Beethoven: The Man Who Freed Music; 4; Beethoven: His Chamber Music
Beethoven love my music. And I'm reading the two letters that ever scrape the back of the big long Beethoven in 77. One of a series of programmes produced by the University of Michigan Broadcasting Service revealing the musical social and political climate of Europe during the lifetime of the man who freed music. Today's host is Dr. Louise e-collar professor of musicology and chairman of the musicology Department of the University of Michigan School of Music. By topic. Beethoven is chamber music. This is the first of two programs with Dr. Klein are on the chamber music of Beethoven and will deal entirely with the string quartets. Here now is Dr. Carter. During 1970 the whole civilized world is observing that 200000 are very serious. They tell the birth and knew about how goofy
of this monster has already appeared and is probably the forerunner of others. Countless articles will probe everything from the genes that produce such a marvel to Beethoven's own creative processes and each of these 200 odd compositions will be heard before the year is done. Many of them time after time the shades of a lesser mind might blend all in the cold light of so counter to scrutiny. But no one fears this for Beethoven he was the first truly free composer amount of encrypted convictions who could work when he chose to do so without the inhibited restrictions of patronage. A new musical menu came in with Beethoven and he was one of its profits. Many of his contemporaries to their everlasting credit heard his voice and in trying him along with good among their Titans the passing years have confirmed the sagacity of their judgment
to attempt any precis of a great artist. Total legacy is of course naive and foolish. And this is especially true in the case of Beethoven. Perhaps the terse statement name from a freshman music paper. Beethoven had three periods early middle and late is as close to a summary as we may safely come and they told him 16 string quartets do indeed fit very plausibly into such a simple chronology. When the young composer turned first to the string quartet he was about twenty eight years old. Firmly established at Vienna and recognized already as a musician of exceptional promise. Toward the end of the eighteenth century when Beethoven was writing his first string quartets the six of his opus 18 Haydn To whom must go the credit for carrying the string quartet to a super majority was composing his last works in this room. Yet only
occasionally during the course of his opus 18 quartets does Beethoven give evidence that he sought to emulate these splendidly sophisticated finer quartets versions of Haydn Beethoven migrated to Vienna from Bonn his native city in 1792 at that time. Mozart who passed his final ten years in the Austrian capital had been dead less than a year and just have Haydn then 60 years old count of Vienna his home Haydn was full of honors and was then embarked on a series of visits to England that brought such Reinado into his later years. It would be pleasant says there in his still authoritative biography to announce the arrival of lude big van Beethoven in Vienna with so to speak a grand flourish of trumpets and to indulge that fantasy in a highly colored and poetic account of his advent there. But unluckily there is none of that lack of data which is favorable to that
kind of composition. None of that obscurity which exalts one to write history as he would have it there not as it actually was. The facts are too patent like the multitude of studious use and young man who came thither annually to find schools and teachers. This small thin dark complection and pock marked Dark Side be wigged Young Musician of twenty two had quietly journeyed to the capital to pursue the study of his art with a small thin dark complection pockmarked black guide and by a wig that ran this veteran who in fair describes was of course just of Haydn. But rapport between the young Beethoven and the venerable Haydn ceased with these physical similarities. What our own day likes to call a generation gap was apparent immediately between the practical revered older master and the neophyte who is destined to be chief spokesman for a
new race of composers. In fact many traits apparent in works from Beethoven's earlier years may derive inadvertently from his lack of accord with Haydn seem in retrospect this circumstance was fortunate for Beethoven style was quite individual from the very start and paid scant deference to Haydn Mozart or any other of his contemporaries. Vienna in the 1790s was capital of the growing cult of instrumental music although other cities did her in devotion to opera church music and in the staging a public concert. Vienna surpassed all others in her development of orchestras and chamber ensembles of every variety. The en unnumbered is sizable group from the secular nor nobility among her permanent residents and this circle was augmented during certain months of the year with notables from the various Austrian States and from other parts of the Empire.
