Beethoven’s musical compositions stimulated strong critical interest at their premieres in Vienna (cf. Allgemeine Musikalisches Zeitung 1802-26) and contemporary critics seemed eager to find terms that would identify the structures in the music and explain their effect upon audiences. Musical historians and theoreticians joined the conversation and several major trends developed in the analytical history of Beethoven’s music. One group attempted to explain his music with technical terms such as those found in Wilhelm von Lenz’s Beethoven et Ses Trois Styles (1855), or Charles Rosen’s The Classical Style (1972). Others sought to translate the emotional responses of listeners into literary prose as in Romain Rolland’s Beethoven The Creator (1929). Still others sought to understand Beethoven’s compositions through the application of archaeological techniques as in Gustav Nottebohm’s Ein Skizzenbuch von Beethoven aus dem Jahre 1803 (1880) or Douglas Johnson’s “Reconstructing Beethoven’s Manuscripts” AMS (1972). Critical and analytical reactions from the past two hundred years show that musical terms and analyses are the product of their time and that Beethoven’s music generated unanticipated analytical terminology that is now widely applied to other musical compositions.
|Keywords:||Musical Criticism, Musical Analysis, Beethoven|
Professor of Humanities/Music History and Head Carillonneur, Humanities/Music, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Arkansas - Fort Smith, Fort Smith, Arkansas, USA
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