How did Beethoven play his own ? There seems to be no direct evidence, and, indeed, the work was never performed in public during Beethoven's lifetime - hardly surprising, as an early critic had found it "incomprehensibly abrupt and dark - much of it is enormously difficult without there being some exceptional beauty to compensate for it." What little we can glean from contemporaneous written descriptions is confusingly abstract and often contradictory. Thus, Beethoven's pupil Carl Czerny stated: "His bearing while performing was ideally restful, noble and beautiful, without the slightest grimace." Others tended to admire his legato effects and exquisitely even scalar runs. Yet, Czerny also stated: "His playing, like his compositions, was far ahead of his time - The pianofortes of the period could not endure his gigantic style of performance." Beethoven's first biographer, Anton Schindler, said: "His playing was free of all constraint with respect to the beat, for the spirit of his music required freedom." Ernst Pauer, editor of an early edition of Beethoven's piano works, added: "He was not particular in polishing and refining his performances." Ferdinand Ries, who was a piano student of Beethoven from 1801-4, seems to take a middle course, recalling that during this phase of Beethoven's career: "Generally he played his compositions very impetuously but for the most part stayed strictly in time, only infrequently pushing the tempo a little. Occasionally he would retard during a crescendo which created a very beautiful and most remarkable effect." Schindler clarifies that this seeming anomaly arose from stressing the rhythm strictly while treating the melody more expressively (a foretaste of the style later to be perfected by Chopin). The result: "His playing thus acquired a highly personal character, very different from the even, flat performances that never rise to tonal eloquence." Harold Schonberg suggests that as a composer Beethoven had little concern for keyboard mechanics; rather, he replaced taste with expression by playing with unprecedented power, personality and emotional appeal. Schonberg further notes that Beethoven's teachers were not professional pianists and so he was largely self-taught; as a result his piano works were not pianistic in the sense of fitting well on the keyboard, and to Beethoven the idea was always far more important than the practical consideration of its execution.
On hearing news of Napoleon's death in exile on St. Helena on May 5, 1822, Beethoven remarked, "I have already composed the proper music for that catastrophe." There is also the possibility that a passage in the may have been inspired by Napoleon's death. Its features drumbeats and distant trumpet fanfares, then the contralto breaks into an anguished cry. Marek suggests that this passage could have been "a reminder of Napoleon, who died while Beethoven was working on the "
Beethoven dedicated to the Prince Regent and sent a copy of it to the Prince. Not receiving any reply, he wrote on 24 February 1823 to that royal personage, now George IV of England, seeking remuneration for the dedication. Along with the letter, he sent an engraved copy of the score. Although Beethoven may have been in the words of Robert Haven Schauffler "The Man Who Freed Music," he was as dependent as Haydn and Mozart on royal favor. In the letter to the king, the composer wrote:
The Faustian price that Beethoven paid for the riches he had made included a lawsuit. To set the background, the work was originally conceived to be played on Johann Nepomuk Maelzel's "Panharmonicon," a giant music box. Maelzel, who was also inventor of the metronome, had an integral part in writing the piece. He suggested the work to the composer to cash in on the popular excitement in Vienna following the British victory. He even came up with the idea of the snatches of British patriotic tunes as well as the drum marches and trumpet flourishes. Before Beethoven finished the composition for the Panharmonicon, he arranged it for orchestra, following the inventor's suggestion. In this format, it received two performances in December 1813 along with the composer's Seventh and Eighth Symphonies. On those occasions, the box office receipts went to charity. The identical program was played 2 January and 27 February 1814, with the proceeds this time going solely to Beethoven. Maelzel protested, saying he had been defrauded of his rightful profits. The lawsuit was settled three years later.