Most of these secular princes were music lovers and patrons who vibe with each other in maintaining instrumental groups. Many of them were also tout talented actors and were eager to participate in the performance of chamber works. While the music of masters from a generation or two earlier was often played there was a special interest in reading new works with such an eager receptive discerning audience it has and it is little wonder that an impressive number of Beethoven's earlier works were written for some type of Chamber Ensemble. Not until about 1790 8 however did Beethoven commence serious work on his first string quartets. Those of Opus 18 and heightens close identification with the court form may well have been a principal reason for the delay. The various movements of the Opus 18 quartets appear to have been composed intermittently over a considerable period of time. As a consequence
heterogeneity and casual notice in association among the several movements of any single quartet are conspicuous traits. These quartets which are performers music written to be light the cultivated amateurs have Beethoven's own day pick in the styles they manifest and are distinctly an even quality. Within the compass of their 24 movements however may be discovered many of the sounds and devices of musical syntax that were to characterize Beethoven's later more distinctive works. Ultimately Beethoven's musical language became the most individual and the most eloquent ever forged by a major composer. We shall now examine some of the elements of that language as they are foreshadowed in the quartets of Opus 18. Firstly there is pretty election for statement of important material at the unison or the reinforced octave unison.
Since at least 600 years before Beethoven's day sophisticated music had been developing ever more complex linear and harmonic associations. Consequently the lean uncomplicated sound of a unison passage was the antithesis of the textures prevalent in most 18th century music and the unison was a device Beethoven employed with powerful effect throughout his string quartets an excellent example occurs in Opus 18 number one at the very start when unison passages alternate with those set in conventional harmonic style. And. We heard.
It with. Several distinctive aspects of Beethoven's music the language derives from temporal circumstances. What we now call the a god gesture is achieved through this sudden introduction of sounds of longer duration into a rapidly moving passage. Opus 18 number one has an instance toward the close of the exposition section of the first movement. Or. A similar passage is found in Opus 80 number three. The first movement.
To get through a. Nigger. You know short rhythms derives from the trip a foot in poetry and often referred to as low notes even a guy. In connection with by rock music especially seem to have intrigued Beethoven from his earliest years. Eventually these rhythms seem to have taken on special symbolic meaning for him and following their apathy ASIS and the great feel where they achieve total permeation of the texture in the first movement of Opus 18 number to a bar in the long short rhythm constitutes the second
element of the opening subject. Later in the same movement this long short rhythm assumes the dominant role in an expansion of the opening subject. With. You and. You and. The ear. The metric displacement as a source of tension or as a
means of strength training and eventual resumption of regular metric grouping interested Beethoven throughout his life. The entire scare so of the last of the Opus 18 quartets is based upon the vitality of shifting meters. And. So the quartets of Beethoven second group the three of Opus 59 are dedicated to the count Reza musky the Russian ambassador at Vienna who is enormously wealthy and at the center of the glittering musical life of the Austrian capital. However when Beethoven was
composing his resume off key quartets between May and December of eight hundred six most of the iris to Craddick cultivated music lovers who are Beethoven's ardent admirers had fled Vienna when Napoleon's soldiers marched down the Danube and seized the capital city during the autumn of 18:5 normal social and musical activities were suspended temporarily. This disruption may help to explain these surprisingly discouraging initial reception given the Reza musky quartets along with Beethoven's one opera Leonora Orphy Delio and several other compositions introduced to Vienna at about this time. If some of Beethoven's contemporaries showed a remarkable coolness toward the resume off key quartets succeeding generations have offered redress these quartets are now regarded as singularly robust examples of Beethoven style an early been to a Tate musical ideas of intrinsic
quality are presented cogently and placed in context that enhance their native attractiveness in deference to the dead it could be Beethoven wove Russian themes into the fabric of the first two quartets in the F major quartet. This theme emerges in the cello at the start of the finale. Beneath the trill in the first LAN. In the second quartet the Russian thing occupies the trio of the SCART. As for that their aggressor musky quartet any Russian allusion is
debatable as we shall discover presently. Considered as a group the reson musky quartets constitute vivid illustration of Beethoven's new compositional manner as it developed during a period between about 18 5 and 18 10 for his view of the very essence of musical materials had been undergoing profound and disturbing change composition after composition reveals Beethoven is angry and impatient over the restrictive notes of classical structure and works written during this transition period. A bond inset frustrated petulant gestures as abrupt long notes occurring often in awkward contexts unlinked phrase segments harsh chromatic notes and unwieldy shifts of register. Frequently these effects which are still difficult to explain rationally interrupt passages of lyric beauty that are themselves models of classic serenity
