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Chamber Concerto No. Suite from Wake , for Solo Violoncello 1. Maestoso e liberamente—Allegro. Symphony No.
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Maestoso molto; Andante. The most striking feature about the first movement of No. The dynamic level is soft or very soft almost throughout, and dies away to a very rare ppp just before the recapitulation. The few forte passages, which mostly occur in combination with an agitated demisemiquaver figure, consequently stand out in sharper relief, reaching a great climax on a very widely spaced diminished 7th chord in the coda. This chord corresponds with the sketch marked 'il se tue' in Beethoven's programmatic background to the movement. The fragmented sighing figures associated with 'les derniers soupirs' in the sketches, however, are not found in the final version.
Beethoven fills the high-speed Scherzo with witticisms of many kinds. The main theme is a rhythmically altered inversion of the opening turn-figure of the first movement, but it is chromatically distorted and rapidly disrupts the tonality in a rather ludicrous way. Some abrupt stops and starts contribute further to the humorous effect. Then after the first eight bars have been repeated, the music suddenly plunges into A flat, with a clear melodic echo of a passage in the same key in the first-movement transition bar In the Trio, a series of comic octave leaps on C are suddenly interrupted by a new theme again based on a turn-figure in the remote key of D flat--a key that recurs in the finale.
Thus Beethoven's fondness for long-distance tonal relationships is once again in evidence in this quartet. The main theme of the finale is based on yet another type of turn-figure, and this is reused almost as obsessively as that in the first movement, providing yet another ingenious way of unifying the quartet as a whole. Of the other five quartets, No. In No. The theme is also related to the passage in C major near the end of the exposition of the first movement; this passage duly appears in F in the recapitulation, and E flat in the coda, so that the appearance of B flat for a related theme at the start of the slow movement is made to seem inevitable rather than incongruous.
In a set of six quartets, one was traditionally in a minor key--in this case No. Some commentators have indeed been sufficiently disturbed to describe the movement as weak and even crude, and to allege that the quartet was written somewhat earlier for which there is no evidence. Beethoven seems here to have been deliberately writing music that is uncomfortable, as in the heavy alternation of tonic and dominant chords in bars , and in the jarring C that heralds the development he often used the note C as a disruptive element on later occasions ; perhaps his intention was to heighten the contrast with the other quartets.
The mood of the first movement is not upheld later, however. The 'slow' movement is a whimsical Scherzo in C major that affects to be fugal but actually pokes fun at the learned style, with much subtle interplay based on the repeated-note opening bar. In the third movement, a Menuetto, the Trio section is in A flat major, and is followed by a speeded-up reprise of the Minuet, while in the finale the two main episodes use the keys of the Trio and Scherzo respectively, providing yet another example of tonal integration.
Beethoven - Symphony No. 5 First Movement Allegro con brio (extract) sheet music for Cello
The finale then ends with a Prestissimo section in which the main theme appears at a faster tempo, to match the similar effect in the Menuetto. Its elegant and orthodox nature, in which everything seems to fall delightfully into place, forms an excellent counterweight to the preceding quartet. Nothing here, however, prepares for the extraordinary movement that follows--the most remarkable one in the whole set. It is an additional slow movement, entitled 'La Malinconia' Melancholy and directed to be played 'with the greatest delicacy'.
Once again he uses every means at his disposal, stretching the bounds of convention to breaking point. An initial sense of immobility gradually gives way to tortured chromaticism, where the music turns to increasingly remote keys without finding any repose. Harsh dynamic contracts and obsessive use of turns in a slow and ponderous progression of chords contribute further to the overall portrayal, which is one of the most vivid illustrations of a mental state in the whole of music history.
The mood is rapidly dispelled in the lively finale, but reappears in the middle of the movement like an echo from the past. Beethoven returned to this highly successful procedure in certain later works, notably the Fifth Symphony and the Sonata Op. The most imposing quartet of Opus 18 is No.
The material in the first movement is characterized by a short, memorable motif, recognizable from its rhythmic form alone. Except where the second group in the dominant provides relief through smoothly flowing eighth notes, the motif serves as the leading factor throughout. But this primary motif, though always well defined, appears in many guises. Sometimes its pitches are entirely different; sometimes it acts as accompaniment to other thematic figures; sometimes it lacks the first note but, like a puzzle in a Gestalt formation, is still recognizable.
The main motif can either be heard as if it were a picaresque figure in a narrative, which enters into varied situations and encounters, yet maintains its own form; or else as if it were a recurrent emblematic figure that runs like a red thread through an entire complex tapestry. A window onto the genesis of this quartet is provided not only by its extensive sketches but also by the chance survival of a complete early version of the entire work. In the second version we see Beethoven, especially in the first and last movements, tightening the content, improving the voice leading, and making the string writing more idiomatic--in all, he gave the work the mature profile and idiomaticity that he now saw was essential to a higher level of quartet writing.
That sketching and revising the Opus 18 quartets cost Beethoven intense effort does not in principle distinguish them from many of his other works, but it confirm the exceptionally high standards he associated with this genre. Striking in Opus 18 No. Fugue is more characteristic of the quartet than of the piano sonata.
It remained a mark of the more developed, intellectual character of quartet composition, in which composers were expected to show off their contrapuntal accomplishments both in creating interesting inner and lower parts and in the learned disciplines of fugue and fugato, even when used as episodes within sonata-form or sonata-rondo structures.
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In each of these major orchestral works, all of epic character, fugue or fugato occurs in at least one movement, sometimes more, typically as a way of extending the developmental range by treating one or more themes contrapuntally. And although we find no fugal episodes in the even-numbered symphonies and in most of the piano sonatas before the late period, this lack in no way lessens the quality of those works but simply signals that their aesthetic models make no room for fugal development and proceed in other ways; the Fourth Symphony is a prime example.
