The uniqueness of Ludwig van Beethoven’s work comes from the experiences and sufferings he had to go through. Being abused at an early age to sit on the keyboard and play non-stop, was possibly one of the reasons for him going deaf during his youth. But nonetheless, his love to make music got him through the hardest times in his life. Beethoven’s music is divided into three parts, first period (ending around 1802), middle period (approximately till 1812), and late period (till his death). The First period would be the least complexed period as it contains the combination of Mozart’s and Haydn’s works. The late period was the most complex period of them all, the complexity of the work and the uniqueness of it while being deaf, made him one of the best composers of all time. The middle period was a mixture of the first and late period. The two cello sonatas we are going to be focusing on are No. 2 in G Minor Opus (also known as Op.) 5, and No. 3 in A Major Op.69. Opus 5 is a work that would fit in the first period as it was played in 1796. Whereas Opus 69 was composed in 1808, making it a work from the middle period.
Three generations of the family were musicians, and all of them found themselves to be working for a court in Bonn. Maynard Solomon stated that He conducted his son’s musical education in a brutal and willful manner. Beethoven’s parents were the opposite of each other, on one end he had an uncooperative and abusive father who had a very brutal temperament, compared to his mother who was known for her good will, and kind attitude. Douglas and Johnson claim that Beethoven was only 11 when he was working as an assistant for the court organist name Christian Gottlob Neefe and was also taking up his spot and working for him when Neefe had to travel somewhere. Neefe is also referred to as Beethoven’s first teacher, he also petitioned for Beethoven to travel, Neefe, as quoted above, had declared that the young genius should be given the chance to travel, and in the spring of 1787, Beethoven visited Vienna, and by 1787 Beethoven set his foot in Vienna. Adding on from the article, he is also believed to have met Mozart. Unfortunately, this trip lasted a very short amount of time because of his mother’s death back home, which had a huge toll on Beethoven because of her character. The tragedy happened a few years before his first period, as this shaped him for the musician he would be in his first period.
Mozart had an impact on Beethoven’s life because Beethoven was following in Mozart’s footsteps. Beethoven did a concert tour in 1796, just like Mozart had done in 1789. Opus 5 Cello Sonatas, an important work that became a part of that tour. For Musicians, they were on a constant hunt for money because pay for musicians was not as great around that time as it is today, so dedicating work to famous people was another way of getting a reward for the kind gesture. Beethoven dedicated the Opus 5 Sonatas looking for a way to make some extra money, to the king of Prussia Friedrich Wilhelm II, and as stated by a critic in the article from all music, Beethoven did get twenty gold pieces. The work consists of only two movements, it has a grave introduction, and as the work moves on, it moves towards consonant harmonies. The work is in the form of Sonata Allegro form. Moments of great melody interfere with strongly the feeling of dark with largo, and in the development part, the piano is used in a crafty way after the section opens with the strong depth of emotions. The first movement ends with the coda, and before the movement ends making way for the final rondo movement, he makes the final mark by letting his instruments contemplate what they have just played. The final movement Rondo starts out with piano along with cello, which together manages to brighten up the mood. The melody provided at the beginning of the final movement can easily be the most memorable part about the movement. The final movement is filled with happy music and rhythmic patterns that presents a whole different mood from the first movement.
By 1802, Beethoven can be seen struggling to fight many battles in his life as he conveys his thoughts out to his brothers in a letter, which is also known as Heiligenstadt Testament. The testament is where we can see his difficulty, struggling to hear things, but mostly the reason he stayed alive for a good amount of time and not die in his middle thirties. As stated, The idea that Beethoven found in art a reason to live suggests both his valuing of art and a certain self-awareness of what he had to offer music (Alan et al. 147). Beethoven knew his purpose in life and the reason why he was born, it was just a matter of time that music will put him down in its history as one of the best to ever do so. Despite not having to hear the pieces he was writing, all the music he wrote after being deaf came straight from his heart. A few years in his second period, Beethoven composed the Op 69 Cello Sonata in the spring of 1808, this was another Cello Sonata but had a gap of about 10 years between this one and Opus 5. It is to be said by Keith Anderson, that this was dedicated to one of his very beloved friend name Baron Ignaz von Gleichensten who also helped him in his business matters. This Cello Sonata is also in Sonata-Allegro form (following the exposition, development, and recapitulation). The first movement consists of very dark mode but also has a meditative melody presented by the Cello. The development section in the first movement breaks down the parts and imposes a very elaborate explanation of each, and recapitulation covers all the essential themes. The second movement is melodic consisting of striking dynamic changes, the full structure is being repeated after. While the third movement can be considered as an establishment or an add-on to the final movement, as it is only a minute and a half. The fourth and final movement is also in the Sonata-Allegro form, the first subject presents a feeling of a cheerful swirl, and the subject after presents a reminder of the first movement, and the coda in the final movement ends on a pleasant mood. Both works, Opus 5 No 2 and Opus 69 No 3, both works consist of a slow introduction but a happy ending, presenting us the thought that his work presents the sense of positivity. In addition to, Alan Woods states that his music contains an inner tension, an unresolved contradiction which urgently demands resolution. I agree with the author because this was something I experienced while I was listening to it live. Both pieces start out slow, conveys a message that the composer is in tension, the development part is where the composer seeks for the answers, and coda for both pieces is where the composer proposes all the answers for the tension.
