Page 4 of 4 FirstFirst 1234
Results 46 to 59 of 59

Thread: If Beethoven never lived...

  1. #46
    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    4,627
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    Then Beethoven's influence was not so much harmonic? Okay, I will agree, but the Romantics are seen as harmonic innovators, so I see nothing 'myopic' with focussing on that aspect. Personally, I think Beethoven, like Debussy, "just did what the hell he wanted to do."
    You are being myopic about the Romantics in the same way Rosen was about the Classical composers.

    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    I think Beethoven was following a path that was inevitable on a formal level; perhaps he was just the first one to see it. This includes root movement by thirds, use of diminished sevenths for their pivotal qualities, and other innovations. Once that door was opened, it was just a matter of exploiting the formal materials. I think too much credit is given to Beethoven for what was inevitable.
    You have only addressed harmony with any specificity. Same myopia. One can only guess what the vague statement "exploiting the formal materials" is supposed to mean.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Oct-17-2019 at 21:17.

    What greater comfort does time afford than the objects of terror re-encountered and their fraudulence exposed in the flash of reason?
    — William Gaddis, The Recognitions

    Originality is a device untalented people use to impress other untalented people and to protect themselves from talented people.
    Basil Valentine

  2. #47
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    SoCal, USA
    Posts
    19,714
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    ...the idea that Beethoven's late quartets lack vigor, inspiration or contrast is just laughable.
    There's an echo of that from Beethoven's time. One contemporary review of a late quartet claimed it showed that Beethoven was written out, comparing the music to a bird, old and exhausted, weakly beating its wings against the bars of its cage.
    Last edited by KenOC; Oct-17-2019 at 21:51.


  3. #48
    Senior Member tdc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    7,619
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by isorhythm View Post
    I think Rosen's claim that the Romantics were moving away from Beethoven's overall "aesthetic" was willful contrarianism because no one could really think that. In context it's clear he's only talking about harmony.
    Except I've thought that, and discussed similar ideas on this forum before reading Rosen. Chopin, Brahms and Wagner sound worlds away from Beethoven to me. Just completely different aesthetics and approaches to harmony. I don't think harmony is a myopic focus either because it is directly related to the change in aesthetic. You cannot really separate form - thematic transition, and unified narratives etc. from harmony itself, they are connected.

    This said I don't disagree with Ed's claim that Beethoven has had lasting influence on the Romantic era and beyond, only that the influence has been to a considerable extent misunderstood and exaggerated. I think Rosen's work is further evidence of this.

    I've been reading Rosen's book slowly, because it is densely packed with ideas and I am reading it to understand it. I'm in the last Beethoven chapters now and it is clear that Rosen has a tremendous respect for Beethoven and is now discussing how characteristic and unique so many of his works are.

    Another thing I've learned from this book is that Beethoven took more ideas (in terms of structuring his works) from Mozart than I realized, this is not to say Beethoven didn't expand on those ideas in brilliant ways, but there is heavy Mozart influence. But because Beethoven's harmonic language sounds very different from Mozart, those influences were not apparent to me.

  4. Likes Luchesi liked this post
  5. #49
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    14,604
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    There's an echo of that from Beethoven's time. One contemporary review of a late quartet claimed it showed that Beethoven was written out, comparing the music to a bird, old and exhausted, weakly beating its wings against the bars of its cage.
    You probably have at your fingertips an immense trove of quotes demonstrating that Beethoven's late works were and are baffling to many people. The image of the middle-period "revolutionary" composer of heroic, strenuous, headlong, tragedy-to-triumph drama, scowling and shaking his fist at the heavens, is still the dominant notion of what he's about. The 9th symphony intentionally puts that Beethoven into perspective.

  6. #50
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    SoCal, USA
    Posts
    19,714
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    You probably have at your fingertips an immense trove of quotes demonstrating that Beethoven's late works were and are baffling to many people.
    Actually not all that many. But Ludwig Spohr, possibly the Dr. David Wright of his time, called the quartets "indecipherable, uncorrected horrors."

