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Beethoven. Commemorating the two other than the first wave of the Olympics on fake openings ever said. One of the series of programs 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 Cutler professor of musicology and chairman of the musicology Department of the University of Michigan School of Music. Her topic is chamber music. This is the second of two programs with Dr. Cuyler on the chamber music of Beethoven and the emphasis today will be upon the piano trios. Here now is Dr. Cuyler.
The 18th century might well be dubbed the age of the rise of the piano since few musical developments have influenced composers as profoundly as the superseding of the harpsichord by the piano forte. This had happened irrevocably by the 1760s so that Mozart was the first major composer to experience the full impact of the change. The reason that the widespread adoption of this one instrument did indeed exert so profound an effect was that ensemble music throughout the Borrow period had been sustained and propelled by its Basso continual line which was realized generally by the harpsichord. This type of keyboard instrument which was bright and articulate in quality but had little power to sustain was the constant competition and in the sound of borrow music because of the frailty of the harpsichord the music the composers such as by Handel and Vivaldi tended to stress the upper melodic parts
which were most often assigned to string instruments. The meteoric rise of the piano forte with its excitingly varied tone qualities its robust dynamics and its capacity for autonomous use. Change the whole nature of instrumental ensemble music. At first many many Sinatra's were written for the piano alone but were often published with optional supplementary parts for stringed instruments to increase their appeal especially to amateur performers. This type of composition is properly called unaccompanied keyboard sonata but it carries the seed of the true ensemble types which were soon to develop. Such is the real dual Sonata and the piano trio. A survey of the piano trios of Mozart and Haydn will disclose many of the stages in the evolution of genuine piano ensemble music. The importance of chamber music in Beethoven's total musical legacy would be difficult to
overestimate. In this Masters published compositions at least one out of three is cast for some type of instrumental ensemble. The size of the group used varies from a mare pair. Generally piano and a stringed instrument to as sizable a force as that required for the septet of the entire corpus of Beethoven's chamber works. The 16 string quartets occupy a unique place in musical literature of all time. Embracing as they do some of the noblest musical ideas western music has yet produced but a far larger group is made up of compositions which combine the piano with various stringed instruments most effectively perhaps with a violin and a cello to constitute the so-called piano trio the chamber with music with piano has a special place in Beethoven literature. It may well have been a prime source of the extraordinarily lively rapport Beethoven
maintained with contemporary audiences. Perhaps no other composer whose music has later proved to be timeless and transcendent has enjoyed the immediate acclaim and recognition accorded Beethoven during his own lifetime. He has earliest fame however came from his gifts as a ritual as oh pianist and improvisor. He was first welcomed into the homes of wealthy via Annie's music lovers. Because of this ability and only later did he venture to introduce his own compositions to these people who were to become his friends and patrons. His experience as a performer one of whom is first of all communicate continued to give practicality and immediacy to his music long after he ceased to play in public. No other group of compositions was as strongly influenced by this as he's tamely works with piano for the composer himself in most cases participated in the first reading of each work and enjoyed the opportunity to discuss it immediately with his peers.
In our own day of specialization and coddling a composer who is also a virtual performer is rare indeed the most serious loss lies in the composer's relative detachment from both his music and the audience he addresses. He has lost the intuitive articulateness that was so important an asset of such a composer performer's as Mozart jazz Vivaldi And of course Beethoven himself. The trio is of Opus 1 which are some of Beethoven's very earliest surviving music. Offer an excellent opportunity for as fessing Beethoven's progressive mastery of the piano Creole medium which is the model for most chamber music combining piano and strings. We know rather more than often about the circumstances of the first hearing of these trios because the composer himself related some of the particulars to his gifted student Andris who in turn preserved the record for posterity.
The year was probably 1793 and the occasion was a soiree at the Palace of the prince foolish enough to ski who was to become Beethoven's ardent admirer and patron the audience was a virtual who's who of musical Vienna but the most honored guest was the venerable Joseph Haydn. Then at the very pinnacle of his fame Beethoven who had then lived in Vienna something less than a year was invited primarily because of his gifts as a performer. During the course of the evening however Beethoven ventured to present these his first piano trios for reading and for new music written by a virtual unknown. They seem to have commanded an usually favorable comment even Haydn be spoke his approval all ode to Beethoven should gran Beethoven express Haydn expressed some reservations about a third of the trio is that in C Minor which the young composer had to judge the best of the group. This incident may well be the source
of the rift it soon developed between Haydn and Beethoven where the younger man thought Haydn to be envious and ill disposed toward him. This unfortunate breach was never really healed although Haydn was to live 16 more years to see Beethoven become the musical prophet of his generation. The opening of a second major is proof that Beethoven carried out his own experiments effective for this movement is cast in the manner of the then archaic accompanied keyboard Sonata which was already well past its prime in the 1790s. The piano part is almost completely autonomous and could well stand alone although the parts for violin and cello do provide. A.
