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Topic: Are you a Beethovenist?  (Read 2707 times)

Offline expressman70

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Are you a Beethovenist?
on: November 21, 2016, 02:04:29 AM
Hi,

Do you believe that Beethoven and Bach alone are the true indicators of real, pure musicianship?

What do Beethoven sonatas give to a forming pianist? With what mindset should I approach Beethoven?

And also would it be healthy for me to take up Appassionata as my friend is taking it? My motives for this are that I am not particularly into Beethoven but this feeling of competitiveness would aid me in the process of learning whereas without it I probably will not be as dedicated to it. Other choice is Waldstein.

Please reply if you have say. Have a blessed day regardless :)
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Offline outin

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Re: Are you a Beethovenist?
Reply #1 on: November 21, 2016, 05:03:51 AM
Do you believe that Beethoven and Bach alone are the true indicators of real, pure musicianship?
No.

Offline ted

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Re: Are you a Beethovenist?
Reply #2 on: November 21, 2016, 05:50:39 AM
Do you believe that Beethoven and Bach alone are the true indicators of real, pure musicianship?

Certainly not.
"Mistakes are the portals of discovery." - James Joyce

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Are you a Beethovenist?
Reply #3 on: November 21, 2016, 06:30:36 AM
Bach and Beethoven, for me do stand above all over composers. When I play them it is the end of all things pianistic and more feeling of dwelling within the end of the Old and beginnings of the New testament of western music. Beethoven music for example powerfully reveals the "humanity" of music, just see his symphonies for example https://www.gramophone.co.uk/feature/how-beethoven%E2%80%99s-symphonies-changed-the-world

If I meet someone who plays all sorts of classical composers I will ask them to play for me Beethoven or Bach and yes this reveals to me a lot about who they are as musicians. These two composers had such a powerful influence on composers after them that they for me are like origins where everything else came, this in a sense defines some kind of musical "purity".

Competitiveness is a short term inspiration, you need much more noble sources of inspiration if you want to play with honest musicianship.

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Offline huaidongxi

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Re: Are you a Beethovenist?
Reply #4 on: November 21, 2016, 07:16:44 AM
expressman, if you are 'not particularly into Beethoven' it seems like the main benefit to your muddling through one of his challenging (for you apparently, any beethoven sonata would be tough for me to re-create) sonatas is your ego gratification.  so this sounds like more a personal question, and whether other pianists feel 'real, pure musicianship' can be reduced to any two composers 'alone' (your choice of words) is a subjective matter for each of us to answer.  my own answer, human creativity and art is diminished if you put two individuals onto an exclusive, elite pedestal.

Offline dogperson

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Re: Are you a Beethovenist?
Reply #5 on: November 21, 2016, 08:35:24 AM
IMHO, for you to take up Beethoven as a sense of competition, would be unhealthy for both you and the music you intend to play.  Beethoven deserves better. 

Find music you are passionate about learning... and learn that.  Don't have music you are passionate about?  Time to go explore.  There is a world of wonderful music out there.

Offline ted

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Re: Are you a Beethovenist?
Reply #6 on: November 21, 2016, 09:56:14 AM
Perhaps I had better qualify my previous comment in that I adored the music of those two in my early teens, listened to it incessantly and bought scores and analyses of it. In other words, my answer at thirteen would have been the direct opposite of my present view at sixty-nine. Almost all aging musicians seem to consolidate and intensify preference around particular creators of the classical or jazz magisteria. I appear to have gone funny and flown off the handle with age.
"Mistakes are the portals of discovery." - James Joyce

Offline cuberdrift

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Re: Are you a Beethovenist?
Reply #7 on: November 21, 2016, 11:39:17 AM
Of what I know many consider Bach to be the greatest Western musician to have ever lived, above even Tatum.

Of course we know the "Big Three" of classical.

Mozart is, of course, the most underrated due to sounding like "kids' tunes" (I'm not saying his music is, I'm just thinking that's probably why people don't usually see him as "great" as the German or the other German).

