Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Beethoven

Ludwig Van BeethovenDecember 17, 1770 - March 26 1827

We're learning a little about Beethoven in our Purple Magic class. He began losing his hearing when he was about 26 (and it was not because his hair hung over his ears like one little cutie in class thought! :) ) Though he was almost completely deaf by 1814 when he was 44, he was still able to write his ninth symphony, "Ode To Joy". He could hear the music in his head, just like we can!

He began writing "Ode To Joy" in 1818 and finished in 1824. This means he was completely deaf when he wrote it. It is "considered one of Beethoven's greatest masterpieces." Here's some more info about the piece from the Wikipedia entry:

"The symphony was the first example of a major composer using voices in a symphony. The words are sung during the final movement by four vocal soloists and a chorus. They were taken from the "Ode to Joy", a poem written by Friedrich Schiller in 1785 and revised in 1803, with additions made by the composer."

There is a well know story to go along with this composition. This is at the premiere concert of the piece and the first time Beethoven had been on stage in 12 years.

"When the audience applauded—testimonies differ over whether at the end of the scherzo or the whole symphony—Beethoven was several measures off and still conducting. Because of that, the contralto Caroline Unger walked over and turned Beethoven around to accept the audience's cheers and applause. According to one witness, "the public received the musical hero with the utmost respect and sympathy, listened to his wonderful, gigantic creations with the most absorbed attention and broke out in jubilant applause, often during sections, and repeatedly at the end of them." The whole audience acclaimed him through standing ovations five times; there were handkerchiefs in the air, hats, raised hands, so that Beethoven, who could not hear the applause, could at least see the ovation gestures. The theatre house had never seen such enthusiasm in applause."

He's also written some other pieces you and the kiddos will recognize.
Fur Elise - Bagatelle in A minor for solo piano
Beethoven's 5th - Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67,
"Moonlight" Sonata - Sonata No. 14

-Let's Play Music with Kendra Flake
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