(November 1, 1959 at Prague, Music and Arts CD; June 9, 1960 at Moscow, Melodiya CD; October 19, 1960 at Carnegie Hall, Columbia LP; November 29-30, 1960 at a New York studio, Philips CD) - Richter (1915 - 1997) gave the West its first taste of Beethoven played with unabashed Russian passion when he made his American debut in a series of five recitals at Carnegie Hall in October 1960. The first program consisted of five Beethoven sonatas, concluding with the (which, he insisted, could never be followed by any other work). Hyped to the hilt based on reports of his prowess in Russia and Eastern Europe, Richter was nervous and overmedicated and the result is somewhat tentative and a relative letdown (including a disastrous conclusion) - but only when compared to his other three authorized releases, all of which fell within a single year of his long career and feature seething tension, colossal dynamics, massive power and explosive climaxes.
Beethoven's quartets, symphonies and piano sonatas all embrace the full scope of his amazing aesthetic journey from conventional classicism to previously uncharted realms of imagination that still challenge and inspire composers, performers and listeners alike. Yet, his piano sonatas are the most intimate of these, as Beethoven wrote them for his own instrument, and thus they preserve an aural image of the ideal he sought as a performer. Until deafness forced a change in his career, Beethoven was known as one of the finest pianists of his time - and the best improviser of all, a key skill to flex the prowess of a composer's imagination. As solo works, the sonatas require no colleagues to dilute the personal communication between artist and audience. Thus, when we hear a Beethoven piano sonata, we come closer to the man and the artist than with any other genre of his music.
Alex is a murderer and rapist who likes…Beethoven. And he doesn't just like Beethoven; he reveres him. Alex is on a first-name basis with the composer, calling him "Ludwig van." And although Alex has no regard for women, when Dim makes fun of a woman humming Beethoven, Alex slaps him. Anyone who likes Beethoven is a friend of Alex.
In recording his memories of Ludwig van Beethoven, Ferdinand Ries set in stone one of the enduring myths of nineteenth century cultural history: That in 1804 the composer angrily revoked his planned dedication to Napoleon Bonaparte of his Third (Eroica) Symphony when he learned that Napoleon had declared himself Emperor. Ries recalled:
The motif of Beethoven is then compounded when Alex is made to despise the sound of Beethoven's music via the Ludovico technique. The fact that Alex starts screaming in pain when presented with images of people being battered and raped is one thing, but the fact that he's brainwashed to loathe the sound of some of the most beautiful music ever written is something very different—and this underscores the inhumanity of the Ludovico technique. If you erase the horrible parts of a person's character, A Clockwork Orange seems to say, you'll also risk erasing the good parts of a person's character. And that's bad news bears.
The film doesn't ultimately state its opinion on whether or not Alex's love of Beethoven is really something that should make us feel warm 'n' fuzzy toward him. But it does clearly state that art has the power of allowing people to see the humanity in others…whether or not that humanity is actually there. The characters in A Clockwork Orange rally around Alex because of his aural love affair with Ludwig van, and we as viewers of A Clockwork Orange rally around Alex because he is himself an artistic creation—we kind of have to; he's our protagonist.
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The final variation is a return to the humble opening,adding only a hint of impatience by omitting the repeats of each phrase, complete with soothing harmonization, and leading to a full final d-flat major cadence. But instead of the final note toward which the entire movement has been inexorably pointing, instead we get a soft, rolled diminished seventh chord, loudly repeated, that thoroughly destroys the tonality, followed by an insistent fanfare on a repeated sour chord, which then plunges into the finale, an aggressive, that renews the snarling energy of the opening, but now propelled with unrelenting drive and spiked with eruptions of sharp, nervous counter-notes. It is worth recalling how Beethoven conceived this theme. According to his friend Ferdinand Ries, Beethoven conceived the finale while they took a long walk together, during which he hummed and howled inchoate runs of notes, and then upon returning home he rushed to the keyboard and improvised for a solid hour to shape the theme. While this method would prove frustrating to later scholars trying to trace Beethoven's creative process, Barry Cooper observed that it was more efficient than trying to work out variants on paper, as Beethoven often did in his musical sketchbooks.