Offline bronnestam

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Re: Are you a Beethovenist?
Reply #8 on: November 21, 2016, 03:29:01 PM
I love Beethoven, he is my definite favourite.

Should this mean I think he is in a division of his own, raised above every other composer, blah blah blah ...?   ::)   ::)   ::)

No, that is rubbish. There are many, many other composers I really love as well. 

Offline expressman70

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Re: Are you a Beethovenist?
Reply #9 on: November 22, 2016, 01:45:59 AM
expressman, if you are 'not particularly into Beethoven' it seems like the main benefit to your muddling through one of his challenging (for you apparently, any beethoven sonata would be tough for me to re-create) sonatas is your ego gratification.  so this sounds like more a personal question, and whether other pianists feel 'real, pure musicianship' can be reduced to any two composers 'alone' (your choice of words) is a subjective matter for each of us to answer.  my own answer, human creativity and art is diminished if you put two individuals onto an exclusive, elite pedestal.

I will have to play his sonatas either way, but I feel like this will at least give me some hype and motivation to learn something that I can fall in love along the way.

Offline huaidongxi

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Re: Are you a Beethovenist?
Reply #10 on: November 22, 2016, 02:39:19 AM
considering LvB's sonatas only, there is a very big range of content, expression, application of harmonic and thematic development over the thirty two, and in many of those, between the movements in a single sonata.  those two 'name' sonatas might or might not be the right ones for you to gain sincere appreciation, but they do make things easier in providing grist for casual conversation or blogging. you might learn more from music you have not heard as frequently. my technique is rudimentary and suited to take on just bagatelles for now, but they're by no means shabby as representative of his art.

Offline beethovenfan01

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Re: Are you a Beethovenist?
Reply #11 on: November 22, 2016, 06:35:31 AM
No. I do not think Bach and Beethoven are alone in expressing true musicianship.

That said, I do think Beethoven is one of the greatest (if not THE greatest) musicians of all time. Period.

As for his sonatas, I very much love all them--the Appassionata and Waldstein are my favorite songs of all time.

But it takes more than a little competition to learn these pieces. It takes many, many years of previous experience--take it from someone who tried to learn the third movement of Moonlight before he was ready and completely wrecked it. It also takes months of hard, hard, HARD, HARD (do you get the point!?) work. I am not yet a mature enough pianist to undertake either of these pieces and do them justice. My respect for this particular music is very, very high, and I hate to see these pieces butchered.

A good indicator if you're ready?

Prove you can play at least a couple other Beethoven sonatas (not Op. 49, either) well. I mean like the Op. 31 sonatas. One of the late ones (Op. 109, 110, 111, for instance). And not only Beethoven. To give you an idea of the scope of these pieces, try the Chopin sonatas/ballades, the Liszt Hungarian Rhapsodies and Paganini Etudes, the Bach Partitas.

If you can conquer these, than you are ready for the Appassionata.
Practicing:
Bach Chromatic Fantasie and Fugue
Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 No. 1
Shostakovich Preludes Op. 34
Scriabin Etude Op. 2 No. 1
Liszt Fantasie and Fugue on BACH

Offline expressman70

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Re: Are you a Beethovenist?
Reply #12 on: November 24, 2016, 03:57:00 AM
No. I do not think Bach and Beethoven are alone in expressing true musicianship.

That said, I do think Beethoven is one of the greatest (if not THE greatest) musicians of all time. Period.

As for his sonatas, I very much love all them--the Appassionata and Waldstein are my favorite songs of all time.

But it takes more than a little competition to learn these pieces. It takes many, many years of previous experience--take it from someone who tried to learn the third movement of Moonlight before he was ready and completely wrecked it. It also takes months of hard, hard, HARD, HARD (do you get the point!?) work. I am not yet a mature enough pianist to undertake either of these pieces and do them justice. My respect for this particular music is very, very high, and I hate to see these pieces butchered.

A good indicator if you're ready?

