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Beethoven Op. 2 No. 1 (Read 16397 times)

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Beethoven Op. 2 No. 1
«Reply #50 on: August 19, 2007, 11:04:34 PM »
harmony:
1. is the harmonic system modal or tonal?
2. is the general approach chordal (vertical) or contrapuntal (horizontal)
3. are chords complete?
4. is the harmonic language generally diatonic or chromatic?
5. what can you say about the following harmonic features?
a. cliched harmonic patterns or progressions?
b. cadential types and their placement
c. dissonance and its use (introduction and resolution of non-harmonic tones)
d. evidence for relationship between harmony and text
e. use of distinctive harmonic colors (seventh chords, diminished chords, etc)

texture:
1. how would you describe in general the type or predominant type of texture used?
a. monophonic
b. homophonic
1. chordal or homorhythmic
2. melody and accompaniment
c. polyphonic or contrapuntal
1. imitative counterpoint
a. special case: canon
2. non-imitative counterpoint
d. cantus-firmus derived textures
1. some voices weaving free counterpoint around a single slow movement voice stating a cantus firmus (pfundnoten)
2. cantus firmus embellished and placed in the top voice with the other voices moving contrapuntally around it (paraphrase)

sound:
1. what is the instrumentation (written or implied)?
2. is there reason to believe/assume that the instruments or voices other then or in addition to those written in the score were actually used in performance?
3. is the writing idiomatic for these voices and /or instruments (with, for example, reference to range and difficulty)?
4. what is the balance in parts? (sonority)
5. are dynamic levels indicated or implied?


Offline pianistimo

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Re: Beethoven Op. 2 No. 1
«Reply #51 on: August 19, 2007, 11:06:43 PM »
sorry to digress, mcgillcomposer, because you already know these questions - but i was putting them here for myself and others because sometimes the most simple things can be overlooked.

i would like to pursue this strange impression that this sonata is greatly unstable.  what makes it so?  how does beethoven tip us off in the very beginning?  i think one thing would be the accent on the very top note (Ab) in the second measure.  why this accent.  why here?  it's almost like he helps the performer to see right away it is in cut time.  but also to see that we have a slight accent in the first measure - but the 'real' accent in the second.

btw, i have a secret for playing this sonata - but it's my own made-up secret and i don't know if it will fly with anyone else.  i hold that top (accented note) slightly when i play the ornamentation and last staccatoed note.  it just solidifies my hand structure and i don't 'wheedle' out of control there.

ok. another thing i see is dramatic dynamics right away.  the sf's and ff to a sudden p.  this is sort of 'sturmish.'  the nice thing about beethoven - is he is teaching  you right from the start - that when you repeat a motive - you will intensify it (making it louder or softer).  it seems to be a trademark of beethoven.  but, if you are elegant in your playing - you won't suddenly play a sf like a sfz.  it will be graded.  motive Ia = piano  motive Ib = mp motive IIa - mforte  IIb = forte - and finally ff  the loudest to 'piano' again.

from all of this - i get a sense right away just from the dynamics that there is an intensity and importance - as though someone is trying to get a letter post-haste to someone else. 

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Beethoven Op. 2 No. 1
«Reply #52 on: August 19, 2007, 11:23:18 PM »
my mind wanders easily - so it is wandering back into sturm und drang territory.  here's some sturm und drang tendencies:

1. to write in a minor key
2. erratic interruptions
3. unexpected dynamic contrasts
4. syncopated rhythmic schemes
5. disjunct melodic motion
6. unconventional harmonic progressions

this all = 'feverish fierceness of expression'

also, cpe bach utilized 'tears and sighs' indicated by the ornamentation here, imo - to show emotion (sturm und drang coming from the earlier 'empfindsamkeit).  goethe was born 21 years earlier than beethoven and outlived him by a few years, too - so he was definately the verbal side to this 'storm and stress.'  especially in his writings 'sorrows of young werther.'

here's another list i have of sturm und stress features:
1. use of minor
2. syncopation
3. chromaticism
4. melody lines including wide leaps, abrupt and somewhat irrational changes in musical materials (texture, range, dynamics, etc)
5. use of intensified contrapuntal textures (often in unexpected places, such as minuet movements)
6. rapid tonal shift
7. use of remote keys
8. unusual modulation

in the german literary movement - the idea was to 'frighten, stun, or overcome with emotion' the listeners.  it placed extreme emphasis on an anti-rational and subjective approach.  the term 'sturm und drang' actually comes from a play written in 1776 by friedrich maximilian klinger about the american revolution!  among the literary figures who contributed to the sturm und drang movement were the german writers goethe and schiller (author of the 'ode to joy') used as a text by beethoven in the finale movement of his 9th symphony.