and new intensely personal musical language was the result from the bitter struggle they dove and waged with his classical heritage and the rest Tomasky quartets give frequent evidence of this conflict. The chaste beauty of a series of phrases balanced and poised in relation to each other is a familiar and cherished attribute of the best music from the Classical Period Period. Beethoven himself for an East wonderful examples in the numerous lyric movements of early Sonata is and in the Opus 18 string quartets few of these can surpass the first movement of the F major chord Opus 59 number 1. Both the first and second subject of this work are marvels of lyric beauty and are among the most admired themes of all those found in the quartets to the critical observer however Beethoven's own and with the mood of classic Serenity seems less than toto after the opening subject has
achieved balance contours in four symmetrical phrases and come to a full pause at the 19th measure. The first hint of annoyance intrudes A10 measure bridge passage intervened sharply picking up several of Beethoven's familiar dispersive tactics before it levels off in a resumption of the lyric opening mood. The End of. The book. Oh
and. The FAA. The end. Of the second subject begins is searingly is a first but develops increasing complexity of texture early in its second phrase when a brief imitative passage in a series of crystals develop the phrase breaks off sharply to move it into an episode of desultory A9. Characterized most vividly by the lesson I found between F sharp and F natural. This episode extends to 18 measures in all climaxing a passage of detached chords alternately high and low in register. After this point a listing for a serene mood resumes once more
the area hit. With. The second movement of the same quartet marked Allegretto Vivace as
Sampras Scott Sandell was a special target for the derisive comments of Beethoven's friends. These were directed especially at the solo on one note with which the cello commences the movement even today we can see that this is a very odd piece pointillist thick and futuristic in the way it scatters vaguely related musical segments through a wide spectrum often with no connective material at all. But to study this got some dough with for a knowledge of Beethoven's characteristic manner as it was to develop later is to see this piece is perhaps the most prophetic of all the ruts and Muskie movements earnest Nomen was speaking of just such pieces when he wrote. To assume that it was out of the themes that the movement grew is probably to see the process from the wrong end. The themes are not the generators of the mass of music but are themselves rather the condensation of this as we examine this allograft of Vivace with Nomen
suggestion in mind. A subtle comprehensive plan does emerge as logical in its own way as a classical park type structure. The essential elements of the movement are disclosed one by one and in deliberate disarray so that their gradual progress toward a point of attraction becomes the first important accomplishment in the music. During the much maligned initial solo on one note in the cello two elements are projected the pitch be flat which is centrifugal to the whole movement and the basic rhythm. Next a second element. This one with palpable melodic shape is stated two octaves higher in the second violin. The viola then has another solo on one note which immediately neg
the key of B-flat through using the pitch a flat after an entry in the first violin that confirms this second pitch level the first concrete portion of the movement develops out of a pair of entries in the cello and the viola. These entries are attached at first to the basic rhythm but are soon dispersed. Instead another melodic idea. As we listen candidly to the opening portion of this extraordinary movement we are scarcely surprised to recall that ship and sig whose quartet gave first readings to so many of Beethoven's compositions thought Beethoven was pulling his leg when first he attempted to read it. There's.
Nothing. Thank you. The last resume of ski quartet or Opus 59 number three
commences with the twenty nine measure introduction and it is totally ambiguous in its key inference. The vitality of this prelude stems from a carefully regulated scheme of dynamics and from frequent incursion of the chord of the dominie seventh the dynamic scheme has attached principal aid to the opening segment of nine measures which commences at the four day level diminishes immediately to a pianissimo and is maintained for five measures. Then returns to Forte for one measure before it recedes to piano for the first pause. Such study manipulation of the temporal span of dynamics becomes an important ruse in Beethoven's later compositions. And hence seeing the effect of this dynamic plan is its harmonic context. The opening 40 is attached to a chord of the dominie seventh the most intense and least committed chord in Beethoven's vocabulary. The pianissimo that follows occupies a less intense
major minor seventh chord which is still uncommitted in its inference. Next a polygon your passage of five measures dimensions with an A minor triad and proceeds in a relaxed fashion to the next forte which is attached to still another chord of the dominie sevens with a note of suspension in the second violin. This note of suspension resolves to stress the piano level of the cadence pause. It 19 measure Palin your passage follows to complete the introduction maintaining a pianissimo levels throughout. This passage
begins and ends with a diminished seventh chord. In contrast to this introduction the start of the ensuing Allegro Vivace is firmly tonal for the key of C major is fixed by an opening model set to the tonic and dominant seventh and seventh harmonies of that key.