Prove you can play at least a couple other Beethoven sonatas (not Op. 49, either) well. I mean like the Op. 31 sonatas. One of the late ones (Op. 109, 110, 111, for instance). And not only Beethoven. To give you an idea of the scope of these pieces, try the Chopin sonatas/ballades, the Liszt Hungarian Rhapsodies and Paganini Etudes, the Bach Partitas.

If you can conquer these, than you are ready for the Appassionata.

Lol that is the worst requirement list ever. I was not asking if I am technically or musically capable, because I am pretty confident I am. I have only played some of what you mentioned but can say to anyone else who is reading here and clueless that these peices are not necessary to play other repertoire. Technique needs to be there, yes, musicality yes, but not a list of prerequisite pieces specifically.

Offline sumpianodude

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Re: Are you a Beethovenist?
Reply #13 on: November 27, 2016, 05:36:31 PM
IMHO, beethoven was the greatest composer.

but not lightyears ahead of the other composers, and certainly not deserving(along with bach) to be the only indicators of true musicmanship.
instead of going for and possibly(in no way am i implying that you are not ready for it) butchering two of beethoven's greatest sonatas, simply pick a piece that you KNOW you can play(and if this is appasionata/waldstein, great!) and play them with complete control of all the aspects of the piece. perfect them, if you will.

i made the same mistake as you on both of the sonatas, and it's not easy to get every single nuance(which is absolutely necessary) in either of them.

Lol that is the worst requirement list ever. I was not asking if I am technically or musically capable, because I am pretty confident I am. I have only played some of what you mentioned but can say to anyone else who is reading here and clueless that these peices are not necessary to play other repertoire. Technique needs to be there, yes, musicality yes, but not a list of prerequisite pieces specifically.
i'm pretty sure the point of the specified pieces was to put your technique and musicality to the test in the first place, not to specifically prepare you for these two pieces.

GL! ;)
excuse pleeze de gremmar and spelling and CapItALizaShuns

Offline beethovenfan01

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Re: Are you a Beethovenist?
Reply #14 on: November 27, 2016, 11:21:54 PM
To both of you, I say ...

Everyone knew Beethoven was the greatest (by that, I mean that society of composers that lived in Paris during the Romantic period, circa 1835). His thirty-two sonatas were just beginning to be revered as the greatest piano music ever written, thanks in part to Liszt's virtuosity.

And every composer was intimidated to death by what he accomplished. Brahms went so far as to burn half of his work, deeming it not worthy to the standard Robert Schumann had set for him. Chopin was perhaps the only one who didn't idolize Beethoven--partly because Liszt's flamboyancy drove him nuts, partly because he thought Beethoven's music was too showy--but even he felt, at times, unworthy to follow in that musical giant's footsteps.

Just a bit of trivia, that's all ...
Practicing:
Bach Chromatic Fantasie and Fugue
Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 No. 1
Shostakovich Preludes Op. 34
Scriabin Etude Op. 2 No. 1
Liszt Fantasie and Fugue on BACH

Offline frege

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Re: Are you a Beethovenist?
Reply #15 on: December 13, 2016, 11:03:53 PM
I don't doubt that Beethoven was a genius and is one of the most revered composers. That said, I've found it difficult to get into his music. I just don't feel his music "speaks" to me in the same way that say, Bach, Mozart, Chopin and Ravel do. Music is obviously quite personal. I've tried listening to Beethoven's sonatas many times, but I always feel that the music doesn't speak to me very much (apart from some exceptions - I really do like the Pathetique sonata).

I wouldn't really bother playing a Beethoven sonata just for the sake of it. It would be a lot of work to do and I think you'd lose motivation if you're purely doing it for competitive reasons and not because you love the music. Life is short, I say pick the pieces you love most

Offline expressman70

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Re: Are you a Beethovenist?
Reply #16 on: December 15, 2016, 08:21:01 PM
I don't doubt that Beethoven was a genius and is one of the most revered composers. That said, I've found it difficult to get into his music. I just don't feel his music "speaks" to me in the same way that say, Bach, Mozart, Chopin and Ravel do. Music is obviously quite personal. I've tried listening to Beethoven's sonatas many times, but I always feel that the music doesn't speak to me very much (apart from some exceptions - I really do like the Pathetique sonata).

