The Beethoven Reference Site Forums  

Go Back   The Beethoven Reference Site Forums > General > Beethoven and Classical Music Discussion

Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 01-11-2017, 08:40 AM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 126
Beethoven, Brahms and Vienna

I'm wanting to highlight some points of interest in Swafford's wonderfully written biography of Brahms; in particular, his years in Vienna. One thing is significant about the musical milieu of Vienna; the growing middle class from the mid-late 19th century is increasingly well educated about all things musical. Swafford claims that 'music appreciation' is fundamental to this phenomenon. That Brahms stood astride the cognoscenti and the less well-educated general audiences in order to gain approval is an important feature of his compositional aesthetic. He conducted the Singverein (choir) and often put Bach on the program; the people thought that "Bach is good for you but too often hard to swallow". From this Brahms learned an important lesson about how far he could go with more 'difficult' music for his audiences.

This was a composer who understood the sociology of music and performance who was then able to introduce more challenging works to his audiences because he had garnered their respect. For this reason he remained committed to Vienna.

Transpose that idea to Beethoven who already felt the pointy end of changing musical fashions and fickle audiences in his own lifetime (even before deafness). He arose to that challenge by not providing one single concession to it and composing more abstract, formally diffuse music for the next generation.

Last edited by Humoresque; 01-11-2017 at 08:44 AM.
Humoresque is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2017, 02:04 PM   #2
Peter's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 9,603
This sounds also like Mozart - 'Music must never offend the ear, but must please the listener, or, in other words, must never cease to be music.'
'Man know thyself'
Peter is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

All times are GMT. The time now is 08:38 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.