge
11-25-2000, 08:43 AM
It is indeed auspicious that Beethoven's paramount composition, the ne plus ultra of extended symphonic form and assumed musical standardbearer of humankind, was his Ninth Symphony. His final word on the limits of Classical compositional method and the possibility afforded the new realm of existential composition is the peak by which all others must and forevermore compare by. No matter what the details are, to spend years and years contemplating putting celebratory lyrics to music was not a simple matter of "making music". If B. wanted to, he could've written off a lieder in a week to Schiller's words. He could've taken any number of opportunities to write those lyrics into a song cycle, opera, oratorio, or whatever, but he didn't. He wanted to do those words justice. Finally, he was able to do so-- to a melody so simple and elemental it spanned no more than FIVE NOTES, yet so heart-wrenchingly elated and gorgeous that its immortality was instantly assured. To say that Beethoven was a cynic or misanthrope is placing the bitterest punishment on an artist who did more to make his art speak to the audience for a REASON than any other I know. The full reason I have come to this idea is long and complex (something I'm willing to share if anyone cares to read it), but in my mind I know for a fact Ludwig was a universalist, a humanist. To assume less would be an insult.

p.s. please don't think I'm pontificating; I believe every last word I've just written.

Luis
11-25-2000, 09:02 AM
Originally posted by Serge:


To say that Beethoven was a cynic or misanthrope is placing the bitterest punishment on an artist who did more to make his art speak to the audience for a REASON than any other I know. The full reason I have come to this idea is long and complex (something I'm willing to share if anyone cares to read it), but in my mind I know for a fact Ludwig was a universalist, a humanist. To assume less would be an insult.
.

I agree totally with you, but I don't think Rod was trying to say B was a cynic at all. Please! I'd love to read your points on B's motivations.

PS: Mahler rules!

Rod
11-25-2000, 05:11 PM
Originally posted by Luis:
I agree totally with you, but I don't think Rod was trying to say B was a cynic at all. Please! I'd love to read your points on B's motivations.

PS: Mahler rules!


Thanks for writing for me what I was about to write myself! All I was saying is that a more complex psychological situation may have been at work than just promoting the brotherhood of man. When one considers the verses B selected and how he used them, this is not an unreasonable position. But I admit I'm not in a position to say exactly what B's motivation was, and do not habitually attribute my own psychological assessments to B's actions! That there is a universal dimention to all of Beethoven's work is so blatantly apparent that it's not really a topic for discussion in itself.

Oh, and, just as a matter of interest, I would be interested to know which minor principality is Mahler the sovereign?

Rod

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

Luis
11-26-2000, 07:07 AM
Originally posted by Rod:
(...)
Oh, and, just as a matter of interest, I would be interested to know which minor principality is Mahler the sovereign?

Rod



No, I am the only sovereign. You'll see, I own the power of election and deprivation on a Kingdom: that of my musical pleasure, which I exercise with total authority and independence. Not having myself the enough qualifications to govern, I delegate this authority to other people. Not long time ago I happen to know a Bohemian reputed composer, a bit neurotic himself, to whom I decided, being myself a little neurotic too, to give an opportunity.
So I put him recently as mayor of one of the counties, which is part of one of the richest province: The Symphony. It turns out that in my opinion he is making an excellent work after all. The town has a powerful and well-motivated militia whose armament is now the envy of the rest of the counties, still when many of the other mayors don't share their warring spirit.
Anyway, their militia took him to win most of the bloody battles in those they were wrapped up; and that satisfies me particularly. My right hand and the only one I consider his position being result of divine right, Beethoven, with whom I have the habit of consulting his opinion permanently on the rest of the mayors, and particularly on this province, seems to be satisfied, although he believes the form that Mahler uses is not his own and criticize his opulence and sometimes chaotic form of government. However, I am more than pleased about how M. gave unity to the hectic landscape. When one walks in the town, for example, goes liking all you can be seeing, even though it is sometimes not possible to perceive an only guiding architecture of the place and it could be queerly difficult to guess how the next construction will be. The profuse and colorful ornamentation, which might not be liked by many visitors, it is of my pleasure though. I would invite anyone who wants to know this beautiful town!

Luis.

Michael
11-26-2000, 03:20 PM
Brilliant reply, Luis. Bravo!

Michael

Peter
11-26-2000, 04:11 PM
I second that - very inspired Luis -you deserve a literary prize !!

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'Man know thyself'

[This message has been edited by Peter (edited 11-26-2000).]

Rod
11-26-2000, 08:24 PM
Originally posted by Peter:
I second that - very inspired Luis -you deserve a literary prize !!


Whatever boys...whatever...

Rod

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