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Lecture note: Beethoven 3

Outline for class 11/14

Overview of late period

piano sonatas Opp. 101, 106, 109, 110, 111 (1816-1821)
Missa solemnis (1822)
Ninth Symphony (1824)
quartets (1824-1826)

transference of the heroic to the spiritual realm

“et homo factus es” (and was made man) from Credo of Missa solemnis

Quartet project began as a commission for three new quartets from Prince Galitzin,
played by Shuppanzigh Quartet
- Beethoven’s concerns in late period concentrated in quartets:
contrast and coherence in large scale forms – search for alternative to normal sonata form
formal counterpoint and fugue
“Volksweisse” – special care for folk song and dance
envoicement of instruments, the value of pure song, instrumental recitative
transcendence, reconciliation? Dissociation, disruption?

Op. 127 Eb
Op. 132 a
Op.130 Bb; with Grosse Fuge as original finale
Op. 131 c#
Op.133 Grosse Fuge published as separate work
Op. 135 F
composition of new finale for Op. 130

-Opp.127 and 132 have large-scale slow movements as “center of gravity”, extended
contrapuntal dance movements, simple finales, an overall lyrical expressive tone
-Heiliger Dankgesang in Op. 132: hymn tune in lydian mode
-Opps. 130 and 131 contain ambitious fugues, slighter folk-like dance movements,
multiple slow movements, extended heavyweight finales
-Op. 135 has famous instrumental recitative: “Muss es sein?” and “Es muss sein!”
- claim of unity through all five quartets, particularly underlying motivic unity of middle
three through motive g#-a-f e

I.Adagio ma non troppo – allegro (Bb)
II. Presto (b flat minor)
III. Andante con moto, ma non troppo (poco scherzando) (Db)
IV. Alla danza tedesca – allegro assai G
V. Cavatina – adagio molto espressivo Eb
VI. Grosse Fuge (Bb) – original Galitzin version
VI. Finale Allegro (Bb) – 1826 version

Features of Adagio ma non troppo – allegro (Bb)

-sonata form, but continual play of normal vs. abnormal
- integration of slow introduction into motivic material and into formal structure
- normal motive in first group, but perverse dynamic markings
- jolting key changes (bridge)
- dissociated sections linked by motivic material (flowing sixteenths, germ of

Features of Cavatina
- ternary song form
- envoicement of instruments, reference to opera(cavatina means short aria without da
capo; example is “Porgi amor”), lyrical style
- central, brief “beklemmt” section (means anguished, oppressed) – breaks, sobs in

Op.133 Grosse Fuge

Beethoven wrote on top of score “Tantôt libre, tantôt recherchée”
Through-composed work consisting of four fugal sections linked thematically by a
“cantus firmus”
Overtura – Bb fugue – Gb fugue – Bb gigue/lightweight fugue – Ab fugue - conclusion

Divergent viewpoints on the relation of Op.130 and Grosse Fuge:

- GF overwhelms the preceding quartet, deliberately fails to achieve balance, confirms
the disparity and dissociation of the earlier music
- GF reconsiders, rarifies, spiritualizes, reconciles the disparate musics of the preceding
quartet through counterpoint and thematic transformation
- entire quartet links the sacred and the profane ( march and hymn elements)