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Beethoven

Discussion in 'Repertoire' started by pianolady, Jul 22, 2009.

  1. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hi Thorsten, I'm glad you have stopped in for a visit.

    I totally get what you are saying. But I think it is funny that you mentioned Boulez. He is not one of my favorite composers. I once sat through Pollini playing a Boulez piano sonata (or something like that) and felt like leaving the concert hall right afterwards. Felt like I had not gotten my money's worth for the ticket price! Good thing I didn't leave, though, because next came some Chopin. :D
     
  2. Syntaxerror

    Syntaxerror New Member

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    Hi Monica!
    He's not among my favorites too :). I have my problems with a lot of the "modern" stuff too (among them serial compositions like the one from the video mentioned above), but then I ask myself: "So why do you think Beethoven is a great composer, how can you say Boulez isn't?"

    I once read an interview with composer Wolgang Rihm, in which he said (I don't remember in which context) that if you listen to Beethoven and his contemporary Ferdinand Ries, you would definitely be able to tell the difference. So I just bought a CD with Ries piano sonatas. So I sat down listening, and it was an interesting listening experience. I think if someone who knows almost no classical piano music was given a recording of one or two Beethoven sonatas and subsequently had to listen to a Ries sonata would guess that the last one was just another Beethoven sonata. This was also my first impression: Someone tries to copy Beethoven, on the surface it sounds like Beethoven. But listening again, it becomes clear that the "core" is missing: this certain impact, strength of Beethoven; certain passanges seem a bit clumsy.

    To make things short: I'm somewhat lost in the discussion about "great" composers and "masterpieces" and "rubbish" (;-)), although I definitely consider some works masterpieces. Hmm, does this sound confusing...? I realize this is all off-topic ..... D'oh!
     
  3. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Don't worry - I've gone off topic once or twice myself. :wink: I'm glad when people share their thoughts here on Piano Society. :)
     
  4. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    I've been fascinated by this discussion and decided to put my two cents in. Hope I'm not resurrecting a dead dog.

    One thing to consider is that particular types of chords are not necessarily "jazzy" in and of themselves. Actually, a quick perusal of the thorough-bass section of C.P.E Bach's "True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments" shows most of the types of chords used in jazz -- Maj 7, Maj 9, #11, b9, et. al. Beethoven was known to have studied this so he would not have needed to find them through the "hunt and peck" method.

    The main difference is how they are used. In the Baroque, Classical, and even most of the Romantic mind-sets, these dissonances were melodic functions (non-harmonic tones) that required resolution. In the jazz mind-set, these notes are non-functional color tones (called "tensions" in jazz parlance). For this to happen, Beethoven would have had to free the dissonances from their melodic function.

    Another thing that occurs frequently in jazz type harmonies is the use of parallelism -- particularly parallel dissonances. This took such people as Debussy and Ravel to really develop.

    One more thought is that what we consider as "jazz" harmony actually developed over a century and was borrowed from many sources. The first three measures of Berg's piano sonata (1907?) is pure jazz but that type of harmony wasn't incorporated into jazz until around the 1950's in Be-Bop. Gershwin's improvisations from 1926 and 1928 (I have transcriptions of them) vary rarely use any chords that is beyond the harmonic pallet of Beethoven. His melodic uses of the blue notes (b3 and b7) are very often harmonized with simple triads in a very "Beethoven" Manner (Major followed by minor).

    The influence of the impressionists didn't occur until the 1930's with such jazz pianists as Art Tatum. Not until the 1950's do we get a reliance on chords with all of the 9ths, 11ths, and 13ths -- natural and altered. These harmonies, though the chord symbols indicate them in tertian terms, often owe more to quartal concepts (chords built on 4ths) in actual practice.

    So, for Beethoven to have come up with any kind of "jazz" would have required that he develop nearly two centuries of musical concepts -- in otherwords, to create a whole new musical language, not just create a new "hip" pharse or two. It would be akin to Shakespere having gone directly to writing "West Side Story" instead of "Romeo and Juliette" (Mambo anyone?)

    Anyway, just some thoughts on the issue.

    Scott
     
  5. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Nobody minds if someone resurrects a dead dog unless it involves me having to do some work. :lol: But seriously, you are very knowledgeable and it is great to have people come onto the forum with different things to say.

    go Jets... :wink:
     

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