Did Beethoven ‘inherit'(or use and transform to a higher level): Compositions from Haydn?
Did Beethoven rely on – or come back to Haydn for inspiration? … Haydn’s humor, spontaneity and Joie de vivre? … and the ability to transform pure ‘sweetness’ into a challenging/deeper probing? This a question for “Scholars”? Let’s just listen!
Well … Beethoven dedicated this piece to Haydn. (*played by Paul Lewis) You be the Judge. How much does Ludwig owe Haydn?!
Beethoven Sonata No. 2 in A major Op. 2 No. 2 III. Scherzo. Allegretto
How about watching a new ‘hot shot’ play the same piece? Rafal Blechacz.
Here’s one comment when Rafal Blechacz won all five first prizes! … at the 15th International Frederick Chopin Piano CompetitionWarsaw According to ABC News, one of the judges, Professor Piotr Paleczny, said that Blechacz “so outclassed the remaining finalists that no second prize could actually be awarded.”
Another judge, the distinguished Irish pianist John O’Conor, said “He is one of the greatest artists I have had a chance to hear in my entire life,” according to PBS. Blechacz was the first Pole to win the prize (given every five years) since 1975, when Krystian Zimerman won.
What a sweet, honest and straightforward man he appears to be!
Not enough Schubert on this site I think! Here’s a movement from his Octet. It’s interesting how it came about. A famous clarinetist asked Schubert to compose a work similar to Beethoven’s Septet Op. 20. (Schubert added a second violin)
Schubert and Beethoven: Arguably the two greatest composers of that time; and someone asks Schubert to do something similar to Beethoven! Schubert composed it in 1824. Beethoven died in 1827 so he only had 3 years to hear it. Wonder if he ever did?
Never mind … you get to hear a movement from each!
On the one hand you have a serious conductor and musician insisting that this Piano Sonata is a send-up / parody. At the same time some Beethoven scholars claim that it’s a legitimate effort by him! If you review compilations of Beethoven’s sonatas, you’ll find that not many pianists play this one. Isn’t that a clue? … that if it’s not a “joke” – then at least it’s not one of his better works. I feel that everything Anton Kuerti says about this sonata rings true. (in fact I laughted out loud several times while listening – don’t see how anyone could take it seriously) What do you think/feel/hear?!
See below for Kuerti’s negative assesment, and others who disagree
Piano sonata 22 in F major Op. 54 / First Movement tempo d’un menuetto
In tempo d’un menuetto: Anton Kuerti refers to this piece as a parody of uncreative composers. The melody commences, but grinds to a halt, and after doing this again, it decides to suddenly end the phrase in an attempted friendly way, which is anything but friendly, and nothing but awkward. This piece gradually redeems itself (but not much) when it garners variations for its main theme. Only at the coda does a virtuoso performance take place.
Allegretto: “If the first movement was constipated, then the second movement suffers from the opposite ailment.” (Anton Kuerti) This is shown in the piece, as the main melody has a non-stop continuous, sixteenth-note pattern that does not stop for even a second in this piece. The piece gradually gets more and more agitated in the coda, almost similar to a mechanical mixer going out of control and splattering its ingredients throughout the entire room.
Quintet in E flat major for 3 horns, oboe and bassoon / second movement
Absurd and Zen-like! (the Diabelli variations are in the “Piano freaks only” section)
In the second half, there is a remarkable pianissimo passage where the treble holds a chord for four full bars while the bass repeats a little three-note figure over and over, eight times, after which the melody proceeds as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.
As if nothing out of the ordinary had happened! I love it.
Diabelli variation 3
Can Do: “Spooky”
The Ghost Trio was so named by Czerny because the second movement reminded him of Hamlet’s Ghost in Shakespeare. In fact, Beethoven’s notes reveal that he was working on an idea for an opera based on Macbeth, and interspersed with these notes are the sketch of a slow movement for the Trio.
Piano trio 5 in d major second movement
Fun, humorous, “cheeky” ala Mozart
Piano sonata 15 third movement
These two pieces are examples of the “simplest” pieces of music being the most difficult to play properly! He “casts a spell” with the most basic melody, and I think epitomizes claims to his being “The Greatest”
Bach / Beethoven / Mozart are usually argued about and compared as the greatest composer.
Bach created “music” as we know it today. (with the introduction/elaboration of Contrapuntal)
Mozart they say is the sound of God and/or Angels.
Beethoven? The Master of everything? Symphonies. Piano. Chamber. etc.
Who else? Chopin / Liszt / Brahms / Handel / Tchaikovsky and a handful of others. But usually it’s an argument about the BIG 3!
I’m going to throw my hat in the ring and proclaim: (after a short 3 year intense period of listening to and collecting Classical Music) Beethoven as The One! The Greatest.
At this point there are only a few pieces by him (on the right side under Beethoven) but I will be adding more from now. Comments welcome!
UPDATE: As a result of the two comments above (thanks again Taneyev!) – I’ve replaced the “sleeping pianist”! with the master Maurizio Pollini
If you Google stuff like: Greatest Piano pieces or Greatest Piano Compositions; you’ll find a wealth of information. And you’ll almost always find in the list: Beethoven’s Variations on a theme by Diabelli. It’s a really strange story.
This guy Diabelli who wasn’t exactly a shining star in the composition world at the time! – Asked all the “Greats” of the day, to compose some variations on this roughly 1 minute piece. Then he would use the proceeds for charitable donations. (perhaps a forerunner of Bob Geldorf!?)
So what does Beethoven do? He composes 33 Variations on this piddly little theme! (*the critics evaluation of Diabelli’s initial effort range from praise, all the way to this trashing by critic William Kinderman, who says: “Banal, trite, a beer hall waltz”)