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In this chapter, pianos made by firms such as Broadwood, Érard, Graf, Pleyel, Stein, Streicher, and others owned or used by composers and virtuosi such as Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Moscheles, Schumann, and others are discussed and technically described. Histories of the piano making firms are provided.
In this chapter, we discuss the existential concerns of the great Maestro Ludwig van Beethoven and how he was able to compose musical masterpieces while confronting severe hearing loss. We also describe age-related changes in vision, smell, taste, skin sensation, proprioception, and balance. Age-related cognitive changes such as attention, processing, learning, and memory are presented. Finally, a resolution is offered as to how Beethoven still composed with hearing loss.
Arrangements for string instruments were highly popular in the first part of the nineteenth century, but they had served a purpose and market different to that for the piano transcriptions that now took centre stage. The former were played by men, the latter by women; the focus during string quartet parties was on developing the performer, the latter on displaying the performer to best advantage. Piano performances, whether solo or in ensemble combinations, tended to be demonstrations to the audience of feeling, taste, and a moderate level of technical accomplishment—suitable attributes for a woman. Public performance and publication now took over the main role in canon formation, while chamber music’s meaning and function was redefined and split off from the dazzling Salonmusik and the still performance-based but decorous Hausmusik. The public quartet concerts of the 1820s and ’30s (especially those of Schuppanzigh’s quartet), along with reviewers’ endorsements of silent listening, and Beethoven’s increasingly difficult conceptions, changed the status of that genre.
The chapter considers an agreement between Beethoven and his publisher Steiner as a crucial moment in the history of musical publication. In 1816, Beethoven and Steiner had decided to issue Wellington’s Victory and the Seventh and Eighth Symphonies in arrangements for various combinations of chamber group simultaneously, and concurrent with the original orchestral edition in parts and score. Important here, and moving well outside publication ‘business as usual’, was the issuing of complete scores. These demonstrate the evolving conception of the musical work: silent score study would gradually replace the hands-on reception and construction of the musical work of the arrangements for chamber ensemble. It is also significant that this new publishing strategy began with Wellington’s Victory, which was thus treated as a significant work for study and performance, although it has tended to be marginalised as mere ‘occasional music’ after Beethoven’s time. In total there were eight different editions released at once for Wellington’s Victory (and the Seventh and Eighth Symphonies). This strategy shows comprehensiveness, musically and socially. But it was also a matter of economic sense.
This chapter provides an overview of the social context in which arrangements of Beethoven’s symphonies for various chamber arrangements became extremely popular, representative of arrangement culture more generally. Beethoven described his era as ‘a fruitful age of arrangements’: this chapter considers why. The main arrangers of the era are discussed in overview, including Beethoven, with attention to the reasons why they cultivated musical arrangement. For Beethoven and others, there were aesthetic and artistic grounds. Beethoven made several arrangements of his own works for chamber ensemble, which probably had mostly to do his own development of thinking about chamber music, rather than with marketability or flexibility of performance options
The introduction provides the literary, musical, and critical contexts for the book. It opens with Forster’s contribution to Humphrey Jennings’s documentary A Diary for Timothy, using it to illustrate the intersection of music and politics. It reviews the formalist approaches that have until now dominated the interpretation of music’s influence on Forster. Alluding to the shifting perception of music from a non-referential art to a political discourse in musicology, the introduction demonstrates that inattention to contemporary ideas of and debates about music leads to inadequate, implicitly Eurocentric readings. The Introduction argues that it is necessary to draw attention to the political – political in its broadest sense, be it racial, national, sexual, or social – resonances of Forster’s engagement with and representations of musics. The Introduction proposes Forster’s notion of ‘not listening’ as a way to examine his representations of music and uses Tibby Schlegel’s listening to Brahms in Howards End to illustrate the many extramusical associations that a single reference to music can generate. The Introduction finishes with an outline of the ensuing chapters.
Forster’s Wagnerism is the focus of the fourth chapter. Instead of following previous critical examples to map out the narrative parallel between Wagner's music drama and Forster's fiction, the chapter turns to the way in which Forster negotiates Wagner's cultural and political status through tackling and questioning the heroism of Siegfried. Examining a variety of texts, ranging from his 1907 novel, The Longest Journey, to his political essays in the 1930s and wartime pamphlet Nordic Twilight (1940), and to a postwar radio broadcast for the BBC, ‘Revolution at Bayreuth’ (1954), the chapter considers how Forster was attentive to a complex web of discourses on Wagner’s anti-Semitism, posthumous reception in Britain, and links to the Nazis in the first half of the twentieth century. Forster’s consistent critique of Wagnerian heroism for its apocalyptical vision suggests his opposition to the political extremism and masculine exceptionalism celebrated and advocated by many contemporaries. Analysing Forster’s criticism of the Wagnerian hero, the chapter discusses his contribution to topical debates about fascism, Jewishness, war, violence, and hero-worship.
