10 Essential Pieces From The Great Composer

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Ludwig van Beethoven One of the most significant and influential composers in history. He was the most prominent musical figure in the transitional period of the Classical and Romantic periods. His music, despite his severe emotional and medical torments (he was completely deaf by age 40), is a testament of the human spirit even in the face of terrible misfortunes. Our selection of the most outstanding Beethoven works includes symphony and concerto as well as string quartet and piano sonata masterpieces.

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Symphony No.3 in E flat op.55 – The ‘Eroica Symphony

Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ Symphony He made this work in 1804, which changed the musical landscape and is his most significant work. Orchestral music has moved into another dimension with an unprecedented breadth of conception, emotional freight and range, as well as the exact precision and classical symmetry that was his. Mozart it is forgotten. It was originally dedicated to Napoleon – a dedication Beethoven removed in a rage on hearing he had made himself Emperor. Beethoven understood the potential of the sonata format and thematic development and then enjoyed his freedom. The ‘Eroica’ Symphony’s influence extended far inTo the future, its impact immeasurable upon composers ranging from Schubert To Berlioz to Wagner Later Mahler. Beethoven tried to find a new direction in this symphony. He found it, and it shaped music for more than a century.

Symphony No. Symphony No. 125 – ‘Choral’ Symphony

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 is one of Beethoven’s greatest compositions and one of the greatest symphonies ever composed. Symphony No. 9 is also known as the ‘Choral’ Symphony as its final movement features four vocal soloists and a chorus who sing a setting of Schiller’s poem An Die Freude (Ode to Joy). In the ‘Choral’ Symphony, Beethoven took the structure of a Classical symphony to its limits in expression of his lofty philosophical theme: the unity of mankind and our place in the universe. It may appear to be a traditional four-movement symphonic arrangement, but its huge choral fourth move was anything but. Beethoven’s ‘Choral’ Symphony became a source of inspiration to composers who followed and a keystone of the 19th-century Romantic movement.

Piano Sonata No.30 in E, op.109

Beethoven wrote 32 piano sonatasThe three last ones are a trilogy that goes together. The first of the three. No.30 in EThis is one of his most beloved pieces. It is shorter than many of his previous works, but it is still a beautiful piece. The crystal-clear surface hides great mysteries, intricacies and harmony. The two short movements that emerge from what sounds like gently tinkling drops of raindrops are just a prelude and a chorale-like motif (and variations) that covers everything in between. Bach Chopin The music then spirals into a state of blissful ecstasy before returning to its original theme. It’s 20 minutes of musical bliss and one of Beethoven’s finest works.

String Quartet No.14 in C sharp minor, op.131

The quartet is one the most personal compositions. It’s music that is stripped to its core with only four musicians, in quasi-spontaneous interaction. Beethoven’s last quartets are an extreme form, far from easy listening and incredibly intense, a kind of conversation with God, and this was the composer’s own favorite. It took Beethoven a lifetime to be able to write this, so don’t expect to get it on first hearing – keep at it, however, and its logic and truthfulness will soon dawn. The seven movements are played in unbroken time, and there are moments of complete musical stasis, as well as other instances that make it sound like Bach has been reincarnated. After hearing this string quartet five days before his death, Schubert remarked, “After this, what is left for us to write?”

Piano Concerto No.5 in E flat major – Concerto ‘Emperor’

The ‘Emperor’ Concerto Although it was not named by Beethoven, it is a magnificent piece for soloists. It opens with three chords which then explode into a swell of mini cadenzas. Finally, the triumphant and vaulting Rondo ends in a joyous finale. These frame a slow movement that is one of Beethoven’s most rapt creations – a serene hymn with the piano rhapsodizing dreamily along. It’s a muscular piece, happily devoid of anguish but hardly of depth, a great and easy introduction to what Beethoven was all about, and one of the best Beethoven works.