The two aspects of this motto the Anacrusis or up the heat and the semitone in the first violin generate several future areas in the movement. For example this portion that let leads to the second subject. What follows the motto immediately however is a discursive cadenza like bridge in the first man. This leads to the pith of the Allegro movement. A portion that is aggressively in C major. The two chords which immediately preceded the arrival of this C major portion are derives from the opening motto. Here however each chord is augmented to occupy an entire measure but thus achieving
emphasis through and gesture. We shall now hear the opening exposition section of the Allegro Vivace in which the sequence of musical events is as you recall the motto a cadenza bridge the motto plus bridge and transposition and the motto augmented followed by the essential part of this Allegro movement. Good. Morning.
This entire Allegro Vivace illustrates the kind of temporal and metric
exploitation which gives such vitality to Beethoven's Mac tour music. If this resin musky quartet has any Russian allusion it probably lies in the plaintive slightly Slavic mood of the opening of the second movement Andante con moto. The presence of a minaret dough for the third movement of the quartet is an anachronism for Beethoven had long preferred to skirt saw the finale as a brilliant perpetual motion and arresting a moment occurs close to the end
when after the interpellation of three closely spaced dramatic pauses a pair of long notes such as those used to introduce the principal section of the first movement are recalled this time to instigate the closing section of this finale. Move. To. The the. Uh. Uh. Uh. Uh with the end of the end of. The end. The beat. Besides this required texts dedicated to the current resident off ski Beethoven
composed only one other work of this type during the transitional period from 18 6 until 18 10 this was the quartet in E-flat major opus 74 often called the harp because of the effect of the frequent but to capo sections in the first movement. But Beethoven's eleventh string quartet composed during 1810 was one of the first works to signal Beethoven's freshly confident attitude toward every aspect of his craft. This was the quartet Oh sorry I was so in F minor Opus 95 this surprising piece the briefest of all Beethoven's quartets packs enough kinetic energy in its first 20 bars to propel the music to climax after climax a number of traits of this quartet are bold and novel Beethoven's plan for the first movement centered around a dynamic model that is heard at the opening and is seldom absent for long in shadow at any rate as the movement unfolds.
The essence of this powerful motto is a linear statement of the active pitches belonging to the key of F minor. It is set into motion however by its head motive which lends itself to independent use and occurs frequently without the remainder of the model. Supplementary materials unrelated to this motto are so devised as to provide immediate contrast to it and they are interspersed with the motto derived material in a carefully plotted sophisticated temporal plan. The section devoted to the opening statement or any twenty measures in length is a wonderful example of deliberately controlled mounting tension. First the motto is stated in unison among the four instruments followed by a pause. Next a segment in total contrast to the model is introduced. Essentially this is a passage in the long short truck a rhythm centered around the pitch C. After this the
motto recurs a semi-tone higher at G flat to completely dispel the F minor tonal focus. Alter this G flat MATO A linear portion develops to relax the tension generated by the three dynamic events projected within the first six measures. This bridge portion grows in intensity picking up the head motif in the viola part along the way. Eventually this bridge leads to our prize of the moto cast at the original level of F minor. The opening of the F minor quartet. Was. During the brief section of reprise the musical events of the first six measures are
compressed into two measures by fragmentation of the motto the enormous tension thus generated is released suddenly in a one measured linear passage followed abruptly by a dominant seventh chord that prepares for the key of the bland second subject D-flat major. On the second subject is stated in a classic design of two measure phrases and arrives without tension at the dominant seventh chord of the key of D flat which is pro pro long during four measures in a tactic designed to provide mounting urgency toward resolution resolution when it comes provides one of the most arresting moments of the entire quartet. A flood at the root of the dominant seventh chord leaps up a semitone to a in all four instruments which then proceed to state in a major scale spread over two
full octaves. This type of linear resolution is boldly conceived and knew this brilliant passages are well camouflaged very into the classic deceptive resolution but the artful temporal manipulation of both elements of the cadence gives the progression a rocket like intensity. Now the opening of the section devoted to the second subject. Was. With. With the.