Offline rallestar

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Re: Beethoven Op. 2 No. 1
«Reply #53 on: August 20, 2007, 06:14:01 AM »
Something that always boggles me is the relationship between musical eras and the eras of the other arts - While Beethoven's early music for example, is written in the sturm und drang time, his early works are firmly regarded classicist, even if sturm und drang is very much a romantic movement.

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Beethoven Op. 2 No. 1
«Reply #54 on: August 20, 2007, 06:38:39 AM »
but, beethoven's time was a time of upheavel - and sturm und drang is a term that comes from a writer of the beethoven's era (1776) and reminds one of the many times beethoven wrote with napoleon and/or the french revolution in mind.  at that time the american and french revolution made people take sides when one or the other side was incomprehensible.  beethoven, of course, was greatly perturbed when napoleon declared himself emperor.  beethoven thought he would delare a different form of government for and by the people.  thus, the french and german peoples were 'up in arms' over being aristocracied to death.

and, yet - because the patronage system worked so well (they got paid well) - there was a bit of love and hate at the same time.

this is all my ramblings - but, beethoven also referred someone to read 'the tempest.'  that is also a very 'sturm und drangish' sonata.

haydn and beethoven also employed this fanatical use of the violin's registers in their piano sonata music.  the violin, to me, typifies the dramatic elements of music that one finds in the 'sturm und drang' movement.  haydn utilizing the wide leaps (staccato) like beethoven does here - in some symphonies (surprise and fairwell -etc) instead of a direct melody line.  it says - almost - this is a violin part.  we are going to astonish the listener with virtuosity combined with intensity.  to come as close as possible to the chromatic emotional drama that is available on the violin and make the piano a clone.

here is the text of 'the sorrows of young werther'
http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext01/sywer11.txt  goethe always writing in the dramatic and filling this work with emotion.  just like cpe bach did when the turn to classicism did away with all the formality (hiding of emotion) and let emotion come to the fore with direct melody lines and less aggrandizement of ornamentation.  letting ornaments become symbols of sighs and cries.

and then, of course, what does one make of the heiligenstadt testament.  one only needs watch this u-tube 'suicide and the young werther' to understand beethoven's wildly fluctuating needs for reassurrance and then the opposing self-confidence.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEe0RzqFvcw

Offline mcgillcomposer

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Re: Beethoven Op. 2 No. 1
«Reply #55 on: August 20, 2007, 09:38:00 PM »
'the exposition and the recapitulation will each include a primary theme or theme group (P), a transition (T), that produces great energy and modulates to a secondary key, a secondary theme or theme group (S) in the new key, and a closing section (K) that may be thematic, but normally functions as an extended cadential passage.  developmental techniques can occur anywhere in the form, but they are most commonly associated with the mid-section or development area.  the development will conclude with a retransition area (RT) that will lead back to the tonic for the beginning of the recapitulation.  unlike the exposition, in the recapitulation both the primary theme (P) and the secondary theme (S) are found in the tonic key.'

Thanks for the notes Susan. These are terms commonly used in the analysis of sonata form. Unfortunately, even if we label all of these wonderful things, it doesn't allow us to see what is special and unique about a specific piece. A Haydn sonata in sonata form is worlds apart from a middle-period Beethoven sonata, for example.
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Offline pianistimo

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Re: Beethoven Op. 2 No. 1
«Reply #56 on: August 20, 2007, 10:34:32 PM »
i just mentioned it because it beats handwriting out theme I and theme II.  you can use this 'shorthand.'  here's the six cpe bach prussian sonatas all together.  i'm looking for the one in f minor to compare:

http://imslp.ca/images/imslp.ca/5/52/CPEBachPrussianSonatas.pdf

and, perhaps a haydn sonata, as you suggest.  we can see the things that are borrowed.  cpe bach began the tradition of highlighting melody and harmony - and allowing feelings to be explored.  the 'sighs and cries' also figured their way into haydn's sonatas - although - as you say -they maintained some of the cpe bach tradition of not being in what we would consider 'traditional' (which seems strange because that's the tradition) sonata form.

from hanning's 'concise history of western music' on page 313 it says 'in the baroque era, sonata generally meant a multi-movement work for a small group of instruments, most often in trio texture.  in the classic period, the word had different meanings for different composers, two of whom we will study here - domenico scarlatti and cpe bach; it also connotated a compositional procedure or form, first articulated by the german theorist heinrich christoph koch (1749-1816).'

skipping to the part about cpe bach... 'german composers, though not the originators of the sentimental style (empfindsamer stil) began introducing it into their instrumental music toward the middle of the century...in 1742, cpe bach published a set of six sonatas (the prussia sonatas) and in 1744, another set of six (the wurttemberg sonatas).  these sonatas were new in style and exerted a strong influence on later composers.  his favorite keyboard instrument was not the harpsichord but the softer, more intimate, clavichord, which had a capacity for delicate dynamic shadings.  the last five sets of cpe bachs sonatas (1780-87) were evidently written with the pianoforte chiefly in mind.'