    However, since he also invented the violin chinrest, we'll give him a pass on that one.
    Last edited by KenOC; Oct-18-2019 at 00:59.


  7. #51
    Senior Member Phil loves classical's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Ford Nation
    Posts
    4,225
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I think Beethoven's influence is pretty clear on the whole Romantic Era. He was the first composer to put more emphasis on expression over form. In Mozart, Bach and others, the two are inextricably linked.
    "Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not.“ Mozart

  8. #52
    Senior Member tdc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    7,619
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil loves classical View Post
    I think Beethoven's influence is pretty clear on the whole Romantic Era. He was the first composer to put more emphasis on expression over form. In Mozart, Bach and others, the two are inextricably linked.
    This might seem sensible at first glance, but when looked at closer actually Beethoven emphasized form probably more than any composer. As discussed earlier in this thread Beethoven's biggest contribution to music was form. 'Expression' is a vague and hard to define term in music, but if you are talking about using music as a vehicle for personal expression, then I don't think there was more or less of this post-Beethoven. It is actually not a very accurate way to describe the compositional process for most composers. Chopin apparently did not approve of people looking at his compositions as being personal expressions. I think your idea about Beethoven's music emphasizing 'expression over form' is a good example of one of the myths surrounding Beethoven.

  9. #53
    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    4,627
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tdc View Post
    This might seem sensible at first glance, but when looked at closer actually Beethoven emphasized form probably more than any composer. As discussed earlier in this thread Beethoven's biggest contribution to music was form. 'Expression' is a vague and hard to define term in music, but if you are talking about using music as a vehicle for personal expression, then I don't think there was more or less of this post-Beethoven. It is actually not a very accurate way to describe the compositional process for most composers. Chopin apparently did not approve of people looking at his compositions as being personal expressions. I think your idea about Beethoven's music emphasizing 'expression over form' is a good example of one of the myths surrounding Beethoven.
    Quite wrong. Expressive aesthetics is the very essence of musical romanticism. In the Classical Era imitative aesthetics ruled, which was why music was considered a lowly art form throughout the lives of Mozart and Haydn. It could only imitate bird songs, storms, the back and forth of conversations, babbling brooks, the wind, and so on — none of the important forms, actions, or ideas of human life. With the Romantics music began to be regarded as perhaps the highest of the arts, for it's ability to express inner life directly unmediated by words, a condition toward which poetry aspired but couldn't reach

    With respect to the relationship of form and expression, I think both you and Phil have missed the mark from different sides. In the music of Beethoven it's not form over expression or expression over form, it's musical form whose continuity and coherence derives from the logic of its expressive patterns — form animated by expression.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Oct-19-2019 at 00:24.

    What greater comfort does time afford than the objects of terror re-encountered and their fraudulence exposed in the flash of reason?
    — William Gaddis, The Recognitions

    Originality is a device untalented people use to impress other untalented people and to protect themselves from talented people.
    Basil Valentine

  10. Likes Byron liked this post
  11. #54
    Senior Member tdc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    7,619
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    Quite wrong. Expressive aesthetics is the very essence of musical romanticism. In the Classical Era imitative aesthetics ruled, which was why music was considered a lowly art form throughout the lives of Mozart and Haydn. It could only imitate bird songs, storms, the back and forth of conversations, babbling brooks, the wind, and so on — none of the important forms, actions, or ideas of human life. With the Romantics music began to be regarded as perhaps the highest of the arts, for it's ability to express inner life directly unmediated by words, a condition toward which poetry aspired but couldn't reach

    With respect to the relationship of form and expression, I think both you and Phil have missed the mark from different sides. In the music of Beethoven it's not form over expression or expression over form, it's musical form whose continuity and coherence derives from the logic of its expressive patterns — form animated by expression.
    I find these ideas problematic because I don't think music pre-Beethoven can be reduced to 'imitative aesthetics'. You are trying to over simplify music's function based on something someone wrote in a treatise. I don't believe that any of the big composers ever wrote a treatise on 'imitative aesthetics'. Even if this was the case it wouldn't imply that the ability to imitate certain sounds is the sum total of music's function as if it is completely fenced in by these ideas and cannot transcend limitations placed on it.

