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Lesson 10: Beethoven, the Romantic ClassicistIntroduction:In the history of Western music, the figure of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) casts a long shadow. Beethoven’s influence on successive generations of composers has been as far-reaching as anyone’s, continuing in many respects to this day. (Listen, for example, to the underscore in the 2007 film Atonement from Italian composer Dario Marianelli.)Beethoven was the third of the three great Viennese Classical composers. And some of his early music is highly reminiscent of both Haydn and Mozart. Yet, in Beethoven’s music—from the late 1790s onward—we hear the forceful stamp of the composer’s personality shaping the music, as well as our response to it.By sheer dint of will, in his music Beethoven impresses upon the listener the composer’s passions—his struggles, hopes, despairs, triumphs, tragedies—and all manner of human emotions. At the same time he infuses his profoundly dramatic music with a sense of nobility, affirming an inherent goodness within the human spirit.With Beethoven, music became “personal” in the most Romantic sense of the word. And the discovery for listeners was that we could journey with him.In this lesson we will be treated to a captivating performance of Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata from Steven Smith, Professor of Piano. The first movement may already be familiar to you. It’s one of Beethoven’s most famous pieces—and for good reason. This movement is not only solemn and lovely; it sounds like one of the most inevitable pieces ever written. And it also affords us an opportunity to examine yet another chromatic predominant harmony: the Neapolitan Six chord.
The triplet arpeggio figure that permeates the first movement offers a high degree of harmonic clarity, which will allow us to examine the movement in considerable detail. We will examine the second and third movements of the sonata, as well.Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata will be the sole focus of this lesson.Lesson Objectives:Upon completion of Lesson 10, students will be able to:recognize the contributions that Ludwig van Beethoven made toward music during the Classical Era.recognize the piano sonata as a popular genre during the ClassicalEraidentify the three movements of the "Moonlight Sonata"recognize selected compositional techniques used in the "Moonlight Sonata"Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven 1Born and raised in Bonn, Germany, Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) first studied music with his father, who, like his father before him, was a musician in the court of the Electorate of Cologne. By most