The Development of the Classical Symphony: Haydn (1793) ? Beethoven
(1801 ? 1824):
PLEASE READ THIS THROUGH IN DETAIL AND START THE LISTENING PORTION AS SOON AS YOU CAN:
Here?s your big chance to show me what you can do, having now explored quite intensively the music of the Classical period as it transitions into the 19th century. This is a listening and writing assignment and it needs to represent the best work you can do. Those of you who heard the live performance of Beethoven?s
Fifth Symphony can incorporate your notes into this assignment. Those who attended can also submit their reports on that concert separately for credit. Having heard the work ?live? will also help greatly with this assignment, which is designed to build upon that experience.
In 1792 the young Ludwig van Beethoven
arrived in Vienna to study with the founder of what we now call the Viennese ?Classical? school, Franz Joseph Haydn (1732 ? 1809), carrying a reference from one of his aristocratic patrons. As you know, the principal public orchestral work of the period was the symphony, a large four-movement work for orchestra. Haydn brought this form to its maturity, composing over a hundred examples from about 1755 ? 1805). Haydn?s younger friend, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed forty-one, while Beethoven
himself composed just nine symphonies, all quite different from one another. The symphonies of Beethoven
are a way of observing the transition from the refined ?classical? Enlightenment to the revolutionary world of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
This assignment involves listening to the following works:?
1. Haydn: Symphony No. 99 in E flat major (four movements) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fB8_cZiEQgA?
: Symphony No. 1 in C major (four movements) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4niajGQbZ4?
: Symphony No. 3 in E flat major ?Eroica? (four movements) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xmteww3jrM (performance)?
: Symphony No. 5 in C minor (four movements, with direct transition between 3 and 4) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gzs-OGgkZTU?
Symphony No. 9 in D minor ?Choral? (four movements, choir and vocal soloists in no. 4)
The text for the last movement (Schiller?s ?An die Freude, or ?Ode to Joy?) is next http://classicalmusic.about.com/od/romanticperiodsymphonies/qt/Beethovenjoytxt.htm (text of finale)
I am asking you to listen to all this music, not in unnecessary detail to make you analyze it, but in a general way so you, as listeners can make sense of what you are hearing, take in the overall changes that are occurring to the style of music, the nature of the orchestra itself and the transition (gradual or sudden) from one aesthetic to another between 1793 and 1824. I am asking you to place yourselves in the position of a Viennese music lover who heard all of these works for the first time between 1793 (the Haydn Symphony no. 99) and 1824 (the premiere of the ninth symphony of Beethoven
. Ask yourselves this basic question: what does Beethoven
inherit from Haydn, what does he learn from him and how does he transform music into something else. Where does he take music, and from where did he begin? Imagine that YOU are Beethoven
. You hear the Haydn work in 1793, use it as a model and then go on from there. Only problem is that, from about 1805, you are losing your hearing, so your own ?inner? world becomes more important! Read Music Then and Now, pp. 231 ? 232 to get the idea of what I am looking for. The mindset I am conjuring up is very well expressed there.
Above is a link to Beethoven?s
?suicide? note, the Heiligenstadt Testament, where he described his struggle and how he transcended ?fate?. It will help you to understand his mindset.
1. Listen to all these works (we heard parts of all of them in class) : NO MORE THAN ONE PER DAY, but keep coming back and familiarizing yourselves with them. I want you to ENTER THIS CHANGING SOUNDWORLD AS THOUGH YOU WERE THE FIRST PEOPLE TO HEAR THIS MUSIC. I recommend that you do this over the next two weeks (and beyond as you then write it up). Ask me anything you like as you listen. Also, look at the videos on Beethoven
I have sent you the links to and read the introduction to Beethoven?s
symphonies that I emailed you a week or so ago. This will help you chart their progression from 1 ? 9 over nearly 25 years.
2. As you listen compare them with each other, beginning with the Haydn Symphony no. 99 and Beethoven?s
First Symphony (which was directly modeled on Haydn?s work ? Beethoven
copied out Haydn?s symphony for study purposes). Compare the first movements with one another, then the second movements, third and fourth. Try also to imagine Haydn?s musical world, and the ideals of that kind of ?Enlightenment? music ? very civilized, clear formal structure, beautiful tunes, easy to understand, not too much counterpoint/polyphony.