Dramatically different is the opening movement of the third the C minor trio
which was the one that failed to impress Haydn or as the musical texture of the G-Major adagio is continuous throughout with none of the highlighting and implicit punctuation which ensues if the texture is altered frequently. This opening Allegro con Braille of the C minor trio rarely maintains a given texture for longer than eight or ten bars. Many basic plans for combining piano with strings emerge during this movement as well as several elements of musical syntax that became Beethoven hallmarks in later works. At the very outset for example for Measure My motto is heard this is stated in unison between piano and strings. A texture which is especially effective because the strings provides us to new toe while the piano adds articulation. The second segment of this motto is immediately detached and restated at a new pitch level
but still in unison to provide the first extension of material. This model always stated in unison and with the two measure extension is reintroduced often is the music. As the music progresses generally a signal izing the arrival of an important element of the design. In many cases the reiterated second segment which always occurs at a changed picture level becomes a useful and simple means of effecting modulation. Now the opening model. Of. Once the motto has been completed a short Ridge motive leads to statement of the first principal subject the texture here is typical of one Beethoven used frequently and later compositions. The piano is made the more amenable to the strings through being treated as a dualistic
instrument. The right hand part is cast as a melodic entity engaged here in stating the first principal subject. But the left hand part joins the violin and cello to provide a background in three for rhythm. This kind of practice has the effect of equalizing the instruments. Since the piano is problem an ensemble is that it tends to overpower the string. The opening of the first subject. Immediately after this. A second element of the first subject emerges. It's fresh. Character stressed by a pointed change in texture. The piano right hand then engaged in a spirit based upon two measure mode is passed back and forth from one to the other. This portion of the opening subject has its outcome and a vigorous unison
passage concluding with a reiteration of the pitch. At this point the motto is again introduced to signal the arrival of the second large segment of this design. This portion which turns out to be one hundred and eight measures in total length is contrasted with a mere thirty measures for the opening statement. It is constructed in a curious but prophetic manner. The second principal subject. Is withheld some 20 measures instead of being introduced immediately after the fashion of the classical Sonata design. The part that leads to
indeed postpone the arrival of the second principal subject is constructed over the recurrent bass pitched B-flat. The dominant of the key of E flat used for the second principal subject but above this B flat. The piano right hand and the violin join to expand and explore the material of the first principal subject. When the second principal subject of which we heard the germ ot of a moment ago finally arrives. It also is developed mostly in right hand piano and violin parts while the cello and left hand piano provide a kind of Obrigado background. After this statement of this vital second subject is completed another lengthy portion of Kweisi developmental nature is used to complete the exposition section. In his later more mature works Beethoven learned to introduce similar passages of development into early portions of his Sonata designs but more subtly. Indeed they became a prime
characteristic of Beethoven's musical syntax. Always however they do create a special problem one which is not solved very shrewdly in this particular trail. The middle section of the sonata allegro design is given over traditionally to the very kind of thematic body not in which Beethoven indulges freely during the second portion of this exposition section. The problem is obviously one of monotony even lack of clarity of intent. Perhaps wise old Haydn had to say in mind when he made his critical comments concerning the C minor trio. We can confirm the validity of such judgement by listening continuously to the portion we have just discussed. The sequence of musical events if you will recall the restate the Restatement of the opening model. A transitional development section based upon the recurrent base picked B-flat. The second principal subject in E-flat major and a concluding
developmental episode. The strong E-flat cadence of the exposition section is succeeded immediately by the start of the formalized and prescribed development section as of classical usage which is heralded by the novel familiar model but what follows the model this time is practically similar in content and texture to the closing portions of the exposition section which is just been concluded. The principal boon to be gained through such a critical scrutiny as that we have
just applied to the C minor trio one of Beethoven's very earliest works is realisation that the Sioux perve mastery of design and every element of musical craft came to be uniquely Beethoven's was won through constant experimentation and critical alertness. Beethoven's own sketchbooks give adequate testament to the constant process of revision to which he subjected every major work. Indeed no composer has ever profited more from his own problems and failures and Beethoven. This is shown emphatically as we turn from the very early trios of Opus 1 to the Archduke creo Opus 97 dedicated to the composers loyal friend and patron the Archduke Rudolph. This noblest of all piano trios was written some eighteen years after those of Opus One but for the same ensemble of piano violin and cello it was a product of the same fertile period during which were written the last of the dual