The key of B-flat which is we just heard was quickly re-established is extended over a pedal point an animated by continuing use of the had motive and various of the instruments. Suddenly the tranquility of this little coda is shattered when all the instruments move from D flock to the natural and proceed to take a D major scale through a full octave in a passage reminiscent of the one heard only a few measures earlier. Once the key of D flat is restored it bruises for the remainder of the exposition section. With. With.
The midsection of this movement is held to a minimal length to conserve the kinetic energy of the design and the reprise parallels the opening section except for two brilliant instances of brilliant chromatic displacement taken in connection with the now familiar scalar passages. The second movement which commences in D Major is set into motion where the motto derives from that of the first movement. Unlike the original model which is the generating force for the entire first movement this new motto acts as a frame to signalize the main sections of the large tripartite design. The first subject which emerges from
this motto is America episode cast in classic period design with warm coloring imparted by inflections borrowed from the minor mode the second subject which proceeds after the first without pause or bridge is a fertile insinuating linear idea whose general shape at any rate derives from the opening motto. This subject is developed in a full fugal exposition with entries successively in Viola second violin cello and first hand this exposition is extended without cadence or pause through a surprising succession of inferred keys coming to rest solidly in a flat major which is full cycle from the D major opening. The motto on no resumes in a series of three sequential entries commencing
at the a flat level. The outcome of the third stage of the motto is fusion with a re-entry of the fugal subject and live an hour with associated contrapuntal materials. Fourteen years intervened before Beethoven again turned to the string quartet form. They were years of intermittent personal tragedy but also of musical triumphs such as no other composer has experienced during his own lifetime. These
are the areas that brought the final piano sonatas the seventh eighth and ninth symphonies the mesas alumnus the DA about leave their emotions and numerous smaller works. The first three of Beethoven's final group of five string quartets were written during 18 24 and eight hundred twenty five. Specifically as a result of a commission from the print media the last bar East Gonnet seen one of Beethoven's most ardent admirers in Russia. The sequence in which these gallant scene quartets were composed was Opus One hundred twenty seven in E-flat Opus One hundred thirty two in a minor and Opus 130 in the flood which we feel now examined. This B-flat quartet was conceived on the grandest scale of all Beethoven's chamber works for its six movements originally included the great fugue is of Finale the substitute finale which was provided a year later at the publisher's suggestion is generally used today as we consider the Titanic plan Beethoven
devised for this work. However we should do well to recall the great few as the triumphant outcome of the massive conflicts the composer set into motion in the five movements that preceded it. These five movements are conceived and bore wonderful dissimilarity with no overt gesture toward unity music such as these final quartet should not be viewed as a culmination of any trend or stylistic called Nor should we expect that such music would necessarily generate other works. This is a prelude to great art work must always stand magnificently alone timeless in the sense that is it has neither antecedents nor successors to initiate the first movement of the B-flat quartet. The composer presents within 15 bars for vital distinctive musical ideas each one embryonic in its first occurrence but infinitely plastic and fertile. Element 1 is a brief motif so shaped as to be useful in later portions of the movement for defining or changing tonal
focus. And I meant to is a meandering Linear Material whose most distinctive trait is recurrent thing figure induct elec that is LONG short short rhythm. With. Elements three and four enter in close juxtaposition at the start of the Allegro section. Element three is a figure of four sixteenth notes that generally instigates a chain of sixteenth note figures through sequence. Element four which is frequently associated with element 3 has
incisive rhythmic shape and is characterized by the perfect fourth interval. We shall now listen to the delineation of these four movements during the opening statement of the quartet. The remainder of the movement has developed from these four ideas spaced
kinetically and transformed often through various devices of permutation the dactylic rhythm of element 2 for example becomes the genesis of the first active transition section. Element 3 is especially fertile and yielding transform material occurring as a sync single figure in the cello. It is the in scepter of the second principle subject. With ya.
