Discuss Ways In Which The Essay Example
Discuss Ways In Which The Essay Example

Discuss Ways In Which The Essay Example

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  • Pages: 7 (1835 words)
  • Published: December 17, 2017
  • Type: Essay
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To demonstrate the revolutionary nature of Beethoven's Third Symphony 'Eroica', this essay will be divided into multiple sections. Firstly, the inspiration behind the piece will be examined, including how it influenced key elements such as the title. Next, an analysis of contemporary criticism will be presented, highlighting how the symphony was perceived as groundbreaking. Unfortunately, due to evolutions in music theory, particularly in harmony, it can be challenging for modern listeners to fully comprehend the extent of the Eroica's boldness when compared to other pieces from its time period. To help remedy this disparity, a comprehensive comparison will be made between the Eroica and Beethoven's earlier work: Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Opus 21.

21. This piece, which has been labeled an exemplary Classic sonata form, was chosen in order to illustrate the innovative and groun


dbreaking principles utilized in the third symphony.

The public debut of Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 in E? major 'Eroica' Op. 55 happened on April 7th 1805 with Beethoven conducting. Although it is thought that the entire composition was written between 1801 and 1804, it was not published until 1821 by N.Simrock of Bonn (Edition Number 1973). One issue that Beethoven faced with this symphony was its title.

The idea to compose a symphony based on Napoleon was proposed by Count Bernadotte, the French Ambassador. At that time, Beethoven held great admiration for Napoleon and found inspiration in his heroic leadership. However, upon learning that Napoleon had declared himself Emperor, Beethoven was livid. According to Ferdinand Reis, Beethoven shouted in anger, "He is nothing but an ordinary being!" Beethoven then tore off the original front page of the score that had "Bonaparte

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and "Luigi van Beethoven" at the top and bottom, respectively. He replaced it with the title Sinfonia eroica.

The title of the printed edition from 1806, written in Italian, was 'Heroic symphony... composed to celebrate the memory of a great man'. Following the first performances of the Eroica in 1805, there were mixed reactions from the audience. Some viewers claimed that it displayed an unrestrained pursuit of novelty and eccentricity, without achieving any genuine beauty or grandeur, thus rendering it lacking in artistic merit.

There are varying opinions about the third symphony. Some believe it showcases elevated music and should be considered a revolutionary masterpiece, while others find it difficult to appreciate due to its unique modulations and violent transitions. Critics note its true if not desirable originality but mention a multitude of unrelated and overabundant ideas and continuous tumult. Overall, it seems that the public may not have been sufficiently educated in art to grasp all the elevated beauties of this piece.

The main critique directed towards Beethoven's Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. was regarding its length. At an hour long, many felt that the piece could benefit from being shortened to incorporate more clarity, light, and unity. Despite this feedback, Beethoven rebutted with the statement, "if I write a symphony and long it will be found short enough." In response, a performance note was included at the beginning of the score. Notably, this symphony was intentionally composed to be much longer than usual and should be performed earlier in a concert, following an overture, aria, and concerto. If played too late, it could potentially lose its intended effect due

to listener fatigue from preceding performances.

On April 2nd 1800, Beethoven's 21st symphony premiered in Vienna. It is considered "orthodox" in structure and often compared to the works of Mozart and Haydn. However, due to the almost textbook use of sonata form in the first movement, it is possible to demonstrate the revolutionary nature of Beethoven's third symphony when compared to its predecessors. Both symphonies share the same instrumentation but employ it differently. In the first symphony, the strings are often the primary component of the orchestra, with some sections containing only strings and oboe (e.g., bars 78-81).

Critics previously remarked that the wind instruments were excessively used, resulting in the music appearing more suitable for a wind band than a full orchestra. However, in the first movement of Symphony 1, only six bars from 172 to 178 do not feature strings. While Symphony 3 exhibits a gradual independence of woodwind and brass as an orchestral section, there are still more than 70 bars where only strings are present. The length of the first movement of Symphony 1 is 298 bars, whereas that of Symphony 3 is 691 bars, affecting performance duration. When performed by the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich and conducted by David Zinman, the first movement of Symphony 1 lasts for 07:58 minutes, whereas that of Symphony 3 lasts twice as long at 15:34 minutes. In terms of tempo, Symphony 1's first movement starts at Adagio molto (= 88) before accelerating to Allegro con brio (= 122). On the other hand, Symphony 3's first movement commences promptly as Allegro con brio at = 60.

The first symphony's slow introduction begins with a C7 chord resolving down a

fifth to create a perfect cadence on the subdominant, followed by secondary dominant harmonies. The introduction's purpose is to delay the definition of the tonic until the Allegro's first note. At bar 13, the first theme enters and exposition begins with woodwind echoing strings and leading to a perfect cadence in the tonic.

