View Poll Results: Greatest Contribution

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  • The Symphonies

    63 57.27%
  • The Piano Sonatas

    26 23.64%
  • His Chamber Music

    19 17.27%
  • His Opera, Fidelio

    2 1.82%
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Thread: Beethoven's greatest contribution to music

  1. #16
    Member xuantu's Avatar
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    Beethoven is great, in my opinion, because of his character, his humanity, which shines throughout his music. Whether he is considered a classicist or a romanticist, he wrote in a most unyielding, unpretentious fashion. His individuality is his greatest contribution to music.

    To answer the question simply as a music lover, I think Beethoven's symphonies are his most "influential" works. These are the most iconic classical pieces that I can think of. They define classical music. And by the way, didn't Wagner have the 9th in his mind when he started off his enterprise of "musical drama"?
    Last edited by xuantu; Jul-24-2009 at 07:48.

  2. #17
    Reiner Torheit
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdelykleon View Post
    Sorry, strongly disagree. Fidelio is strongly indebted to The Magic Flute, Mozart deserves the credit of the German opera, not Beethoven.
    Perhaps. But...

    ...which of Mozart's heroines takes responsibility for her own actions? None of them! Even Sussanah's private rebellion against the Count's advances is put in Figaro's hands to solve.

    They all conform to the C18th concept that women are supposed to wait around to be saved by men. In fact THE MAGIC FLUTE is one of the most mysogynistic operas in the repertoire, and openly so - read-over Sarastro's thoughts on women in the Act One Finale if you disagree? "But only man can lead womankind from ways of Pride, to ways of Virtue" etc.

    Leonore establishes a new kind of female heroine, who isn't a Princess or Queen, who sets the pattern for Verdi's heroines. Even the repressed Gilda finally breaks free of her father's absurd plans for revenge, although to dreadful consequences.

    FIDELIO establishes a new kind of opera. Yes, it picks up the reins from where Mozart left them, but in a single step the genre has completely changed.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reiner Torheit View Post
    FIDELIO establishes a new kind of opera. Yes, it picks up the reins from where Mozart left them, but in a single step the genre has completely changed.
    Looks like you're the only one who feels this way about Beethoven's opera while the rest of us agree that his strongest contribution was to the symphony.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mirror Image View Post
    Looks like you're the only one who feels this way about Beethoven's opera while the rest of us agree that his strongest contribution was to the symphony.
    No, me and danae have voted for the sonata.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reiner Torheit View Post
    Perhaps. But...

    ...which of Mozart's heroines takes responsibility for her own actions? None of them! Even Sussanah's private rebellion against the Count's advances is put in Figaro's hands to solve.

    They all conform to the C18th concept that women are supposed to wait around to be saved by men. In fact THE MAGIC FLUTE is one of the most mysogynistic operas in the repertoire, and openly so - read-over Sarastro's thoughts on women in the Act One Finale if you disagree? "But only man can lead womankind from ways of Pride, to ways of Virtue" etc.

    Leonore establishes a new kind of female heroine, who isn't a Princess or Queen, who sets the pattern for Verdi's heroines. Even the repressed Gilda finally breaks free of her father's absurd plans for revenge, although to dreadful consequences.

    FIDELIO establishes a new kind of opera. Yes, it picks up the reins from where Mozart left them, but in a single step the genre has completely changed.
    Yes, but... this isn't music. Musically, Fidelio is totally dependant on The Magic Flute, which is in a completely different form than Mozart italian operas.

  6. #21
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    For me, Beethoven's symphonies and his chamber music are really equally important
    (& can't dismiss the piano works). I figured fewer would vote for chamber music so
    I opted for that . I think the sheer power of his ideas and skill at realizing them is
    astounding. And I do feel his development and creativity, as well as harnessing
    for his own use the work of his predecessors (esp. Mozart/Haydn), were such models for all who followed: even those composers whose work doesn't sound at all like Beethoven.

    Ed

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdelykleon View Post
    No, me and danae have voted for the sonata.
    As did the Bandit
    Take a look at the Bandit's blog, Americana Avenue.

  8. #23
    Assistant Administrator Chi_townPhilly's Avatar
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    1) The symphonies. They changed the way future masters essayed the genre, and they remain in the central place in orchestral repertory.

    2a) The Piano Sonatas. Really, no less seminal to that genre than the symphonies. One thing, though- how much did these works change the way future piano composers approached their craft? A fair bit, I suppose- but not as much as the symphonies altered expectations.

    2b) The Chamber Music.

    3) The Piano Concertos.