    Tonal theory textbooks today state that the compositional process is not fully understood, if it is not fully understood now, it was also not fully understood then. It is in fact not possible to sum up in words exactly how music affects a listener, so all of these descriptive concepts do not fully hit the mark. Major composers tend to express themselves with sound, not with programs of descriptions of how to interpret those sounds. The point is the sound speaks where the words fail. Further Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven were all considered romantic composers during the period we now consider 'Romantic', and now they are all considered classical era composers. How do you reconcile that fact? Where does 'expressive aesthetics' actually begin?

    History is filled with examples of great artists being misunderstood in their time, Beethoven is one of them, Van Gogh another, to some degree this lack of understanding impacts the majority of great artists in their own time.

    What you are doing is pointing towards the misunderstanding of art in it's time, and then trying to limit and define that art by the lack of comprehension.

    The idea that pre-Beethoven music can only imitate literal sounds, while in Beethoven and beyond music can now express important human actions and thoughts of human life, is from my perspective laughably simplistic, and in fact absurd.

  12. #55
    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    1,028
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    Quite wrong. Expressive aesthetics is the very essence of musical romanticism. In the Classical Era imitative aesthetics ruled, which was why music was considered a lowly art form throughout the lives of Mozart and Haydn. It could only imitate bird songs, storms, the back and forth of conversations, babbling brooks, the wind, and so on — none of the important forms, actions, or ideas of human life. With the Romantics music began to be regarded as perhaps the highest of the arts, for it's ability to express inner life directly unmediated by words, a condition toward which poetry aspired but couldn't reach
    The classical age was also the last great period to freely depict "supernatural/divine intervention" in music. Haydn's depiction of "let there be light" in the beginning of The Creation, the final earthquake of The Seven Last Words of Christ. (which inspired Beethoven in writing the late works such as Op.131.)
    And Mozart's Don Giovanni, and Requiem-
    after this, we have Verdi, Faure, Brahms who seems to be interested in expressing death and afterlife in a more conciliatory manner. Even Beethoven is reported to have said "zu wild und furchtbar" about Mozart's Requiem, wished Cherubini's Requiem be played at his own funeral instead. https://books.google.ca/books?id=nY54DwAAQBAJ&pg=PT241

    "The main “Requiem” theme, the DNA of which permeates the entire work, is, in fact, a quote. This melody (d-c#-d-e-f) is from a Lutheran hymn, “When My Final Hour is At Hand.” If you’re trying to figure out how much truth there is to the stories of Mozart’s reportedly saying that he was writing “my own Requiem,” the fact that the main theme of the entire piece is attached to the words “My Final Hour” rather than his, hers, ours or theirs is worth knowing.
    Then, figure in the fact that Mozart was not the first to use that theme- Handel’s “The Way’s of Zion do Mourn” (which you can hear a short excerpt of here), written 54 years earlier. Mozart knew his Handel- he even made his own performing version of Messiah. Handel’s text (all taken from Lamentations) depicts a whole world overcome with sadness- “The ways of Zion do mourn and she is in bitterness; all her people sigh and hang down their heads to the ground.”
    So, in this opening, Mozart is already combing the personal with the universal- the terror of the one facing “my final hour” with the grief of the nation in the face of incalculable loss."

    https://kennethwoods.net/blog1/2009/...n-and-meaning/
    Last edited by hammeredklavier; Oct-19-2019 at 17:11.

  13. Likes tdc liked this post
  14. #56
    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    4,627
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    8

    Default

    Our colloquy began with your statement that

    if you are talking about using music as a vehicle for personal expression, then I don't think there was more or less of this post-Beethoven.