The artist presenting the work No.2 in G Minor Op. 5, and No.3 in A Major Op.69 were Edward Aaron and Jeewon Park. Edward and Jeewon are a happily married couple who share a passion for Music. Jeewon exhibits her skills on the Piano whereas Edward displays his talent on the Cello. The instrument used for both works are the Cello and Piano. Both artists about fifteen minutes before the concert socialized for a few but they did not socialize before the concert. Before presenting, they spoke a little about their life and the work they were about to present to the audience, he also said that when they met for the first time, they practiced Opus 5 together, the piece they were about to present. Edward had his back on the piano, there was no eye to eye contact between them or any physical gesture, rather they were focusing on their notes and speaking through the music they were playing. It was like they were talking at the end of every note, that this is the note we are going to play. The audience was just enjoying the vibe in the room, some people were moving their fingers while listening to the beautiful melody in Op. 69, and some people were staring at Edward whenever he would play a very Grave note with forte dynamics that would change the whole mood. As reported in Naxos work summary, the work is imbued with drama, the structural method in Op 5 No 2 can be seen using dramatic pauses, creating different emotions and setting different moods throughout the movement. The difference between listening to it online on Naxos library and listening to it in real life was surreal, I never thought I would be able to feel the tones, reminiscing the past on largo notes and enjoying the consonant melodies. The location of the performance made the concert even more beautiful, as I was talking about dramatic pauses, the calm sound of waves dancing around and bumping into a wall, it was like Beethoven put those pauses for us to enjoy the waves. The tones were giving us a vibe, but the sound of waves was like meditation.
The couple played Opus 5 No 2 first and then played Opus 69 No 3 after, the selection was chosen because Opus 5 was written before Opus 69. I really loved both works for specific reasons, Opus 5 because of the dramatic pauses where I could enjoy the sound of waves, and Opus 69 for its melodic theme, and especially the coda in the fourth movement. Both movements started out very slow but consisted of some melodic lines that I could repeat after, and ended with a very happy note, making me forget about the tragedies/slow movement and just focus on the happy coda. The selection of these works and the place it was being performed perfectly correlated with each other, because as I was getting out of the place and repeating the melody I just heard, I was surrounded by water and looking at Brooklyn Bridge, repeating the melody in my head while hearing the sound of waves as I see the birds chirping around, made this experience ten times better for me. The music as it was being performed put me through different modes, for example the slow introduction of Opus 5 reminded me of my late Grandparents, the long dramatic pauses reminded of the things I should be thankful for, and the coda of Opus 69 reminded of the opportunities I have, to make my grandparents proud. It was a very emotional experience for me filled with many mood changes, if the performances were to be held at any another place, I do not think that it would have had the same impact on me as it did. Looking back at the experience, if I had another opportunity to go and listen to another concert, I would go and listen to Symphony No 9 by Beethoven. There is just something about the works melodic lines that will never get old for me. I want to feel those melodic lines and the mood changes just like I got to experience it with Opus 5 and 69. I liked the crescendo in the final movement Rondo as we were about two and a half minutes in, the Tempo of the notes on the keyboard became presto with a high pitch along with andante notes from the cello. Also, the coda of the last movement of Opus 69 made the concert end on a lively note.
To sum up, Ludwig van Beethoven childhood was filled with hardships and during his youth, he lost the ability to hear. Nonetheless, his unique style of composing is the reason why his music is still being played up to this day. Few of his many reputable works are Opus 5 in G Minor and Opus 69 in A Major, where Opus 5 was dedicated to the king of Prussia and Opus 69 was dedicated to his beloved friend at that time. Opus 5 is a work that contains high drama, which is achieved by the dramatic pauses. Opus 69 starts out slow but mostly contains consonant harmonies. The one thing common in both works is that they both start out with a slow introduction but end in a cheerful mood, which means that the works present tension but also guides us to an answer. Listening to music live is not the same as listening to it online, because the sound of the tone is not as rich as it is in real life.
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