Symphony No.7 in A, Op.92

This is a sunny piece, and its premiere, at a concert for soldiers wounded at the 1813 Battle Of Hanau, was auspicious – it sounds like a celebration at the end of the nightmare of war. It is all momentum: there is no slow movement, but a half-playful, half-solemn Allegretto that brilliantly combines separate melodies and rhythms into a typically profound whole, leading to the bouncy final movements – increasingly lively and impetuous – that led Wagner to call the symphony “the apotheosis of the dance”. The way that the themes are merged into tranquil woodwind interludes is stunning.

Fidelio, op.72

Beethoven was no natural when it came to opera – too high-minded and too idealistic for the grubby world of drama and the shades of human motivation – but FidelioHis only attempt in this genre is titled “The Last of the Operatic Masters”, which has stunning, blazing periods that more then make up for its shaky moments. Certain operatic scenes never fail to touch the scalp. For example, Carmen fighting off her ex-husband, and Tosca stabbing her blackmailer to death. Fidelio is revealed to be a woman when he heroically saves her husband and then pulls out a gun on her evil nemesis. This is the moment that will blow them all away. The ‘Prisoners’ Chorus’ from Act 1 is an unforgettable highlight. Fidelio/Leonore persuades chief jailer Rocco for the prisoners to be let out in the sun and fresh air so that she can find her husband. Their chorus ‘O Welche Lust’ (‘O, What Joy’) is an expression of musical ecstasy, all the more potent for the atmosphere of constraint.

Symphony No. Symphony No. 5 in C minor Op. 67

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 One of the most widely performed symphonies is also one of the most well-known pieces in classical music. The symphony begins with a distinctive four-note opening motif that recurs in various forms throughout the work, which Beethoven allegedly described to his secretary and biographer Anton Schindler as “Fate knocking at the door.” Shortly after completing Symphony No. 3 (‘Eroica’), Beethoven began to sketch ideas for his fifth symphony, which he composed between 1804 and 1808. His sketchbooks also document his early work during this productive time in his career. Symphony No. 4, Symphony No. 6, Piano Concerto No. 4, Fidelio. Symphony No. 5 Premiered in Vienna on December 22, 1808 at a concert that also featured the premieres of Symphony No. 6 Piano Concerto No. 4.

Violin Concerto in D, op.61

The novel was written in a double-quick fashion during a period of intense creativity. Violin Concerto in D, Beethoven’s most consistently lyrical work, allowed him to express pure musical serenity while his more intense side was coming out in compositions like the Coriolan Overture. It’s a 40 minute long outpouring melody of untroubled melody with moments of harmonic surprise and dynamic surprise in orchestra that barely affect the surface. Though it was a failure at its premiere (it was not performed again until Joseph Joachim rediscovered it in 1844), now it is one of Beethoven’s most popular pieces.

Violin Sonata No.9, op.47 – ‘Kreutzer’ Sonata

We should remember that Beethoven’s composing life didn’t begin with Eroica – We would have still considered him a great if he had lived to 1803. This sonata was composed in the months preceding the third symphony. It shows, as many works from this period, a great, relentless striving. The first movement is an awkward battle between a minor-key theme in anguish and a hymn-like interlude. The second movement is a cheerful, calm theme with variations. While the final movement is a joyful tarantella. The work lasts about twice as long as any previous sonata, allowing a great depth of musical and emotional development – and it’s very hard to play.

Recommendation:

The Complete Beethoven Essential Edition – New! includes all of Beethoven’s music on 95 CDs by over 200 of the greatest Beethoven performers, including Claudio Arrau, Amadeus Quartet, Claudio Abbado, Martha Argerich, Karl Böhm, Alfred Brendel, Riccardo Chailly, Emerson String Quartet, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Pierre Fournier, Emil Gilels, John Eliot Gardiner, Maria João Pires, Wilhelm Kempff, Herbert von Karajan, Yehudi Menuhin, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Murray Perahia, Maurizio Pollini, and Mitsuko Uchida.

The New Complete Beethoven Essential Edition can be bought here.

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