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Ludwig Van Beethoven Essay


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Ludwig Van Beethoven

Final presentation is like a paper. You will write 800 words of one of the composers we have studied and one of his or her works.

You must also provide a YouTube link to the performance so that your classmates can watch and listen to the performance if they wish to do so.  It doesn’t matter how many sources you consult, however, please cite the material correctly. 
Any quotation must not exceed 50 words and must be properly cited.  The format of the final presentation will be like the discussion forums.  A five to ten minute video will be sufficient

Ludwig Van Beethoven

Ludwig Van Beethoven
Born in December 1770, Ludwig Van Beethoven is widely considered as the greatest composer who ever lived, dominating music in a period where no one else did. Ludwig showed an interest in music in the early stages of his life (Rogers, 2019). Christian Gottlob Neefe and his father Johann Van Beethoven were his early mentors in music. Vienna was Europe’s cultural capital when Ludwig made his trip as a 16-year-old to the city where he studied classical music with Joseph Haydn and Mozart. Beethoven began to go deaf at 25, although this did not stop him from writing music. He communicated with his friends using conversation books, asking them to note what they wanted to say so that he could respond. Ludwig Van Beethoven revealed the power to convey music without spoken text more vividly than his predecessors. A heroic struggle against deafness was one of the highlights of his personal life. In this period, he was able to compose some of his most famous and essential work. Beethoven’s music cannot be split into sections, although it can is seen as music from three different periods that featured three broad styles.

Beethoven’s predecessors Haydn and Mozart heavily influenced his early period. In this period, Ludwig sought new plans to expand his work and have new ambitions for his music’s new direction. Crucial pieces developed during this time included his first and second symphonies, two piano concertos, six string quartets Opus 18, and piano sonatas. Beethoven’s middle period commenced after his crisis, which was highly characterized by his deafness. Ludwig expressed his heroism and struggle in this period. His work was also more emotional. Works from this period included piano sonatas such as ‘Waldstein, Appassionata and Moonlight’, the last three piano concertos, Fidelio, and five-string quartets.
The late period is jam-packed with musical genius. The music in this period features intellectual intensity, high personal expression, formal innovation, and it sounds terrific to listeners. Compositions from this period include the last five piano sonatas, Ninth Symphony, Missa Solemnis, The String Quartet, Op.131, and the last five string quartets. Amidst his failing health, Beethoven completed the thirteenth, fourteenth and sixteenth quartets as well as a substitute for the final movement of quartet 13. He died in March 1827 (Grace, 2018). His autopsy revealed a damaged liver due to cirrhosis, which may have been caused by heavy alcohol consumption. Ludwig’s burial was witnessed by an estimated 20000 Viennese citizens who attended the funeral procession.

Moonlight Sonata
Moonlight Sonata’s actual title is Piano Sonata no.14 in C# minor, op.27 no.2. Beethoven called it sonata quasi una fantasia, which meant sonata in the manner of fantasy. Ludwig Van Beethoven composed Moonlight sonata in 1801 and published it the next year when his deafness deteriorated. Moonlight Sonata was dedicated to Beethoven’s short-term student, whom he had fallen in love with, Giulietta Guicciardi. The nickname of this sonata traces in the 1830s after Beethoven’s death when Ludwig Rellstab likened Moonlight Sonata’s first movement to a boat floating in the moonlight. The piece has a unique atmosphere. The mood in the piece is a heartbroken one and mesmerizing at the same time (Beethoven & In Palmer, 1993). The sonata consists of three movements, known as allegretto, adagio sostenuto, and presto agitator. Moonlight Sonata does not follow the standard layout of sonatas’ traditional movement in the classical period, fast-slow-fast. Instead, Moonlight Sonata goes slow-medium-fast, which is a somewhat different tempo.

The first movement has a strong impression on listeners. The movement is somber and quiet with many pianissimo, which features few crescendos. Most people loved the movement, with famous musicians such as Hector Berliox terming it as ‘one of those poems that human language does not know how to qualify’ (Kerney, & Hillstead, 2017). Beethoven intended to make this movement feel like fantasy, meaning that it has an improvisational view. The second movement was more subdued compared to the well-defined first movement. Allegretto gets a little faster than other movements, and it moves quickly to the third movement. The second movement connects the first and the second movement, and Franz Liszt termed it as a “flower between two chasms” (Kerney, & Hillstead, 2017). A handful of forte-pianos enable the movement to maintain a cheerful disposition, although the slight majority is in the piano.
Moonlight Sonata’s third movement (adagio sostenuto) contains dynamic changes and strongly accented notes. Adagio sostenuto is described as a passionate, powerful, and ferocious movement that requires tremendous skill. The movement is quite different from the previous two, which are pretty doable for the average individual, although the third is quite advanced. This piece is fast, fluid, and exciting. Ludwig used crescendo more often to create a passage from piano to fortissimo, thus coming up with a compelling sound.

Grace, H. (2018). Ludwig van Beethoven (1927). Abingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge.
Rogers, S. (2019). Why should I care about Beethoven: A biography of Beethoven just for kids! Anaheim, California : KidLit-O Books.
Kerney, A., & Hillstead, R. (2017, April 25). Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven: An Analysis – Retrieved December 8, 2020, from website:
Ludwig van Beethoven. (2008). Moonlight Sonata, Op. 27 No. 2 – 1. Adagio sostenuto [YouTube Video]. Retrieved December 8, 2020 from YouTube

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