Piano Sonata No. 3, Op. 2 no. 3 (Beethovens Werke, Serie XVI)

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It is obvious from Schindler's statement that he must have been able to hear the yellowhammers in the trees above him when he was composing the Pastoral Symphony in and A few facts may be mentioned bearing on the progress of the malady. In he was able to judge severely of the nuances in the rehearsal of his opera. In , , he conducted performances of his own works. In he played his B flat trio—his last appearance in public in concerted music. From to he used an ear trumpet.

A subsequent attempt in Nov. After this he conducted no more, though he stood in the orchestra at the performance of the 'Choral Symphony,' and had to be turned round that he might see the applause which his music was evoking. From this to the end all communication with him was carried on by writing, for which purpose he always had a book of rough paper, with a stout pencil, at hand. The connexion between this cruel malady and the low tone of his general health was closer than is generally supposed.

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The post mortem examination showed that the liver was shrunk to half its proper size, and was hard and tough like leather, with numerous nodules the size of a bean woven into its texture and appearing on its surface. There were also marks of ulceration of the pharynx, about the tonsils and Eustachian tubes. The arteries of the ears were athrumatous, and the auditory nerves—especially that of the right ear—were degenerated and to all appearance paralysed.


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The whole of these appearances are most probably the result of syphilitic affections at an early period of his life. His splendid constitution and his extreme fondness for the open air must have been of great assistance to him. Beethoven was an early riser, and from the time he left his bed till dinner which in those days was taken at, or shortly after, noon—the day was devoted to completing at the piano and writing down the compositions which he had previously conceived and elaborated in his sketch-books, or in his head.

At such times the noise which he made playing and roaring was something tremendous. He hated interruption while thus engaged, and would do and say the most horribly rude things if disturbed.

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Dinner—when he remembered it—he took sometimes in his own room, sometimes at an eating-house, latterly at the house of his friends the Breunings; and no sooner was this over than he started on his walk. He was fond of making appointments to meet on the glacis. The evening was spent at the theatre or in society.

He went nowhere without his sketch-books, and indeed these seem to distinguish him from other composers almost as much as his music does. They are perhaps the most remarkable relic that any artist or literary man has left behind him. They afford us the most precious insight into Beethoven's method of composition. They not only show—what we know from his own admission—that he was in the habit of working at three, and even four, things at once, [] but without them we should never realise how extremely slow and tentative he was in composing.

Audacious and impassioned beyond every one in extemporising, the moment he takes his pen in hand he becomes the most cautious and hesitating of men. It would almost seem as if this great genius never saw his work as a whole until it actually approached completion. It grew like a plant or tree, and one thing produced another. One is prompted to believe, not that he had the idea first and then expressed it, but that it often came in the process of finding the expression.

There is hardly a bar in his music of which it may not be said with confidence that it has been re-written a dozen times. Of the air 'O Hoffnung' in Fidelio the sketch-books show 18 attempts, and of the concluding chorus Of many of the brightest gems of the opera, says Thayer, the first ideas are so trivial that it would be impossible to admit that they were Beethoven's if they were not in his own handwriting.

And so it is with all his works. It is quite astonishing to find the length of time during which some of his best-known instrumental melodies remained in his thoughts till they were finally used, or the crude vague commonplace shape in which they were first written down. The more they are elaborated the more fresh and spontaneous do they become.

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To quote but two instances out of many. The theme of the Andante in the C minor Symphony, completed in , is first found in a sketch-book of the year , mixed with memoranda for the 6 Quartets, and in the following form: [] —. Another is the first subject of the Allegro in the Sonata Op. It first appears [] thus—. In these books every thought that occurred to him was written down at the moment; he even kept one by his bedside for use in the night.

It is as if he had no reliance whatever on his memory. He began the practice as a boy [] and maintained it to the last. In the sale catalogue of his effects more than 50 of such books are included. Many of them have been parted and dispersed, but some remain intact. They are usually of large coarse music paper, oblong, or even more pages, 16 staves to the page, and are covered from beginning to end, often over the margin as well, with close crowded writing.

There is something very affecting in the sight of these books, [] and in being thus brought so close to this mighty genius and made to realise the incessant toil and pains which he bestowed on all his works, small and great. No convenience of singers or players weighed for a moment against the integrity of his finished composition. When Sonntag and Ungher protested against the unsingable passages in the Ninth Symphony, and besought him to bring them within the compass of their voices, 'Nein und immer nein,' was the dry answer. A man to whom his art was so emphatically the business of his life, and who was so insatiable in his standard of perfection, must have been always advancing.

To him more than to any other musician may be applied Goethe's words on Schiller:—'Every week he altered and grew more complete, and every time I saw him he appeared to me to have advanced since the last in knowledge, learning, and judgment. Towards the end of his life he heard a friend practising his 32 Variations [] in C minor. After listening for some time he said 'Whose is that? That piece of folly mine?

