Page 7 - The Score
P. 7

   Franz Josef Haydn: Surprise Symphony
(an early influence on Beethoven’s music)
Beethoven was only 20 years old when he
met the already well-regarded composer Franz Josef Haydn. Haydn was very impressed with
Beethoven’s compositions and, shortly thereafter, invited him to Bonn, Germany, to be his student. Beethoven
was not an easy student. Beethoven’s inability to deal respectfully with authority was never more apparent than in his lessons with Haydn. Because of the abuse he suffered as a child, Beethhoven had great difficulty dealing with
an “authority figure.” At the same time, Haydn was busy with his own compositions and was not the most attentive teacher. But they shared a talent and a passion for music, and Beethoven absorbed some of Papa Haydn’s musical influence. On this concert you will hear an excerpt from Haydn’s Surprise Symphony. (Hold onto your seats – you will be surprised by what you hear!)
Beethoven: Symphony No. 2, Finale
Although Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 sounds cheerful and energetic, it was written during a particularly difficult time in Beethoven’s life. He had come to realize that his hearing was not ever going to get better, and that he would be deaf for the rest of his life – the most cruel fate for a composer. His doctor had suggested he go to the countryside for some rest and relaxation, and here, in the pastoral countryside of Heilegenstadt, filled with despair, he wrote his Symphony No 2, including the rollicking finale which you will hear on this concert.
Beethoven: Symphony No. 5, Movement 1
The Fifth Symphony of Beethoven is likely his most famous composition, and contains one of the most familiar phrases in all of classical music. The entire first movement is based on a four-note pattern (short-short-short-LONG) that Beethoven uses in many inventive ways. Listen to how the opening phrase develops masterfully into longer musical “sentences,”
the sum of which make up a unified, eloquent essay of a symphony.
Beethoven: Leonore Overture, No. 3
Beethoven had difficulty writing just the right overture (opening, or introduction) for his opera, Fidelio. In fact,
he wrote four different ones. This was Beethoven’s third try, and is named after the heroine of the opera, Leonore. Fidelio is one of several “rescue operas” that were popular in Beethoven’s time and tells how Leonore outsmarts the
evil governor, Pizarro, to save her husband from prison and death. Leonore Overture No. 3, while not
used as the official overture for Fidelio, is heard most often.
Beethoven: Symphony No. 8, Movement 2
Traditional symphonies typically have four movements, and often the second movement is a slow movement – but not here! Beethoven defied the ‘rules’ at every turn, constantly challenging the ‘traditional’ way of composing, and so
his Eighth Symphony has no slow movement. Instead Beethoven has composed a short movement thought to be written in honor of his friend Johann Maelzel, who invented the metronome. You will hear very steady, short, staccato chords in the woodwinds throughout, which sound like the mechanical beat of a metronome. And Beethoven plays with dynamic extremes here too, having the instruments play very loudly then very softly at unexpected points in the music!
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9, Finale
The fourth movement of Beethoven’s last symphony was unusual because Beethoven chose to add solo singers and a large choir. It is sometimes referred to as “the Choral Symphony.” The words are taken from Schiller’s poem Ode
to Joy and speak of joy in the universal brotherhood of man. The musical
“joy theme,” which recurs in both the instruments and the voices, is woven with other themes to create one of the most glorious musical works ever written.
Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 1, Finale
It's no secret that Romantic composer Johannes Brahms was deeply influenced by Ludwig van Beethoven (A marble bust of the Beethoven was given a place of honor in Brahms' studio.) Although Beethoven died in 1827, five years before Brahms was born, Brahms was considered the Beethoven’s musical heir. On this concert you will hear part of the finale of Brahms’s Symphony No. 1 whose main theme sounds similar to the main theme of the finale of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Listen to them both and see what you think! In 1876, when Brahms’ work was premiered in Vienna, it was immediately hailed as “Beethoven’s Tenth” (Beethoven only wrote nine symphonies) because of the similar sound.

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