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Ludwig van Beethoven - Essay Example

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Ludwig van Beethoven

Having been instilled with the passion for music, he furthers his skill by taking lessons from notable musical figures in Vienna including Haydn, Albrechtsberger, Schenck and Salieri. Before long, "he has earned a name for himself as a pianist of great fantasy and verve, admired in particular for his brilliant improvisations" (Ludwig van Beethoven 2). In his twenties, Beethoven begins to suffer hearing disorder which gradually led his loss of hearing. However, this does not affect his ability in producing notable masterpieces.
As stated above, the life of Beethoven spans the end of the classical until the early romantic era. Owing to this, the compositional career of Beethoven is divided into three periods namely, Early, Middle, and Late Periods which reflect his use of distinct musical styles. The Early Period features his earliest musical compositions which strongly emulates his predecessors like Mozart and Haydn yet "concurrently exploring new directions and gradually expanding the scope and ambition of the work" (Ludwig van Beethoven 3). The Middle Period comprises the compositions of Beethoven during the gradual loss of his hearing. Thus, his works exudes themes of struggle and heroism and are categorized as the most popular examples for the classical period. The Late Period includes the last compositions of Beethoven and is noted by their intellectual depth, intense and highly personal expression, and formal innovation. These works are regarded as the commencement of the Romantic Era (Ludwig van Beethoven 3).
Included in the Early Period, Beethoven's Piano Sonata No.14 in C-sharp Minor is more popularly known as the Moonlight Sonata. This composition which is originally entitled by Beethoven as "Quasi una Fantasia" (Almost a Fantasy) is dedicated to the 17 year old pupil of the musical genius Countess Giulietta Guicciardi. As the title suggests, the composition is more of a Fantasia than a sonata as it does not follow the latter's fast-slow-fast form. Moonlight Sonata can be regarded as Beethoven's expression of love to this aristocrat whom she proposed to afterwards (Moonlight Sonata 1).
The Moonlight Sonata is comprised of three movements: Adagio sostenuto, Allegreto, and Presto Agitato. The first movement sounds like a "lamentation" with a dark and whisper like melody. It is played against an accompanying ostinato triplet rhythm. The dynamics of the movement ranges from pianissimo (very quietly) to mezzo forte (moderately loud) giving a powerful impact to listeners. The second movement is regarded as a moment of relative calm in the piece. This part is written as a scherzo which denotes to a "comic composition, usually fast moving and used in place of a minuet or trio during Beethoven's time." The Moonlight Sonata peaks on its final movement where the composer wrote with fast arpeggios and strongly accented notes. In contrast to the first two movements, this movement is more powerful and invigorating with fast rhythm, loud dynamics, and more powerful texture. The Moonlight Sonata is noted for its simple yet beautiful melody (Rosen 126).
The Eroica is Beethoven's composition in his middle musical career which is highly influenced by the political situation during his time. It should be noted that Beethoven lived during the time of French Revolution which ended in chaos. Out this chaos arose a French ...Show more

Summary

In terms of musical genius, no one can compare to the impact that Ludwig van Beethoven has in music history. He is recognized as the greatest composer who ever lived and a key personality in the transitional period between the classical and romantic eras in Western classical music (Kerman and Tyson)…
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Ludwig van Beethoven essay example
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