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True descendants of Beethoven

5335 Views 57 Replies 32 Participants Last post by  justekaia
I am curious as to who you believe to be the true descendants of Beethoven? Is it the camp of Berlioz, Liszt and Wagner or Schumann and Brahms?

I definitely can hear a lot of Beethoven's later symphonic works in Symphonie Fantastique. Particularly in the interesting textures and the programmatic elements. Berlioz was then was a major influence of Wagner and Strauss. I must admit these elements feel to me a bit contrived and detrimental to the overall form in Berlioz. However he did greatly influence new german music through featuring a recurring symphonic theme which evolved into the Wagnerian lietmotif.

At the same time I can hear Beethoven's larger coherent forms and logical progression of key areas present in Schumann and Brahms. These two do feature a lyricism not found in Beethoven. Their counterpoint is also more akin to Bach or Palestrina. However there is certainly Beethoven's stamp of the heavy orchestra particularly in Brahms symphony no 1. I also find Brahms and Schumann very good in terms of the type of logical coherency that is masterful in Beethoven.

I know that is a lot but this is a big topic. Who do you hear as Beethoven's continuation and through what elements of the music? Feel free to bring in other influences and names as well.
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Beethoven was sui generis. A lot of composers tried to use him as a starting off point -- each in a different way -- but none successful in doing anything that wasn't intrinsic to himself. Brahms was certainly more of a strict classicist than most of his contemporaries. Berlioz and Wagner both worshipped Beethoven but took their music in wildly contrary directions (Liszt too); Schumann was incapable of strict Beethovenian motivic development; Mahler could do nothiing but develop albeit in a more free-form way; Schubert's late works approached Beethoven's late spirituality most closely; Bruckner was good at carving movements out of blocks of granite, like the first movement of B's Ninth . . . basically, almost every mid-nineteenth century composer thought he was taking up where Beethoven left off -- but none was.
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