3. As you become familiar with the music, keep in mind the following criteria:
Form (sonata form, theme & variations, minuet & trio, scherzo, rondo)?Size and sound of the orchestra?Instruments: what is the basic orchestra in 1793? What instruments are added by Beethoven
as time moves on??Mood/key/use of major and minor/emotional effect?Overall length and dimensions of individual movements compared to each other?Dynamics (soft and loud/crescendo/sudden contrasts?The use of humor/irony regarding forms and techniques (something Beethoven
learned from Haydn, who was a great musical ?jokester?).?At what point does it seem to you that Beethoven
ceases ?copying? Haydn and finds his own voice? How is this manifested?
4. Move on to the Eroica (no. 3) and just see what impressions it makes on you compared to the two previous works, using the criteria in Instruction 3.
5. Move on to no. 5: same criteria 6. Move on to no. 9: same criteria
You should already be pretty familiar with the fifth symphony. Now I want you to be aware of its overall context: where it comes in the scheme of things from late Haydn (the model for Beethoven
no. 1) to the last Beethoven
symphony in 1824 (no. 9)
B. Reading & Watching:?Read SLOWLY AND IN DETAIL:
pp. 168 ? 175 of Music Then and Now?Chapter 8 of MTAN (pp. 208 ? 233). There is a ton of excellent information about this work, Beethoven
, historical context and the symphony itself as a form. Read in this order:
1. pp. 168 ? 175 (general musical and political background/Classical musical style compared with the Baroque).
2. pp. 218 ? 222: These pages deal with defining a symphony, symphonic form, style, musical forms
3. pp. 222 ? 232 (Listening to the Music: The Fifth Symphony Then and Now). These pages include the listening guides for Symphony 5.
Your reading will be GREATLY enhanced by watching the documentaries/films I have included links to, including the one on the importance of the Eroica symphony. The character of Haydn appears in this film, so you get to witness HIS reaction to what his student was doing. I think you will find this material so compelling that it will not seem like a lot of work ? but YOU MUST PACE YOURSELVES. Leave sufficient time for reviewing the material and processing your own thoughts/reactions. I am not asking you to reproduce the book ? I want you to listen, read and then PROCESS. This is crucial. It?s not a test of how much you can remember.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3PzPKD5ACA (a feature length film about the ?Eroica?, why it was important and how it changed music ? you should watch the whole thing ? it literally takes you there. The complete performance is taken from the same film. If you watch this video, you?ll understand how difficult the musicians found the work when it was completely new, and how often Beethoven
With the reading and listening done, write a report as though you were someone who heard (and could recall the experience of hearing) all of these works at their first performances from 1793 ? 1824. Describe what your expectations of a symphony were at the start (i.e. in 1793), and how each of the subsequent works has either met or defied your expectations. You do not need to analyze things in detail: I?m more interested in your general impressions as an experienced listener (and you will be by the time you write this up, as you will have listened to all these works. However, be familiar with overall forms etc. Try to fit your observations into about 3,000 words. If you cite outside sources, please footnote accordingly.
1. Plan this work out carefully over the next month.
2. Take the time to listen, read, watch, ask questions and immerse yourselves in this assignment. This will transform your understanding of this course and music in general. If you follow the steps outlined above I guarantee that you will succeed.
3. Do not become overwhelmed: much of this music has been included here so you get to hear an overview by comparing works. I?m looking for your reactions as INFORMED listeners, not as theorists or analysts. Take the time and let the music itself draw you in: what seems like a lot now will not seem like that as you plunge in.
4. Take at least TWO WEEKS on the listening, and get in the habit of listening until you are familiar, don?t listen once at the last minute. During those two weeks, the more questions you ask me, the better I get to know you and your work, and the more I can help you. My aim is for EVERYONE to succeed, so please do not be shy about asking questions. It shows me that you are really engaging with this work and using your opportunity wisely.
This is a big and challenging assignment, but it represents the essence of what this course is about: YOUR OWN REACTIONS, YOUR OWN CRITICAL THINKING. It will pay big rewards if you take the time and trouble to do it well. I?ll provide all the help you need. Finally, try not to write this up as an ?evolutionary? triumph. Haydn was a great composer, whom Beethoven
revered all his life. Try, instead, to follow the changes in taste and fashion that Beethoven
pushed so far away from his original model.
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