Skip

Beethoveniana
December 13, 2010 9:54 AM   Subscribe

Beethoven is so much more than Für Elise and the Fifth symphony.

He may be a serious, dead composer, and many consider it inappropriate to mess with his music (original version here), but some interpreters seem to have too grim an attitude around performing his works.

Beethoven wrote down one improvisation, which gives us an impression of how seriously, or playfully, he himself played the piano. Here is a scan of the autograph of the same piece, the Fantasy Op. 77 (just flip the pages...). more documents are available at the digital archives of the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn, a fantastic resource for music lovers and professionals alike.
posted by Namlit (25 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Of course Beethoven is much more than Fur Elise and the Fifth. It's all about the Ninth, baby!
posted by kmz at 10:19 AM on December 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Even though I couldn't understand what they were saying, I loved the link where the pianist gets interrupted. I don't usually associate classical music evoking that kind of reaction from listeners, but I guess it happens a lot, huh?

I also liked the "shreds" link's music almost more than the actual music the guy was playing. That's par for the Shreds meme, I find, but also tells how little I understand about classical music in general. I know what I like, la, la, la!

Thanks for this.
posted by not_on_display at 10:28 AM on December 13, 2010


Lucy Honeychurch: Mother doesn't like me playing Beethoven. She says I'm always peevish afterwards.

Revered Beebe: I can see how one might be... stirred up.

(Sorry if the YT links include this great bit of dialogue, from "Room With A View." YT is blocked where I am.)
posted by bovious at 10:33 AM on December 13, 2010


Overtures like that get my juices flowing. So powerful. But after his openings, to be honest? He does tend to get a little fucking boring.

I like these calm little moments before the storm
posted by mattdidthat at 10:37 AM on December 13, 2010


Even though I couldn't understand what they were saying

The Pollini-Angry clip seems to be made during a rehearsal (of Beethoven's Choral Fantasy Op. 80). Some lighting person or other personnel comes in and starts talking loudly; that's when the pianist loses it. The English translation is somewhere way down the youtube comments (no recommended reading otherwise); paraphrased and shortened he says "don't disturb me, I'm playing."
It is rather uncommon for classical concerts to be interrupted by members of the audience (other than by coughing).
posted by Namlit at 10:39 AM on December 13, 2010


Not for nothing, but here are too few things in the history of music as moving as his Leonore Overture No. 3.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 10:47 AM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was (briefly) in a chorus that was performing the Missa Solemnis and my thoughts on Beethoven range from "MOTHERFUCKER." to "What did an alto ever do to him?!"

Beautiful if you're listening to it, but try to actually do and it's enough to make you contemplate digging up Beethoven's corpse and kicking it in the nuts.
posted by sonika at 11:12 AM on December 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


Laugh if you must, but Zardoz introduced me to Symphony no. 7, II.
posted by fings at 11:40 AM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


kmz got it in one.
posted by Gelatin at 11:41 AM on December 13, 2010


Be honest, Schroeder put you up to this didn't he.
posted by JHarris at 11:54 AM on December 13, 2010


Joy! Beautiful spark of the gods!
Daughter of elysium.


So many German jokes in 30 Rock.
I'm not sure a lot of people got this one reference to Beethovens 9th in the last episode though.

posted by joost de vries at 12:23 PM on December 13, 2010


That Leonore Overture is glorious, Prachtsucher.
posted by joost de vries at 12:39 PM on December 13, 2010


Beethoven is much more than Fur Elise and the Fifth
He sure is.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 1:13 PM on December 13, 2010


Lucy Honeychurch: Mother doesn't like me playing Beethoven. She says I'm always peevish afterwards.

Revered Beebe: I can see how one might be... stirred up.


Apropos: I can't listen to that much Wagner. I start getting the urge to conquer Poland.

Woody Allen - Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993)
posted by ersatz at 2:06 PM on December 13, 2010


This set of lectures by Andras Schiff is worth a listen for anyone who loves Beethoven, and perhaps especially for those who can't see what all the fuss is about. It focuses primarily on Beethoven's piano sonatas, but there is a heap of other good stuff thrown in in order to give the compositions context, including the politics, sociology, history of the time, etc.
posted by metacurious at 2:07 PM on December 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


According to the Wik, Ludwig Van was baptized on the 17th of December 1770, so I reckon this is kinda like a 240th birthday post. Hooray!

I could go for one of the late String Quartets. No. 14 in C♯ minor, Op. 131 seems like a nice enough one.
posted by ovvl at 4:16 PM on December 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


I didn't include late string quartets because I had to stop somewhere... that's beautiful! Thanks.
posted by Namlit at 4:32 PM on December 13, 2010


Laugh if you must, but Zardoz introduced me to Symphony no. 7, II .

The track listing for Morgan Fisher's Miniatures includes:
"pete seeger / chorale from beethoven's 9th symphony" (on banjo in under 1 minute).

Unless I am mistaken, I think Seeger also throws in the main riff from no. 7, II somewhere too, possibly not on that track, but possibly sweetest minor-key melody ever, subject to interpretation.

(Also, the movie Zardoz is under-rated by contemporary critics.)
posted by ovvl at 5:05 PM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love the late quartets, and most of all the gorgeous Convalescent's Holy Song of Thanksgiving, the third movement from the 15th Quartet in A minor, op 132 and the charming Presto from Quartet #13 in Bb, Op. 130.

(Oh, and I thought sure when somebody talked about "shredding" Beethoven, they'd be referring to this bit of deep-80's Christian hair-metal awesomeness/insanity.)
posted by straight at 9:33 PM on December 13, 2010


Thank you Namlit for this post, and everyone else for the supplemental links.

From the (perhaps) inappropriate to mess with his music catalog, here's Beethoven's 5th as interpreted by a barbershop quartet. It's really quite good, for what it is.
posted by Balonious Assault at 11:05 PM on December 13, 2010


Opus 111 Sonata ... transport
posted by Twang at 11:25 PM on December 13, 2010


While I'm at it, as a reformed evangelical fanatic: considering a box set of the symphonies? Strong recommend: George Szell & Cleveland. (From vinyl days: haven't heard the CDs.) (Fritz Reiner & Chicago did some fine recordings too.) Ignore Karajan.

String quartets: Juilliard. Piano concertos: Rudolf Serkin.

That is all.
posted by Twang at 11:53 PM on December 13, 2010


It just so happens I heard the 2nd movement from Beethoven's 7th last evening, on vinyl. I forget who the orchestra was, but it was one hell of a beautiful interpretation, of a very beautiful piece of music.
posted by Vibrissae at 1:25 AM on December 14, 2010


Piano concertos: Rudolf Serkin

Opus 111: Rudolf Serkin too.
posted by Namlit at 1:37 AM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I once, long ago, joined metafilter because at this American internet site there were people discussing Beethoven in a knowledgeable way. Soulmates!
So thank you for this thread and all the good Beethovenness in it

posted by joost de vries at 9:09 AM on December 18, 2010


« Older You win some, you still lose some   |   Otakupocalypse Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post