Celebrated for expressivity is the slow movement of Opus 18 No. The final remark is attached to a closing segment for the movement and uses a traditional "sigh" motif. Beethoven often wrote in Italian or French in his sketchbooks when he was thinking out passages and, at times, larger plans for movements or works. The large-scale sonata form of this Adagio gives it a weight and gravity beyond all but a few of Beethoven's earlier slow movements. If Beethoven was thinking of Romeo and Juliet, then the main theme, in D minor, and the principal second theme, in F major, may represent the two conflicting principles of Romeo's despair and Juliet's beauty.
If the burial vault scene from the play was a generating idea for the movement, as it may have been, the important point is that Beethoven, not wanting to be literal, destroyed all traces of any such program in the finished work. What evidence he left exists only by chance in the sketches, which he never expected the world to know. Essential in the movement is the expressive conflict of these two basic musical ideas. Oppositions between paired and contrasted themes, gestures, motifs, and segments always with clear-cut rhythmic profiles--become a vital means by which Beethoven generates drama, action, and larger shape in his sonata-form movements, increasingly so as he moves from early to middle-period works.
The other quartets of Opus 18 offer varied perspectives on Beethoven's hard-won virtuosity as a quartet composer. Thanks to Amenda, we know about his revision of No. He also revised No. It is light and graceful, and has an elaborated slow movement that alternates Adagio and Allegro segments, perhaps following a Haydn model, and anticipating the tempo alternations in La Malinconia , the finale of No. In Beethoven's first sketchbook, which which he worked out Opus 18 No. The undulating motion of the material in the third measure and its many ramifications recall Mozart more than Haydn; sure enough, in the course of the movement, we find possibly unconscious reminiscences from the finale of Mozart's A Major Quartet, K.
The pace and flow of this movement is also aking to that of the "Spring" Sonata, Opus 24, in which a similar ebb and flow of melodic lines is the primary feature of the first movement. Actually, though, it is quite independent of the Mozart work if we look below the surface, as it omits all the characteristic structural underpinning of the Mozart quartet, namely its use of descending-third chains in both first and last movements.
The cycle closes with the Quartet No. With its opening in a Haydnesque texture, the first movement unfurls a main theme that contains a "folded arpeggio," that is, a theme in which the notes of the tonic chord are presented in this order: Beethoven employs this means of thematic formation in later works as well. The whle first movement of No. It also finds room for rolling, questioning phrases, as in the preparation for the recapitulation, where a dying away leads to a measure of silence and then a pianissimo pause on the dominant.
String Quartet No. 1 in B-flat major, Op. 4, No. 1
The Adagio0 ranks with the most expressive of the early slow movements, yet harbors surprises, as when a sudden fortissimo erupts in the reprise, disclosing powerful feelings that had been hidden below the lyrical surface. The Scherzo is a tour de force of syncopation, like no other early Beethoven movement, an explosion of rhythmic eccentricity after the more nearly straightforward rhythmic patterns of the first two movements. But the crux of the whole work is its finale, labeled La Malinconia.
The movement comprises four sections: 1 Adagio; 2 Allegretto quasi Allegro; 3 a return of 2 , preceded by brief returns of Sections 1, 2, and 1; and 4 Prestissimo preceded by a brief Poco adagio. In Section 3 Beethoven plays out returns of previously heard contrasting material, each return shorter than the one before. The sense is that of indecision as to what will happen to these opposed emotional states--the melancholic and the sanguine--and how their opposition can be resolved.
The question is then settled and the movement stabilized by the Allegretto, which now returns in Section 4 and finds its way back to the tonic. The movement ends in a manic close taken at the fastest tempo marking found in Beethoven's works. What does the title La Malinconia mean?
The words La Malinconia have traditionally been taken to refer only to the Adagio, as a representation of melancholia, reflecting Beethoven's personal depression as his deafness increased. The Adagio then gradually loses its original rhythmic profile as it wanders through distant harmonic regions. Finally it clings to the figure of a strong quarter note preceded by a sixteenth-note-triplet turning-motion upbeat in its last measures, again alternating forte and piano.
In its last phrase the slow crescendo from pianissimo to fortissimo is held together by the cello while the other strings rise through a succession of chromatic harmonies, searching for a harmonic foothold but not finding it until they reach the final dominant.
But another way of looking at La malinconia , which might have roots in both the deafness crisis and in the idea of representing two temperaments, two states of the soul in melancholia and sanguinity, is to see it as a bold extension of the programmatic into the string quartet, a genre it had not penetrated before. Beethoven's use of this title, with all its implications, is a departure from Haydn and Mozart, and it goes beyond his reticence regarding the Romeo and Juliet allusion in the first quartet.
Haydn and Mozart never used representational titles in their quartets even when they might conceivably have been appropriate. Certainly in some of Haydh's and Mozart's quartets, strongly profiled and virtually nameable emotional states stand right at the border of consciousness--of the performer, of the listener, and probably of the composer. We need only think of Haydn's profound slow movement of Opus 76 No. That Beethoven could have had the "Dissonant" Quartet in mind, indirectly or as distant recollection, as a potential background to La Malinconia may seem at first far fetched.
But in fact the affinities between this slow introduction and the modulatory scheme of the finale of K. It foreshadows the wider emotional world that Beethoven would explore several years later in the Opus 59 trilogy, by which time composing string quartets had taken on for him a greatly enlarged range of meanings" Lockwood:
Related String Quartet No. 6, Movement 1 - Allegro con brio - Score
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