Get After Beethoven: The Imperative of Originality in the PDF

By Mark Evan Bonds

Beethoven forged a looming shadow over the 19th century. For composers he used to be a version either to emulate and to beat. "You don't know the way it feels," Brahms confided, "when one consistently hears one of these gigantic marching in the back of one." Exploring the reaction of 5 composers--Berlioz, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, and Mahler--to what each one in actual fact observed because the problem of Beethoven's symphonies, Evan Bonds richly complements our figuring out of the evolution of the symphony and Beethoven's legacy.

Overt borrowings from Beethoven--for instance, the lyrical subject within the Finale of Brahms' First Symphony, so just like the "Ode to pleasure" subject in Beethoven's Ninth--have frequently been the topic of feedback. Bonds now indicates us how composers imitate or allude to a Beethoven subject matter or compositional technique accurately with a purpose to shrink back from it, making a new musical answer. Berlioz's Harold en Italie, Mendelssohn's Lobgesang, Schumann's Fourth Symphony, Brahms' First, and Mahler's Fourth function illuminating examples. dialogue makes a speciality of such center concerns as Beethoven's strategies in formal layout, the function of textual content and voice, fusion of various genres, cyclical coherence of hobbies, and the functionality of the symphonic finale.

Bonds lucidly argues that the nice symphonists of the 19th century cleared artistic house for themselves by means of either confronting and deviating from the practices in their probably overpowering precursor. His research locations commonly used masterpieces in a brand new mild.

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5 1 - 5 3 ; Bichard Pohl, Die Höhenzü^/e der musikalischen Entwicklung (Leipzig: B. Elischer Nachfolger, 1888), pp. 277-278, 282. 47. Nägeli, Vorlesungen, pp. 187, 192. 48. Rochlitz, "Nekrolog," AmZ 29 (28 March 1827): 227-228; Chorley, Modern German Music, II, 307-308. T H E CRISIS OF T H E S Y M P H O N Y AFTER B E E T H O V E N 27 The demand for novelty was all the more challenging in die genre of die symphony, which by now had become a touchstone of compositional prowess. Any composer attaching die term "symphony" to a composidon, after all, was openly invidng his audience to judge diat work against the imposing aesthedc of the genre—which, for all practical purposes in the nineteenth Century, meant the tradition of the symphony as set forth by Beethoven.

Wotton, Hector Berlioz (London: Oxford University Press, 1 9 3 5 ) , p. 1 5 6 . Ernest Newman observed that Berlioz "had no use for Beethoven" in this work, "except to take Over for his own ends the opening procedure of the finale of the Ninth Symphony" {Berlioz, Romantic and Classic, ed. Peter Heyviforth [London: Gollancz, 1 9 7 2 ] , p. 1 7 8 ) . Others who have questioned the rationale and aesthetic value of these reminiscences include August Wilhelm Ambros, in his Die Grenzen der Musik und Poesie ( 1 8 5 5 ) , p.

Rochlitz, "Nekrolog," AmZ 29 (28 March 1827): 227-228; Chorley, Modern German Music, II, 307-308. T H E CRISIS OF T H E S Y M P H O N Y AFTER B E E T H O V E N 27 The demand for novelty was all the more challenging in die genre of die symphony, which by now had become a touchstone of compositional prowess. Any composer attaching die term "symphony" to a composidon, after all, was openly invidng his audience to judge diat work against the imposing aesthedc of the genre—which, for all practical purposes in the nineteenth Century, meant the tradition of the symphony as set forth by Beethoven.

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