Soon after this element 3 generates a newly energized Figure 1 the first of its four sixteenth notes is replaced by a rest. Do. You know. That this same element three carried out and a long legged host sequence chain is the source of the extensive code data section to the Exposition in the east. The second movement Presto is brief but electrifying a shift from duple simple to duple triple meter is the source of the first tension the onrush of the Triple meter is arrested precipitately by intrusion of a passage and
longer note values that climaxes in a series of brief chromatic advances for the first violin just before the original duple rhythm is restored. The anything. The US. Could. Do any. Good. The B-flat quartet is singularly rich in the inclusion of two super slow
movements both of which are among Beethoven's finest. These are separated by a relaxed gay all abducted to desk. That might seem in Congress in such exalted surroundings were we not somewhat accustomed to Beethoven's penchant for relieving the transcendent with the nearby Now the king redaction ships among the three movements of the stars of much of the brightness of the dots at the desk. This unpretentious German dance is cast in G-Major to live between the keys of D-flat major in the Andante con moto and E-flat major in the cover Tina the substitute thin Ali a cheerful Rondo is a far cry indeed from the profundities of the great feud the limits of human comprehension suggest however that Beethoven's publisher was wise in requesting this less taxing final movement and the kind of practicality that made Beethoven willing to accept his publisher's suggestion is evident in many other works in which a singularly relaxed portion follows a movement of exalted character.
After Beethoven had completed the quartets commissioned by the prince Gallic seen his creative life was nearly finished. There was the C-sharp minor quartet Opus 131 which is concentrated as its immediate predecessor Opus 130 is diverse. Then the F major quartet Opus a hundred and thirty five which is a singularly slight work in comparison to its predecessors and it was finished Beethoven's life ended about three o'clock in the afternoon of March twenty seven eight hundred twenty seven. Beethoven's funeral which took place two days later was one of the most imposing functions of its kind ever witnessed in Vienna. Cards of invitation were given out but hours before the appointed time a multitude estimated around 20000 people had assembled spelling out from the room a court of Beethoven's own house into the public square in front of it. The sorrowful procession moved to the Mina reached in church in the hours there. Then to the cemetery at varing many of
Beethoven's peer musicians were torchbearers among them from Schubert Rudolf Kreitzer Carl Czerny and ship and segued whose quartet had given readings to so many of Beethoven string quartets. This wonderful outpouring of respect and gratitude tells us a great deal about the Viennese for a people must be judged ultimately by its heroes. But the event tells us even more about Beethoven. Despite his awesome vision and insight he spoke essentially in the language of his day in a tongue that was both direct and simple. His music was addressed not alone to his peers but to the 20000 who paid him a last tribute. And to the countless others who knew and treasured his music. Beethoven was a man of his time and his environment. He perceived apathy is just the ideals of his generation. An artist can do no more. You are today's host has been Dr. Louise e-collar a professor of musicology and chairman
of the musicology. Fire front of the University of Michigan School of Music. Our topic was Beethoven. His chamber music. This was the first of two of Dr. Tyler's like yours on the chamber music of pay-TV and was devoted entirely to the string quartets. She will be heard later in the series talking about chamber music and other genres. This was the fourth in a series of programs produced by the broadcasting service of the University of Michigan revealing the musical social and political climate of Europe during the lifetime of the big fun Beethoven. And I'm writing the two hundred that have our story of his birth in 1778. Invited to listen again next week at this time for another program of the series Beethoven the man who freed music. Program produced by Harry Welliver and Burroughs speaking for the national educational radio
network. This program was originally produced in 1970 by the University of Michigan Broadcasting Service and is currently being distributed by NPR National Public Radio.
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- Beethoven: His Chamber Music
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- Beethoven: The Man Who Freed Music is a program from the University of Michigan Broadcasting Service and the National Educational Radio Network. The series focuses on Beethovens life and works through musical selections and lectures from faculty members at the University of Michigan. The program was originally produced in 1970 in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Beethovens birth, and was later distributed by National Public Radio.
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