'the main technical characteristics of the empfindsam style, of which cpe bach was a leading exponent, are apparent in the second movement, poco adagio, of the fourth sonata from his sonaten fur kenner and libhaber (sonatas for connoisseurs and amateurs; composed in 1765) it begins with a kind of melodic sigh, and singing motive ending in an appoggiatura that resolves on a weak beat, followed by a rest...while ornaments are abundant, they serve expressive rather than merely decorative ends.  *much like the ending before the fermata in the sonata of beethovens -ending on a weak beat with a kind of sigh.

'the empfindsam style of cpe bach and his contemporaries often exploited the element of surprise, with abrupt shifts of harmony, strange modulations, unusual turns of melody, suspenseful pauses, changes of texture, sudden sforzando accents, and the like.  the subjective, emotional qualities of this empfindsamkeit reached a climax during the 1760's and 1770's.   

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Beethoven Op. 2 No. 1
«Reply #57 on: August 21, 2007, 12:32:31 PM »
the opus 2 #1 was written in 1796 - but still maintains some of this sturm und drang quality.  especially in the fourth movement rondo.  but, i see some in the first movement (sonata allegro).  as mentioned - the mere speed.  this is dramatic.  and, as mentioned - the wide intervals in the primary theme.  the sudden accents in both themes.  also, the canonic interlude in the development is interesting.  as though a sudden thought or change of texture.

perhaps the canonic idea comes from a similar idea in the exposition?  at measures 11-19 we have whole notes and motivic figuration there that form a mini-canon - sort of - don't we?  and at measures 73-80? although now here - we have a one note canon - instead of the three sixteeth notes and two quarter (that follow the whole steps) as at the beginning.

one question i have (as to how usual this was in previous times) is the use of repeated notes or gestures in the lh - when the secondary theme comes in.  you have this almost 'boring' octave Eb's.  i notice some of this in cpe bach - repeated notes - sometimes just one note.  was this a particular transition technique?  is this 'bachian?'  or classicism - requiring simplicity instead of complexity.  it's almost like beethoven is saying 'make sure and notice this second theme - i am giving you a big hint here.'

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Beethoven Op. 2 No. 1
«Reply #58 on: August 21, 2007, 09:43:39 PM »
the second theme - with closer inspection - melodically is a dominant flat ninth-chord in the key of Ab Major.  everything else seems in Ab major.  this is sneaky.  perhaps the Eb octaves are a signal to remember this is a V9 of I (or V9 of III in the key of f minor) and not a simple minor primary theme to major secondary theme.   a bit more complex.

Offline mlckitt

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Re: Beethoven Op. 2 No. 1
«Reply #59 on: August 23, 2007, 01:05:18 AM »
the fourth movement is a Rondo?

I thought it's an ABA form, or sonata form.

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Beethoven Op. 2 No. 1
«Reply #60 on: August 23, 2007, 01:10:38 AM »
ABACABA i think.  have to check.

ok.  i believe it is rondo even though it looks deceptively similar to a sonata form.  there are shorter and longer sections - so they are not 'even' in terms of number of measures to each section.  but, they are definately there.  for our purposes - we won't bother adding the repeat of the beginning (which is ABA) to the repeat sign.  if we did - it would be ABA ABA (kinda boring).  on this one - i'd skip the repeat.  that's just my take.

now, so we are on the same page - measure one encompasses both sides of the repeat sign - so the forte marking is on the second measure.  also - when the piece repeats first ending and second ending - i give both of those measures the same number (not sure if this is the correct way - but, it's my way). 

so the first A section:  measure 1
B section:  m34 (third and fourth beats)
A section:  measure 50 (third and fourth beats)
C section: after the double bar
A: measure 137 (third and fourth beats)
B:  measure 172
A: left hand - measure 188 to end

haydn used to use this double form idea (tricking you into thinking it was sonata form when it was a rondo), too.


