By Mark Evan Bonds
Beethoven solid a looming shadow over the 19th century. For composers he used to be a version either to emulate and to beat. "You do not know the way it feels," Brahms confided, "when one regularly hears this kind of massive marching at the back of one." Exploring the reaction of 5 composers--Berlioz, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, and Mahler--to what every one sincerely observed because the problem of Beethoven's symphonies, Evan Bonds richly complements our realizing 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 matter in Beethoven's Ninth--have usually been the topic of feedback. Bonds now exhibits us how composers imitate or allude to a Beethoven subject or compositional process accurately that allows you to shy away 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 suggestions in formal layout, the position of textual content and voice, fusion of various genres, cyclical coherence of events, and the functionality of the symphonic finale.
Bonds lucidly argues that the nice symphonists of the 19th century cleared inventive area for themselves through either confronting and deviating from the practices in their almost certainly overpowering precursor. His research areas established masterpieces in a brand new gentle.
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Extra resources for After Beethoven: The Imperative of Originality in the Symphony
Hrun£i und Rezeption (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1 9 9 3 ) ; David Benjamin Levy, Beethoven: The Ninth Symphony (New York: Schirmer Books, 1 9 9 5 ) . 22 THE V O I C E OF T R A D I T I O N the nineteenth Century, "conservatives" and "progressives" alike claimed it as part of their heritage. As Beedioven's final work in the genre, the Ninth had taken on a special aura as Beethoven's "last word" on the symphony. ^'' Wagner nevertheless used the Ninth to justify his own abandonment of the genre: As soon as Beethoven had written his last symphony, every musical guild could patch and stuff as much as it liked in its effort to create a man of absolute music.
THE CRISIS OF THE SYMPHONY AFTER BEETHOVEN 21 (4) Cyclical cohermce. How should the multiple movements of a q^cle relate to one another? Beethoven's Fifth, widi its overt manipulation of a Single motive across multiple movements, tiie blurring of boundaries between its last two movements, and the extended return to an earlier movement (the third) within the course of the finale, incorporates strategies of cyclical coherence that are overt and readily grasped. Other works, like the Seventh Symphony, with its four essentially autonomous movements, offer a more traditional Solution to the problem of coherence, one based on the principle of complementarity, by which contrasting units create a coherent whole.
Whereas the idea of joy pervades Beethoven's finale, at least once the voices enter, it is explicitly present only in HarolcCs opening movement (Scenes de mäancolie, de bonheur et de joie). Emotionally, Harold presents almost a mirror image of the Ninth, which begins with struggle and culminates in joy. One of the earliest direct compositional responses to the Ninth Symphony is thus in many respects the least conventional, the one that runs most directly counter to its precursor. As such, it is also the dosest actual equivalent to Adrian Leverkühn's fictional "revocation" of the Ninth Symphony in Thomas Mann's novel Doktor Faustus (1947).
After Beethoven: The Imperative of Originality in the Symphony by Mark Evan Bonds