February 22, 2017

After Beethoven: The Imperative of Originality in the by Mark Evan Bonds

By Mark Evan Bonds

Beethoven forged a looming shadow over the 19th century. For composers he was once a version either to emulate and to beat. "You don't know the way it feels," Brahms confided, "when one regularly hears this sort of monstrous marching at the back of one." Exploring the reaction of 5 composers--Berlioz, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, and Mahler--to what every one truly 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 matter 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 indicates us how composers imitate or allude to a Beethoven subject or compositional approach accurately so that it will draw 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 middle matters as Beethoven's options in formal layout, the position of textual content and voice, fusion of numerous 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 in all likelihood overpowering precursor. His research areas common masterpieces in a brand new gentle.

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Indeed, the soloist who had been present throughout disappears, and Berlioz offers no Substitute in place of the rejected themes. Instead, the music of rejection, the brigands' music, itself becomes the centerpiece of the finale. By evoking the paradigm of the Ninth, Berlioz underlines the manner in which his own finale, with its subsequent non-resolution of crisis, differs from Beethoven's. This open reference to Beethoven's Ninth has a broader fiinction as well. '® Implicit in the process of review and rejection is the authority to summarize and pass judgment on all that has gone before.

The viola systematically recalls themes fi-om each of the three previous movements, and the orchestra, just as systematically, rejects each one. ^ Even critics well-disposed toward the work as a whole have tended to agree with J. H. Elliott that the "formal or programmatic significance" of these reminiscences in Harold is "difficult to fathom" and that the review of themes from earlier movements represents litde more than a "naive copy" of Beethoven's last symphony. " A. E. F. " And on the basis of this extended passage, Tom S.

106). As the pilgrims draw nearer, the music increases to its dynamic climax, meticulously indicated in the score at m. 1 3 1 . Harold has presumably been hiding during this time. But he has also been listening. When he returns after the procession has passed (m. 10). The central canto relißioso that follows (m. 1 6 9 - Z 4 7 ) poses perhaps the most difficult technical challenge for the violist in the entire work: the arpeggiated sixteenth-note figure, to be played piano and sul ponticello 48 SINFONIA ANTI-EROICA poco meno J^ e dim.

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