Offline pianistimo

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Re: Beethoven Op. 2 No. 1
«Reply #61 on: August 23, 2007, 02:31:37 AM »
i think the tip-off is that after the double bar (measure 57) we don't see the 'primary' or 'secondary' theme developed for several pages - but rather a third theme.

Offline mlckitt

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Re: Beethoven Op. 2 No. 1
«Reply #62 on: August 23, 2007, 02:57:09 PM »
can we say that the reappearance of the section A in mm50 to double bar and that in mm 188 to the end are kind of coda of first section (mm 1 to double bar) and the last section (mm138 to the end)?

if they are really needed to be regarded as a section, can we say from measure 127 to measure 137 is also a section A? as it also contains the motive from the first few bars of the beginning.

Is this final movement not a popular topic for analysis text book? I still can't find out any books or program notes which have the analysis or discussion...

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Beethoven Op. 2 No. 1
«Reply #63 on: August 23, 2007, 05:16:07 PM »
a small transition to the beginning again would not be a coda - as typically at the end of sonata form.  the notes below - refer to it as a 'couplet.' 

the retransition begins in measure 108 as single notes that mimic the rhythm of the theme but not the full chords (being single notes).  i'm sure there are analysis, but i haven't found any on the internet.  just one that mentioned the rondo form.  i had to print out the music to find the sections.

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Beethoven Op. 2 No. 1
«Reply #64 on: August 23, 2007, 05:19:07 PM »
ps some piano programs will have a sort of 'fast analysis' of a piece - or mention it's form.  you might try that, too!

here's some notes i have on rondo form: 'the design depends on statement, contrast, restatement, second contrast, and restatement.  the usual types of rondo include:  ABACA (5-part rondo) and ABACABA (7-part rondo).  in each section contrast or restatement is a matter of theme as well as key.  rondos usually have light, tuneful melodies (rondo style) often with a clear phrase structure (normally rounded binary with repeats) in the A section, which is sometimes referred to as the 'couplet,' while the contrast sections are sometimes termed 'digressions.'  rondos were very popular in the 1770's and 1780's.  they are normally employed as closing movement structures or in vocal arias.  occasionally, after about 1775 rondos are adapted by including sonata gestures to produce the so-called sonata rondo form.'

sonata-rondo form:  'this design is an adaptation of the rondo principles by an imposition of sonata gestures.  it works best with a 7-part rondo (as in mozart's keyboard sonata in B-flat Major, K 333 - third movement).  the decisive factor is the second A section, which must appear in the tonic and the developmental nature of the C section 9which normally will have two different themes associated with it).'

Offline mcgillcomposer

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Re: Beethoven Op. 2 No. 1
«Reply #65 on: August 24, 2007, 04:31:37 AM »
How did this post get so off topic?  ???
Asked if he had ever conducted any Stockhausen,Sir Thomas Beecham replied, "No, but I once trod in some."

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Beethoven Op. 2 No. 1
«Reply #66 on: August 24, 2007, 12:21:37 PM »
sorry.  you were gone for awhile.  where were you?

Offline mcgillcomposer

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Re: Beethoven Op. 2 No. 1
«Reply #67 on: August 25, 2007, 02:36:38 AM »
sorry.  you were gone for awhile.  where were you?
I was @ a conference in Toronto.
Asked if he had ever conducted any Stockhausen,Sir Thomas Beecham replied, "No, but I once trod in some."

Offline landru

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Re: Beethoven Op. 2 No. 1
«Reply #68 on: April 09, 2008, 11:55:25 PM »
Wow this is a great explication of what makes this sonata movement tick. I'm learning this sonata with my teacher and reading this discussion weaves into a lot we've talked about.

For instance, I when I first started "getting" the piece, I mentioned to my teacher that what makes this so interesting is that momentum is carried through every measure so strongly. And this is one of the talking points I find in the discussion.

Another aspect that is interesting is that I mentioned to my teacher that I'm having a hard time memorizing certain figures (when he does upward tending right hand three note figures over a modulating 4 note Alberti bass) because the ending figure I get mixed up with those of the other parts of the movement. I'd go - wait a minute, is that an F flat or an F or what for the top note...

My teacher replied, "I never, ever think of the note name when learning/playing these sonatas". She says that she thinks in terms of harmony and patterns - exactly what some of this discussion is talking about as well. So for my problem spots, she says that she would think in terms of the appropriate diminished chord and the intervals - not the actual note names. So now I've gone back and harmonically analyzed the movement and learned that the i-V7 (Fm - A flat and A flat - E flat) pattern is so "dominant" (pun intended) and how the diminished chords fit in (well, that's still happening).

I greatly enjoyed the discussion here - thanks!