    My response was meant to refute this statement, which is simply wrong. There was definitely more of this post-Beethoven. If you doubt this, I would recommend reading Chapter 6 of Edward Lippman's A History of Western Musical Aesthetics, ("Imitation and Expression.")

    Quote Originally Posted by tdc View Post
    The idea that pre-Beethoven music can only imitate literal sounds, while in Beethoven and beyond music can now express important human actions and thoughts of human life, is from my perspective laughably simplistic, and in fact absurd.
    You've misunderstood what I wrote. I described how Classical Era music was received by those steeped in imitative aesthetics, the dominant theory of the late 18thc. My purpose was to explain why, among other things, Haydn had to wear a monkey suit and enjoy the social status of a cook for much of his life, whereas Beethoven was often hailed as a quasi-divine practitioner of the highest of the fine arts by his contemporaries. The reason was a paradigm shift in aesthetic theory and a general change in the status of music in the pantheon of the arts, not the abilities of the respective artists of different eras.

    Quote Originally Posted by tdc View Post
    I find these ideas problematic because I don't think music pre-Beethoven can be reduced to 'imitative aesthetics'. You are trying to over simplify music's function based on something someone wrote in a treatise. I don't believe that any of the big composers ever wrote a treatise on 'imitative aesthetics'. Even if this was the case it wouldn't imply that the ability to imitate certain sounds is the sum total of music's function as if it is completely fenced in by these ideas and cannot transcend limitations placed on it.
    Once again, you misread what I wrote. No one is reducing pre-Beethoven music "to imitative aesthetics," whatever that's supposed to mean. Classical instrumental music was largely focused on abstract form and sensual beauty, downplaying expression relative to music of both the Baroque and Romantic Eras.

    Quote Originally Posted by tdc View Post
    Tonal theory textbooks today state that the compositional process is not fully understood, if it is not fully understood now, it was also not fully understood then. It is in fact not possible to sum up in words exactly how music affects a listener, so all of these descriptive concepts do not fully hit the mark. Major composers tend to express themselves with sound, not with programs of descriptions of how to interpret those sounds. The point is the sound speaks where the words fail. Further Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven were all considered romantic composers during the period we now consider 'Romantic', and now they are all considered classical era composers. How do you reconcile that fact? Where does 'expressive aesthetics' actually begin?
    How do I reconcile that fact (which is, in fact, partially mistaken*)? People were listening from a new aesthetic perspective. Expressive aesthetics became dominant in literature and poetry decades earlier than it did in music.

    *Beethoven's work isn't comfortably shoehorned into the Classical category.

    If you want to better understand the aesthetic issues involved in this discussion, I would recommend reading Chapter 6 ("Imitation and Expression) of Edward Lippman's A history of Western Musical Aesthetics.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Oct-19-2019 at 22:36.

    What greater comfort does time afford than the objects of terror re-encountered and their fraudulence exposed in the flash of reason?
    — William Gaddis, The Recognitions

    Originality is a device untalented people use to impress other untalented people and to protect themselves from talented people.
    Basil Valentine

  15. #57
    Senior Member tdc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    7,619
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    Our colloquy began with your statement that

    if you are talking about using music as a vehicle for personal expression, then I don't think there was more or less of this post-Beethoven.

    My response was meant to refute this statement, which is simply wrong. There was definitely more of this post-Beethoven. If you doubt this, I would recommend reading Chapter 6 of Edward Lippman's A History of Western Musical Aesthetics, ("Imitation and Expression.")
    Well, thank you for the reading recommendation.

    I've already pointed to evidence that the early Romantics were not highly inspired by Beethoven, as well as that Chopin had problems with people looking at his works as highly personal expressions, so I don't think this is area of music as 'personal expression' is quite as simple as people think. Each composer that has something to say I think will leave fingerprints of his/her musical personality in their compositions in their own way. I do think different styles of music tend towards different aspects of the human experience, and this is something I would like to research more.