    4) and THEN his opera, Fidelio.
    The hardest knife ill us'd doth lose his edge. Shakespeare- Sonnet 95

  9. #24
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    It's not surprising that more people, including myself, voted for the symphonies. Beethoven's symphonies were truly visionary and innovative for their time.

    I don't listen to Beethoven that much, but of early classical composers he definitely is the most distinctive. Of the early big three symphonists: Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, Beethoven gets my vote everytime.
    Last edited by Mirror Image; Jul-27-2009 at 05:31.

  10. #25
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    I'm going to have to go with the sonatas, as well. This is purely a personal choice, as my understanding is that both the sonatas and symphonies (also excellent) were considered very significant contributions to music. The chamber music (particularly the later ones) are very close behind. Go ask any string quartet performer who they enjoy playing the most, and they will likely say Beethoven.
    Op. 109

  11. #26
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    Another vote for the Symphonies .

  12. #27
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    I think Chi's got a good list (sonatas and symphonies might be exchanged), but with a few changes:

    1) The symphonies

    2a) The Piano Sonatas

    2b) The Chamber Music.

    3) The Piano Concertos.

    4) The Missa Solemnis.

    5) The Violin Concerto.

    6) and THEN his opera
    Take a look at the Bandit's blog, Americana Avenue.

  13. #28
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    Default Beethoven's Contribution

    Beethoven's greatest contribution to the world is his CHORAL SYMPHONY.
    Beethoven's greatest contribution to the Romantic period is his EROICA SYMPHONY.
    Beethoven's greatest contribution to the Romantic Genre of Nature is his PASTORAL SYMPHONY.
    So it is SYMPHONIES.
    Piano Sonatas come in next... you have to look at HAMMERKLAVIER.
    His last quartets also changed the face of future chamber music even down to the modernists.... Also look at GROSSE FUGE.

  14. #29
    Senior Member handlebar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danae View Post
    The obvious answer would be the symphonies, but the 32 piano sonatas really changed everything in piano playing. There was virtually no virtuosity in piano playing before the technical demands of Beethoven's piano sonatas. I have so much to say on the subject that I can't possibly begin to post it here. I need to write an essay.
    I agree with this assessment. While the symphonies were instrumental (pardon the pun) in changing that genre to a degree, the sonatas changed the whole dynamic. Haydn and Schubert had moved the symphonies to an area that Beethoven elaborated on and perfected.To me, the world would have had a symphonic master only a few years later with the arrival of Berlioz,Mendelssohn and Schumann.

    But oh those sonatas. The classical piano world was turned upside down by them and nothing has ever been the same since. Even today they are considered the pinnacle of pianistic achievement. Ask any pianist and usually the answer is the same with the sonatas:The best.

    I have tried to learn some of them but gave up for the sheer difficulty involved.I stuck with Mozart and Haydn.
    The later sonatas are astounding in so many ways. The string quartets would be second in line in my opinion.


    Jim
    Last edited by handlebar; Jul-27-2009 at 17:19.

  15. #30
    LvB
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    It's a measure of Beethoven's greatness as a composer that there is no clear agreement on a single peak in his achievements. Given the question, though, I'm going to pick the chamber music, which includes far more than the string quartets, important though they are. But consider also the impact of his instrumental sonatas (five for violoncello, ten for violin); in their own way, they reshaped the chamber sonata as powerfully as the piano sonatas reshaped their medium; the 'Kreutzer' Sonata alone echoes throughout the 19th century, and there are structural elements in the later 'cello sonatas which have an influence even in the 20th. Then there are the numerous trios of various sorts, as well as quartets, quintets, the septet, and at least one octet. We tend to forget just how much really good chamber music Beethoven wrote.

    That said, though, the real reason for my answer is the quartets. Taken as a group, these works span a greater range than any other body of his work, even, I would argue, the piano sonatas (which is not, of course, to denigrate the sonatas; they contain a vast amount of epochal and powerful writing, and it would be ludicrous to deny the fact). I would also suggest that each of the imaginative leaps in the sonatas (apart from those stemming specifically from the nature of the piano as an instrument) is prefigured in an earlier quartet. There are Beethoven piano sonatas which are pleasant but not especially distinguished; the same is never true of the quartets, each one of which offers unique and often striking solutions to musical problems which many among his contemporaries, and even successors, scarcely suspected existed (okay, I'm exaggerating for rhetorical effect, but the larger point is, I think, true; the average level of emotional and intellectual achievement in the quartets is higher than even in the sonatas and symphonies).

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