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View Diary: Thursday Classical Music OPUS 55: Beethoven's Fifth Symphony (115 comments)

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  •  Love the 7th! (2+ / 0-)
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    Boxer7, Dumbo

    Ah yes, the second movement!

    One particular part of the 7th that I like comes near the end of the last movement where the violins and other strings start into all that swirling motion. And the part that blows me away here is the way the bass strings start grinding away on a short little motive, first descending in pitch and then slowly rising up again.

    Sometimes when I hear those basses grinding away it occurs to me that some people back in Beethoven's day must have thought, upon hearing them grind, that Herr Beethoven was mad out of his mind. Sometimes I wonder the same thing. But eventually the grinding stops as the triumphant melodies override and conquer it as the work rushes headlong to its conclusion.

    And I realize again that Beethoven was not insane at all!

    •  Beethoven was, in a magical way, insane (1+ / 0-)
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      Dumbo

       at least that is what I hear.

        Art and madness have always done a wonderful, teasing dance.  Beethoven was, in many ways, lost to the world because of his deafness.  The stories are that he came close to despair and contemplated suicide - being embarrased at being deaf.

        From there he found solace only by diving into his music - becoming obsessed.   What strikes me though, is how radical his music was.  He was doing nutty things - as you note, there is so much of the 7th that is, even today, out there.

        The 7th just leaves me wordless - I find it so audacious - so carefree about the conventions of music.

        Plus - it just rocks.

      •  I can't help but think that the deafness (1+ / 0-)
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        Boxer7

        did have an impact on the complexity of his music.  Divorced, as he was gradually becoming, from the actual sonic experience of the sounds of the individual instruments, the sounds had to become concepts trapped in his mind.  That was what he had to work with.  Like a blind chess player imagining the board.

        •  I think that is so (1+ / 0-)
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          Dumbo

           the blind folded chess master working out a masterpiece totally in his head.  I imagine it is isolating - Beethoven could not sit at the piano and play a few bars of a section for someone and get their reaction.   On the other hand - it might have been liberating - the music was free from outside criticism - born only in his head.

            Thanks again, Dumbo - it is wonderful of you to do all of this to bring this music to life and to see all the great reaction.

    •  They did think he was mad. (1+ / 0-)
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      Boxer7

      Weber (Invitation to the Dance) said so, because of the grinding bass part at the end of the first movement of the seventh.  There's an actual quote somewhere.  Not "goofy" mad, but asylym-ready mad.  Goethe, too, thought Beethoven was mad.

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