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Hardly less characteristic than the sketch- books are his diaries or journals, in which the most passionate and personal reflections, resolutions, prayers, aspirations, complaints, are mixed up with memorandums of expenses and household matters, notes about his music, rules for his conduct, quotations from books, and every other conceivable kind of entry. These books have been torn up and dispersed as autographs; but a copy of one extending from to fortunately exists, and has been edited with copious notes and elucidations by Heir Nohl, the whole throwing great light on that unfortunate period of his life.

A ray of light is also occasionally to be gained from the conversation-books already mentioned, some of which have been preserved, though as Beethoven's answers were usually spoken this source is necessarily imperfect. If now we ask what correspondence there is between the traits and characteristics thus imperfectly sketched and Beethoven's music, it must be confessed that the question is a difficult one to answer.

In one point alone the parallel is obvious—namely, the humour, which is equally salient in both. In the finale of the 7th and 8th Symphonies there are passages which are the exact counterparts of the rough jokes and horseplay of which we have already seen some instances. In these we almost hear his loud laugh. The Scherzo of Symphony No. The bassoons in the opening and closing movements of No.

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But when we leave humour and go to other points, where in the life shall we look for the grandeur and beauty which distinguish the music? Neither in letters nor anecdotes do we find anything answering to the serene beauty of the slow movements No. These must represent a state of mental absorption when all heaven was before his eyes, and in which he retired within himself far beyond the reach of outward things, save his own divine power of expression.

Equally difficult is it to see anything in Beethoven's life answering to the sustained nobility and dignity of his first movements, or of such a piece as the 'Overture to Leonora, No. The fact is that, like all musicians, only in a greater degree than any other, in speech Beethoven was dumb, and often had no words for his deepest and most characteristic feelings. The musician has less connexion with the outside world than any other artist, and has to turn inward and seek his art in the deepest recesses of his being only.

But the feelings are there, and if we look closely enough into the life we shall be able to detect their existence often where we least expect it. His position at Bonn as organist and pianist to the Emperor's uncle, his friendship with Count Waldstein, who was closely related to some of the best families in Vienna, and his connexion with Haydn, were all circumstances sure to secure him good introductions. The moment was a favourable one, as since Mozart's death, a twelvemonth before, there had been no player to take his place; and it was as a player that Beethoven was first known.

It is pleasant to know that his show-piece, with which he took the Vienna connoisseurs by storm, was his Variations on 'Venni amore,' which we have already mentioned as composed before he left Bonn. Public concerts in our sense of the word there were few, but a player had every opportunity at the musical parties of the nobility, who maintained large orchestras of the best quality, and whose music-meetings differed from public concerts chiefly in the fact that the audience were better educated, and were all invited guests.

The acquaintance probably began shortly after Beethoven's arrival; and after a twelvemonth of unpleasant experience in the Vienna lodgings, the Prince induced him to accept apartments in his house. His wife was a Princess of Thun, famous for her beauty and her goodness; he himself had been a pupil of Mozart; and both were known as the best amateur musicians of Vienna.


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  • Beethoven was poor enough to be tempted by such hospitality, but it was an absurd arrangement, and he very soon infringed it by disregarding the Prince's hours, often dining at the Gasthof , having a lodging of his own elsewhere, and other acts of independence.

    Here however he was frequently heard, and thus became rapidly known in the most musical circles, and Ries's anecdotes show after making allowance for the inaccuracy of a man who writes 30 years after the events how widely he was invited, how completely at his ease he was, and how entirely his eccentricities were condoned for the sake of his playing and his great qualities.

    Not that we are to suppose that Beethoven gave undue time to society. He was too hard a worker for that. His lessons with Haydn and Albrechtsberger from the latter he had three a week were alone enough to occupy a great deal of time, and his own studies in counterpoint exist to show that he did not confine himself to the mere tasks that were set him.

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    Moreover his lessons with Albrechtsberger contain sketches for various compositions, such as 'Adelaide,' a part of one of the Trios op. These sketches afford an early instance of his habit of working at several compositions at one and the same time. The date of one of them, about Feb. In this case it would show the wisdom of the plan which he adopted with most of his early works, [] of keeping them in MS.

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    At any rate the Trios were published first to the subscribers, by July , and then, on Oct. They were shortly followed by a work of equal importance, the first three Pianoforte Sonatas, [] which were first played by their author at one of the Prince's Fridays in presence of Haydn, and published on the 9th of the following March as op. He had not then written a string-quartet, and at this concert Count Appony [] proposed to Beethoven to compose one, offering him his own terms, and refusing to make any conditions beyond the single one that the quartet should be written—a pleasant testimony to the enthusiasm excited by the new Sonatas, and to the generosity of an Austrian nobleman.

    The compositions are more numerous, and besides the Trios and Sonatas op.