I wouldn't really bother playing a Beethoven sonata just for the sake of it. It would be a lot of work to do and I think you'd lose motivation if you're purely doing it for competitive reasons and not because you love the music. Life is short, I say pick the pieces you love most

Thanks for the input!

I agree with you.

Furthermore, Beethoven doesn't teach us to play people like Ravel, Scriabin.
I was denied Waldstein by my teacher but she okayed the Appasionata. To be honest I find rejection of playing it a motivation now. I want to play Waldstein. But I have plenty of other rep, so I'm good.

Offline bronnestam

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Re: Are you a Beethovenist?
Reply #17 on: December 16, 2016, 12:07:51 PM


A good indicator if you're ready?

Prove you can play at least a couple other Beethoven sonatas (not Op. 49, either) well. I mean like the Op. 31 sonatas. One of the late ones (Op. 109, 110, 111, for instance). And not only Beethoven. To give you an idea of the scope of these pieces, try the Chopin sonatas/ballades, the Liszt Hungarian Rhapsodies and Paganini Etudes, the Bach Partitas.

If you can conquer these, than you are ready for the Appassionata.

Baah, I work with the Appassionata without having done all that. Ok, I have left mv 1 on the to-do-list, and it will probably remain there for a long time, but the other two movements are not that hard. Well, not that they are easy, no way, but I feel I can get a grip of them with just "some more work" ... and things is, that I love to work with them so it is not work at all to me, it is just sheer pleasure and that is also why I do it: for pleasure.

Not for presenting this brilliant pearl for an audience later on. That will probably never happen. There are millions and millions other pianists out there who do it sooo much better than me. But to me, the Appassionata is the best piano work ever written. It is like tapping Beethoven's soul, his innermost feelings. That is what he is exposing in this music, IMO. When I listen to it, I can feel the joy, passion, sorrow and rage in such an extent that it often bring up tears in my eyes. He is telling a story in this sonata - not a story with a plot, but a story about emotions.

There is not other composer who has managed to expose his/her emotions in that way, who has the ability to express a thought and an emotion in practically every note and harmony. It does not matter how often I play or listen at Beethoven; I always seem to discover something more in the music, yet another layer. That is truly fantastic and that is why I adore Beethoven so much.

Yes, there are so many terrific composers that I also love, but there is something between me and Beethoven :)  I would probably have disliked the man if I'd met him in person, but this is not about a person, at least not a physical and mortal one. Maybe it is about a soul. I find it most interesting and thoughtful that this dark and repellant individual - as he seemed to be - could reveal such a beautiful and glorious spirit in his music. Like the ugly duckling, you know.

So I keep on playing these magical chords and leaps in the Appassionata and if you believe I'm "wrecking" it then go ahead - I am just ENJOYING myself.

Oh, and by the way: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Ludwig!

Offline mrcreosote

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Re: Are you a Beethovenist?
Reply #18 on: December 17, 2016, 03:29:54 AM
AGE has a lot to do with it.  When I was a child, I thrived on Beethoven.  But then I gravitated to Chopin, then Rach, now Prok and beyond.

SONATAS:  There are so many.  For me, each had parts that I played just to "get to" the "good parts" that I loved.  My current take on this:  I play excerpts that I still find exciting.  Glen Gould did this for his "32 Short Films... quite effectively.

_________________

SOME TRIVIA:

BEETHOVEN's 5th:  Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra - if that doesn't get your blood up, then you'll never get Beethoven.  His 8th is so over looked too - again Toscanini's.  (trivia, T's daughter Wanda married Horowitz.)

I recently became aware of what is now perhaps my favorite musical quotation of all - by Beethoven: “To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable.”

His other quotations range from arrogant (totally warranted) to metaphysical.  Oh the comment that his virtuosity was "demonic."

Great excerpt about his piano competitions, "When Beethoven first moved to Vienna he began to take part in competitions with other pianists. They used to say of him: "He is not a man but a demon. He plays in such a way that he will drive us all to the grave."

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