Early nineteenth-century composers, publishers and writers evolved influential ideals of Beethoven's symphonies as untouchable masterpieces. Meanwhile, many and various arrangements of symphonies, principally for amateur performers, supported diverse and 'hands-on' cultivation of the same works. Now mostly forgotten, these arrangements served a vital function in nineteenth-century musical life, extending works' meanings and reach, especially to women in the home. This book places domestic music-making back into the history of the classical symphony. It investigates a largely untapped wealth of early nineteenth-century arrangements of symphonies by Beethoven - for piano, string quartet, mixed quintet and other ensembles. The study focuses on three key agents in the nineteenth-century culture of musical arrangement: arrangers, publishers and performers. It investigates significant functions of those musical arrangements in the era: sociability, reception and canon formation. The volume also explores how conceptions of Beethoven's symphonies, and their arrangement, changed across the era with changing conception of musical works.
This book examines the political resonances of E. M. Forster's representations of music, offering readings of canonical and overlooked works. It reveals music's crucial role in his writing and draws attention to a previously unacknowledged eclecticism and complexity in Forster's ideological outlook. Examining unobtrusive musical allusions in a variety of Forster's writings, this book demonstrates how music provided Forster with a means of reflecting on race and epistemology, material culture and colonialism, literary heritage and national character, hero-worship and war, and gender and professionalism. It unveils how Forster's musical representations are mediated through a matrix of ideas and debates of his time, such as those about evolution, empire, Britain's relationship with the Continent, the rise of fascism, and the emergence of musicology as an academic discipline.
Chamber arrangements of Beethoven’s large-scale works ‘especially his symphonies’ were so prevalent in the nineteenth century that to ignore them is to miss an essential part of the reception or ‘life history’ of the works in question. The depth and dissemination of the arrangements of Beethoven’s works show that these arrangements, rather than the original versions, were an essential means by which Beethoven’s music took effect. In an era when concert performances were still relatively few, an arrangement was often the first instantiation of a Beethoven orchestral work that one would hear. This chapter explores these arrangements as nineteenth-century reception documents, looking at what they tell us not only about Beethoven, but also about the arrangers themselves and the processes of canon formation at the time. The chapter then considers the apparently new ways in which meanings are constructed for the symphony, through performance, and how these relate to Eroica myths and legends born in Beethoven’s day. It discusses ways in which the work has been performed, represented visually, and marketed in the twenty and twenty-first centuries, including the 2003 BBC production, Eroica.
Historically informed analysis reveals a very different conception of hero in the Eroica than the one sustained in the popular imagination and perpetuated by the majority of its reception history: a militaristic or Napoleonic Heldenleben. By combining analytic perspectives from schema theory and topic theory with key passages from Beethoven’s epistolary life and Tagebuch, this chapter illustrates that the Eroica’s narrative is akin to religious drama, conveying the same theme of abnegation found in the contemporary oratorio Christus am Ölberge and the Heiligenstadt Testament, the Eroica’s ‘literary prototype’. Unlike some middle-period works which communicate a ‘tragic-to-triumphant’ expressive genre, the Eroica is cast in the ‘tragic-to-transcendent’ type, which became characteristic of Beethoven’s late style. A central component of this spiritual genre is the strategic positioning of structural and semantic oppositions in an unresolved state of suspension. The Eroica manifests this most overtly through a governing opposition between death ‘ombra’ and pastoral ‘Ländler, contredanse’ music, and the association of this stylistic opposition with the tonalities of G minor and E flat major, respectively. Rather than a programmatic narrative about a hero who overcomes, the Eroica is a conceptually ‘late’ work that meditates on suffering as a spiritual necessity and its implications for transcendence.
This chapter explores register in the outer movements of the Eroica Symphony. Engaging closely with Schenker’s 1930 analysis, in which the two-line register is understood as the obligate Lage ‘obligatory register’ while the three-line octave is treated as essentially decorative or reinforcing, it argues to the contrary, asserting the structural significance of the latter. By paying particular attention to Beethoven’s scoring for the flute, it develops a narrative of registral ‘failure’ in the finale that is in stark contrast to the standard ‘heroic’ readings of this work.
The early reception of Beethoven’s Eroica proves to be a complex phenomenon. The new audiences that emerged around 1800 were interested in understanding music both through listening and through reading about it in new journals devoted to music. Beethoven’s music was considered very difficult, but worth the challenge. The dominant image of Beethoven and the status of the symphony both played an important role in the Eroica’s early reception. From the nineteenth century onwards there has been a strong desire to understand Beethoven’s music by relating it to biography. In the case of the Eroica Symphony there has been a focus on the title, and on the unnamed great man or hero, as well as on the interpretation of the Marcia funebre. Authors such as Hector Berlioz, Ferdinand Ries, Anton Schindler and Carl Maria von Weber contributed to interpretations that ranged from relating the symphony to the ancient world to the attempt to establish a programme related to Napoleon, Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, Admiral Horatio Nelson or General Ralph Abercromby. So the Eroica has been understood variously as a political statement. Others commentators, such as Richard Wagner, saw Beethoven himself is the hero of this symphony.