    My feeling is that Beethoven's musical personality was eccentric and highly extroverted and that he brought to more surface levels (as Rosen called his music a 'naked attack') expressive qualities that were to a large extent already present in earlier music in more subtle ways. This is not to suggest Beethoven's unique contributions were not valuable and impactful (or that he could not also be subtle) but I still feel his impact has often been over stated and misunderstood.

    I think pointing to things like raising music higher in the 'pantheon of arts' and Haydn's cook suit is essentially just an appeal to popularity. There are plenty of highly skilled composers today largely unknown and living in poverty, while many lesser talents are treated as semi-divine. While interesting I don't think this line of argument is very useful in clarifying longer term influence or specific characteristics of the music itself.
    Last edited by tdc; Oct-21-2019 at 08:50.

  16. #58
    Senior Member Enthusiast's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    6,057
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I have tried. I have read and discussed. But I can't come to see middle-period Beethoven as Classical music. For me it is early but completely Romantic music. I can accept that early Beethoven is Classical but even that sounds transitional to me.

  17. #59
    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    4,627
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tdc View Post
    Well, thank you for the reading recommendation.

    I've already pointed to evidence that the early Romantics were not highly inspired by Beethoven, as well as that Chopin had problems with people looking at his works as highly personal expressions, so I don't think this is area of music as 'personal expression' is quite as simple as people think. Each composer that has something to say I think will leave fingerprints of his/her musical personality in their compositions in their own way. I do think different styles of music tend towards different aspects of the human experience, and this is something I would like to research more.

    My feeling is that Beethoven's musical personality was eccentric and highly extroverted and that he brought to more surface levels (as Rosen called his music a 'naked attack') expressive qualities that were to a large extent already present in earlier music in more subtle ways. This is not to suggest Beethoven's unique contributions were not valuable and impactful (or that he could not also be subtle) but I still feel his impact has often been over stated and misunderstood.

    I think pointing to things like raising music higher in the 'pantheon of arts' and Haydn's cook suit is essentially just an appeal to popularity. There are plenty of highly skilled composers today largely unknown and living in poverty, while many lesser talents are treated as semi-divine. While interesting I don't think this line of argument is very useful in clarifying longer term influence or specific characteristics of the music itself.
    Chopin's view was shared by many composers, but your interpretation of its significance likely misconstrues what "personal expression" means in this context. The everyday meaning of personal (of or pertaining to a particular individual, e.g. Frederic, Hector, or Ludwig) is not the one commonly understood to be in force in musical aesthetics and poetics. Here the more apt definition is "pertaining to or characteristic of a person or self-conscious being," meaning not a particular individual, but personal (adj.) as distinguished from collective, rhetorical or abstract. In modern poetic criticism, for example, one doesn't assume that the feelings expressed in a particular poem are those of the author. The words might express personal feelings to be sure, but one attributes them to the speaker of the poem, not the poet (unless their is compelling biographical or testimonial evidence to the contrary). Likewise in music one should never assume that the personal expression of a musical work is that of the composer. Personal in this context means the expression of a unified human voice (without specifying whose) as opposed to expressive qualities inherent in the materials, piecemeal in particular passages, or attributable to the music in a rhetorical or abstract sense. It's not Frederic's versus Ludwig's voice, it's some unspecified but coherent individual voice versus abstract or disembodied rhetorical expression — the expression of a fictional or unspecified character the composer creates through music.

    The best exposition of this issue is Edward T. Cone's The Composer's Voice, in which Cone suggests adopting a term that serves the same function as "the speaker of the poem" does in poetic criticism, a term to distinguish the work's expression from that of its composer. The term Cone adopts is "the musical persona."
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Oct-22-2019 at 00:04.

    What greater comfort does time afford than the objects of terror re-encountered and their fraudulence exposed in the flash of reason?
    — William Gaddis, The Recognitions

    Originality is a device untalented people use to impress other untalented people and to protect themselves from talented people.
    Basil Valentine

  18. Likes Woodduck, WildThing liked this post
Page 4 of 4 FirstFirst 1234

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •