Have we been listening to Beethoven wrong, all along?

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Have we been listening to Beethoven wrong, all along?

Postby Shapley » Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:59 am

http://www.radiolab.org/blogs/radiolab- ... s%22%7D%7D

There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit.

Jad starts out talking with Alan Pierson, Artistic Director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic, about the fact that neither of them really like Beethoven's Fifth. It feels, they say, heavy and ponderous. But then Alan tells Jad a story: Late in life, Beethoven got his hands on a metronome, went back into his symphonies, and marked them with tempos that are shockingly fast -- so fast, in fact, that most conductors simply refuse to play them as marked. To investigate, we gather up a quartet of musicians to give us a feel for Beethoven's speedy beats, and we talk to composer and author Matthew Guerrieri about the way fast tempos push us and unsettle us. But is that really what Beethoven was going for? WQXR host Terrance McKnight says given his background and personality, Beethoven clearly didn't want his music to be easy and comfortable. So, as an homage to our new found vision of Ludwig van B., we ask Alan and his players to take the Fifth to a whole new level.
Quod scripsi, scripsi.
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Re: Have we been listening to Beethoven wrong, all along?

Postby BigJon » Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:01 pm

I like it!
Even a blind nut finds a squirrel once in a while. – Me! Feb 9, 2001
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Re: Have we been listening to Beethoven wrong, all along?

Postby barfle » Wed Apr 24, 2013 2:54 pm

I spend most of my commute (90 minutes each way) listening to podcasts, and radiolab is one of them.

I heard that episode, and although I thought the increased tempo was interesting, it wasn't thrilling. I did admire the athleticism of the orchestra, but I don't equate musical athleticism with musicality.

But then, I'm an old fuddy-duddy.
--I know what I like--
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Re: Have we been listening to Beethoven wrong, all along?

Postby Shapley » Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:19 pm

Many, many years ago, when I studied 'Music Appreciation' in high school, our teacher told us that Beethoven liked to make musicians sweat.
Quod scripsi, scripsi.
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Re: Have we been listening to Beethoven wrong, all along?

Postby DavidS » Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:01 am

Shapley wrote:Many, many years ago, when I studied 'Music Appreciation' in high school, our teacher told us that Beethoven liked to make musicians sweat.

An interesting line of thought (not all that new): Understanding the nature of the physical and/or emotional impact of the great composers' works on performers and listeners, giving these masters a claim to immortality.
Tel grain, tel pain.
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