At this juncture, the pace quickens. It is worth mentioning that many of the instruments are paired in octaves. In the third symphony, there are four bars preceding the initial set of repeat bars, with the introduction consisting mainly of repetition of the tonic chord. This omission of an introduction is contrasting to the previous classical sonata form, and in contrast to the first symphony, the tonic key is established right away.

After reaching the expositions, there are many contrasting differences between Symphony 1 and Symphony 3. The obvious factor is the difference in length, with Symphony 1's exposition being 96 bars long and Symphony 3's being 155. Typically, most movements in sonata form contain at least two defined themes. This is evident in the first symphony where the first theme appears in the first violins at bar 13 followed by the second theme, played by the first violins at the upbeat to bar 34.

The third symphony's initial theme is obvious, as evidenced by the cellos from bars 2 to 5. Despite this, some consider the theme to be only the first four notes. There are multiple interpretations of the second theme's introduction. Initially, I believed it came in with the oboes at bar 45. However, some experts see this as a "bridge to the secondary theme section" which starts at bar


It seems that the theory of bars 45-57 being a bridge in Symphony 3 is supported by comparing Beethoven's sketches, as there is no sign of the descending theme in them. However, both the sketch and the score show ascending from bar 57. Although the second theme debate remains unresolved, it is evident that it is not well-defined. There are many groundbreaking elements in Symphony 3's development making it a revolutionary piece.

At bar 284, a third theme emerges, which is not typical during the exposition. The development section is longer than usual at 245 bars and surpasses both the exposition and recapitulation. This is unprecedented in sonata form. In comparison, the development section of the first symphony is much shorter at 69 bars, comprising two thirds of the exposition and recapitulation combined. Techniques such as modulations are employed in these sections. While the first theme flows seamlessly, the third theme introduces abrupt changes and dissonant chords from bars 248-280.

Compared to the first symphony, the third utilizes syncopated rhythms such as in bars 160-166 and 292-299, as well as hemiolas in bars 251 and 252. The use of tremolo on the strings is employed to emphasize developing melodic themes, like in bar 300 of the Eroica Symphony, rather than solely adding depth to the harmony like in the first symphony's second violins and violas from bar 121. Both symphonies have variations in their themes' register changes as they move through different instruments. Symphony 3's development features a unique structure with a brief introductory transition (mm.

From mm. 152-165, the text outlines four main sections of development. The first two sections (mm. 166-219 and mm.

220-283) share a common beginning, however, the first section concludes with a cadence that leads to the introduction of the second tonality in the second section (mm.

Between measures 43 and 45, the second section of the piece highlights the emotional peak with a combination of chaotic rhythm and dissonant tones. Following this, sections three and four, spanning measures 284-337 and 338-397 respectively, gradually ease away from the climax. The third section is characterized by the introduction of well-known new material, whereas the fourth features a dominant preparation of massive proportions. Finally, the recapitulation section of the first symphony begins predictably at measure 178, with the entire orchestra playing the first theme in unison.

According to the statement, the recapitulation should restate the main thoughts of the exposition in a similar way, highlighting the tonic key to create a sense of finality. In the third symphony, the main theme is played by the horn four bars before the recapitulation starts. Despite this, the piece still appears to be developing due to abrupt key changes within bars 401-16, moving from E? to F to D?. The coda of the third Symphony is also unorthodox in certain aspects.

Despite being forty bars long, the first symphony also features variations and modulations. It establishes a closing feeling quicker than the third symphony by using more cadential movement around the home key within only 28 bars. Another significant aspect of both pieces is Beethoven's use of dynamics. In the third symphony, dynamics can be sudden and contrasting. For instance, from bars 50 to 53, everything is marked as piano and dolce, until the oboe enters with a sforzando at bar 53,

followed by clarinets and bassoons. The whole orchestra plays fortissimo at bars 55 and 56 before dropping back down to piano at bar 57.

The dynamics in the first symphony tend to shift from loud to quiet, with sforzando often occurring in forte sections. Both the first and third symphonies have been described as heroic, but the Eroica is considered more so. Despite some similarities, it is evident that the opening movement of Symphony No. 2 is more revolutionary compared to the conventional Sonata form of Beethoven's first symphony. While various analysts have studied the latter piece and provided different, at times conflicting, conclusions about it, Reinhard G. Pauly has summarized it effectively.

Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, Op 55, 'Eroica' stands out from earlier symphonies due to its length, manipulation of thematic material, emotional depth and range, daring harmonies, and handling of the orchestra. These revolutionary features include its tonality, difficulty to play, development section, alterations to the sonata form, introduction of a new theme in the development, abrupt changes of key, and use of expression.

The Symphony in question has several features typically associated with Romantic rather than Classical Symphonies. Many have described it as revolutionary, and the final quotation supports this notion. Its length, thematic material and manipulation, emotional range and depth, harmonic boldness, and orchestral handling all distinguish it from earlier symphonies. 16

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