Critics have often described Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony as a ‘watershed’ work, not only within his career and oeuvre, but also within the histories of music, art and ideas. However, the concept of the ‘watershed’ work needs to be understood both as an aesthetic construct and as a literary device that helps to shape a narrative of triumph over adversity. Investigating this concept means disentangling the Eroica from the many stories that have been told about it since Beethoven’s death. While modern critics have made compelling claims about the Eroica’s departures from generic and stylistic norms, for instance, these claims are complicated by close engagement with the music of Beethoven’s predecessors. Carl Friedrich Michaelis’s 1805 interpretation of the symphonies of Haydn, Mozart and early Beethoven as ‘heroic epics’ ‘Heldengedichte’ offers further evidence that the Eroica reaffirmed and reimagined ‘rather than overturned’ an existing aesthetic paradigm. The Beethoven myth has strongly shaped the way the Eroica has been understood, so that beginning in the 1830s, the symphony’s extraordinary reputation has been closely bound up with the periodisation of Beethoven’s life and works. Recent scholarship on Beethoven’s ‘middle’ or ‘heroic’ period opens up alternate ways of thinking about the Eroica’s ‘watershed’ status.
Viennese courtly Kapellen were in decline by the time Beethoven began his career as a symphonist, with the result that one of the most important contexts for eighteenth-century symphonies was no longer available to the young generation of composers. This decline, along with various other developments in Viennese musical life during Beethoven’s lifetime, led to a reconfiguration of the symphony’s role. Public, rather than private concerts became the main platform for symphonic performance in Vienna and abroad by 1800. The organisation of Vienna’s concert life meant that symphonies were increasingly conceived as grand, individualistic works, rather than routine household entertainment music. Furthermore, select members of the Viennese aristocracy, including some of Beethoven’s supporters, continued to cultivate symphonies, with the result that Beethoven was better placed than some of his contemporaries for securing the performance and subsequent publication of symphonies. This chapter contextualises Beethoven’s first three symphonies within the broader culture of symphonic composition and performance at the turn of the nineteenth century.
Haydn’s Seasons suffered in the critical reception of its time owing to the sublime’s proximity to the humorous or quotidian, two of the sublime’s ‘off-switches’, especially after the unproblematic sublimity of The Creation. Van Swieten’s cataloguing talents as imperial librarian are on view as librettist of both oratorios, but only The Seasons reflected his thematic choices. His poetry allowed Haydn to showcase the effects of nature’s excesses in the ‘extreme’ seasons, making the sublime ‘start’ and ‘stop’ not only in the choruses invoking God, the eruption of the storm and the sounding of the Last Judgment, but also in the quieter solos in Summer and Winter, both cavatinas, when the sun’s overwhelming presence or absence makes animate nature gasp for air. The ‘quotidian sublime’ of the sunset tapestry that closes Summer brings healing after terror. Haydn’s two Mozart quotations in The Seasons make powerful references to the life cycle as the work’s dominant metaphor, but hitherto unremarked is Haydn’s spotlight on the rising-sixth interval in Spring and Winter as Mozart uses it in The Magic Flute for moments of recognition. In thus suggesting sublime Mozart’s spirit framing the whole, Haydn’s work offers a key to Beethoven’s Cavatina in Op. 130.
This introduction to the volume provides overviews of theories of the sublime and musicology’s engagement with the sublime, before outlining the fresh perspective brought by this collection. The focus is on historically specific experiences of the sublime: although the centre of gravity is the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, in the well-known centres of intellectual debate on the sublime in Europe, a widened purview considers performers and audiences, as well as composers and works, as agents of power. The authors distinguish between the different aesthetics of production, representation and effect, while understanding these as often mutually reinforcing approaches. A significant cross-temporal finding to emerge from the collection is music’s strength in playing out the sublime as transfer, transport and transmission of power; this is allied to the persistent theme of destruction, deaths and endings. The density of this thematic complex in music is a keynote of the dialogue between the chapters. The volume opens up two avenues for further research, suggested by the adjective ‘sonorous’: a wider spectrum of sounds heard as sublime, and (especially for those outside musicology) a more multifaceted idea of music as a cultural practice that has porous boundaries with other sounding phenomena.
Sociability may be a key term of reference for eighteenth-century studies as a whole, but it has not yet developed an especially strong profile in music scholarship. Many of the associations that it brings do not fit comfortably with a later imperative of individual expression. W. Dean Sutcliffe invites us to face up to the challenge of re-evaluating the communicative rationales that lie behind later eighteenth-century instrumental style. Taking a behavioural perspective, he divides sociability into 'technical' and 'affective' realms, involving close attention both to particular recurring musical patterns as well as to some of the style's most salient expressive attributes. The book addresses a broad span of the instrumental production of the era, with Haydn as the pivotal figure. Close readings of a variety of works are embedded in an encompassing consideration of the reception of this music.
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