Sonata is for piano and violin and piano and child all the six and seven symphonies in the F minor quartet. As we listen to this glorious music we sense that the most pervasive change lies in the relationship amongst the instruments no longer are they cast in competition with one another. Rather they cooperate in an ideal fashion to achieve a truly lofty musical and virtually all the materials of the first movement are so devised as to be due soon to be suited to use by any of the instruments and a wonderful serenity is the result. Another change lies in the clarity and distinctiveness of the central materials. Gone is the confusion between sections devoted to exposition of essential ideas and those added for extension are development. The principal thing is that the first movement are eloquent memorable and amenable to the various metamorphosis that are part of the language of sophisticated music. The pianist States the first
principal theme at the very outset and is soon joined by the strangeness. The second principle theme which appears almost 50 bars later contrasts strikingly with the first one. It has a lighter sketch so lacked quality and commences with an Anacrusis that is a pick up beat. And it is in the key of G Major Wood offers a bright strong contrast to the B flat major of the opening. Here is the second subject in its first presentation. Connective and supplemental materials are cunningly devised to
enhance and frame the basic ideas. The first palpable supplementary idea a motive for the purpose of extension is used after the close of both the close of both the first and the second principal subject. Here are the two instances. The most constant device of the entire first movement is the choice of crippling rhythm to instigate virtually every bridge passage. This is a remarkably effective although simple ruse. Since both principal subjects are intensely duple in quality so consistent is Beethoven's lation of triplet rhythm to supplemental passages that the
hearer senses quite early in the movement at the onset of triplets signalize his progress toward an important new design element. The first instance is vividly illustrative. Contributing to the colorful effect here is the immediate juxtaposition of B-flat and the major arpeggios such boat Association of unrelated major triads had been a favorite device of the Italian madrigal list composers of Malta very nice generation fully 200 years before Beethoven's day. Let us now hear the first movement of the
Archduke trio admiring as it unfolds Beethoven's wizardry in constructing a movement of such strength and nobility from utterly simple materials. With.
In contrast to the opening in movement which generates a sense of
implicit growth throughout the gradual days disclosure of a strikingly simple competence the second movement is current So is over really partite in structure. However the plan of dispersion used for its three contrasting thematic complement each ludes classification as any of the rondo or other familiar partite designs encountered in the works of classical composers. The initial idea stated first in string use is a characteristic scared so emotive for a Beethoven. Very soon however the mood of this idea changes or broccoli when it assumes a leg got hold guys.
The place of the traditional trio section of this character design is occupied in this movement by a curious imitative section whose subject is an insinuating semi tonal motif generated when each of a series of basic pitches is entwined with upper and lower neighboring pitches. The total effect of this section is to elude any but passing reference to any particular key all O B flat minor is probably inferred throughout it to be intensely linear semi-tone of a character. This section is interrupted periodically by incursion of an
incisive chordal motive devised in complete contrast to the material it intersperses. As we listen to the complete script so of the Archduke trio we cannot fail to be impressed with the bowed originality of this tri thematic design. Yeah. The third movement I'm Dr. Khan Tom DeLay is virtually a minor
thematic. And like the first movement it relies upon sudden introduction of cryptic rhythm as indication of partition of the design and occasionally to dispel the utter serenity of the basic idea. If the gnarly Rondo is fused to the end of the Andante come Tom DeLay and grows out of it without pause. We shall now hear a portion of the third movement. A. You're.
Right. Today's host has been docked at the wheezy Khyber professor of musicology and chairman of the
musicology Department of the University of Michigan School of Music. Her topic was Beethoven and his chamber music with special emphasis on the piano trio. It was Dr. Cuyler second of two lectures on the subject of Beethoven's chamber music. This was the 10th of a series of programmes produced by the broadcasting service of the University of Michigan. Reviewing the political social and musical climate of Europe during a lifetime of work. Big Fun make up. I'm writing to 100th anniversary of his birth 17 so. Goodbye get to listen again next week at the same time for another program in the series. Beethoven the man who freed music. This program was originally produced in 1970 by the University of Michigan
Broadcasting Service and is currently being distributed by NPR National Public Radio.
Beethoven: The Man Who Freed Music
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University of Michigan Broadcasting Service
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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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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Producing Organization: University of Michigan Broadcasting Service
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Chicago: “Beethoven: The Man Who Freed Music; 10,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 5, 2023,
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