Keep your eyes on him; some day he will give the world something to talk aboutWolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Orga 27). Beethoven was considered the greatest composer who ever lived, but all the truths lie deep inside his music. Beethovens symphonies were extraordinary. His innovative style was unheard of throughout the world during his time. There are three major symphonies that take beyond the Immortal Beloved referring to Beethoven, to his grave. Well-written and magnificent in the ears of every person who appreciated Beethovens works of art. Symphonies numbers 3, 5, and 9 were probably the best symphonies ever composed by a human being. Beethovens technique was unique in creating slow to fast tempos during the beginning of every piece. Each of his pieces had a meaning behind it. The mood of the music will tell it all just by listening to the joyous harmony each instrument played and the excitement whenever the tempo moved to a faster beat.
Symphony number three in B-flat major, Op.55 titled Eroica was then the largest symphony at the time, and the first great symphony of the 19th century. In 1798, General Bernadotte, the French ambassador to Austria, suggested to Beethoven that he might write a symphony in honor of Napoleon. So Beethoven agreed to write the symphony for the great commander. But on May 18th, 1804, Napoleon crowned himself Emperor, and upon hearing the news Beethoven tore the title page in half, screaming that Napoleon would become a greater tyrant than anyone! (Orga 85). When the symphony was finally published, it was listed as a Heroic symphony, composed to celebrate the memory of fallen soldiers.The Eroica is important because it was Beethoven’s first truly Romantic composition. Symphony No.3 uses a wide variety of tonality and the use of themes and motifs. The Eroica is almost twice as long as any earlier symphony. The performing instruments had been enlarged by just one instrument, a third horn. The Eroica is the first symphony to mix the traditionally minuet of scherzo movement into the large dramatic work. It has an exposition in which the theme is gradually assembled, beginning with a terse bass line and eventually incorporating a broad melody; a development which comprises a fugato on the first four notes of the bass line(Orga 89).
Symphony number five in C minor, Op.67 is Beethovens most popular symphony heard everywhere. The Fate symphony has it is referred to begins with a theme of a struggle and ends with a glorious victory. The fifth symphony was first performed at a concert on December 22, 1808, in which Beethoven also offered the premieres of the fourth piano concerto, the sixth symphony, two movements of the Mass in C, and the Choral fantasy, and a piano improvisation by Beethoven. The sixth symphony was listed as number five that night, but there was no big confusion because the audience wasnt paying attention. The fifth symphony explodes the music world in every way except the length of the piece. The fifth is a model of compression, packing a wealth of memorable events into a much shorter work(Orga 112). Beethovens original intent was that the scherzo and trio both be played twice before going on to the transitional section to the finale.
Symphony number nine in D minor, Op.125, the Choral symphony is the outstanding piece accompanied with vocal chorus. Beethoven began concentrated work on the piece only in 1822. It occupied him throughout 1823, and he completed it in February 1824. The first performance took place at the Krntnertor Theater in Vienna on May 7, 1824. The deaf composer stood on stage beating time and turning the pages of his score, but the real conducting was done by Michael Umlauf. The first American performance was given on May 20, 1846 by the New York Philharmonic under George Loder. Its performance can never be an ordinary event, just another concert, it is something special because the feeling you get inside when you hear it for the first time. The work of Friedrich von Schiller to set An die Freude should be much of the credit of the ninth symphony, but Beethovens ability to put into music; its an art song, which is lovely poetry put into music. By 1823, Beethoven was not yet sure whether the finale would be vocal or instrumental. Once the symphony was finished, a performance had to be organized. Beethoven saved the premiere for the city that had been his home for the past thirty-one years. At the end of the premiere, Beethoven was still hunched over towards the orchestra, so he was gently turned around so that he might see the applause he could not hear. The D turns out to be the answer on which the whole orchestra agrees in the great fortissimo summit of that first crescendo, but the tense anticipation of that note is a personal, marvelous, and utterly characteristic touch(Orga 155).The ninth symphony is my favorite symphony just because the music is so heavenly. It seems in the beginning of the piece brings a person from darkness to light.
Beethoven, I believe, was ahead of his time. To me, he is the greatest composer of all time. His music is not just sounds of music played together in harmony, but a way of life. The music he created for the world is not just to listen to it, but grab on to the emotion he was setting up. Beethovens unordinary style cannot never be copied by any composer or music artist. Today, when we hear music of any kind we can only thank a certain person, and that person should be Ludwig van Beethoven.
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Orga, Ates. The illustrated Lives of the Great Composers.
Omnibus Press, New York 1983.