Saturday, October 17, 2009

Contest Literature-Beethoven Sonata in C Major, Op. 2 No. 3, 3rd mvt.

Who is the composer and where is he from? Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. He was a crucial figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western classical music, and remains one of the most acclaimed and influential composers of all time.

Born in Bonn, of the Electorate of Cologne and a part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation in present-day Germany, he moved to Vienna in his early twenties and settled there, studying with Joseph Haydn and quickly gaining a reputation as a virtuoso pianist. His hearing began to deteriorate in the late 1790s, yet he continued to compose, conduct, and perform, even after becoming completely deaf. Much has been written and debated about Beethoven.
What else have they written that we may already know or have heard? One of the early pieces students learn is the theme to the 9th Symphony, commonly titled "Ode to Joy" in their books. He was a teacher and wrote wonderful teaching pieces, sonatinas, bagatelles, and other short works that are accessible to students.
What is the title? What does it mean? A sonata literally means a piece played as opposed to a cantata (Latin and Italian cantare, "to sing"), a piece sung. The term, being vague, naturally evolved through the history of music, designating a variety of forms prior to the Classical era. The term took on increasing importance in the Classical period, and by the early 19th century the word came to represent a principle of composing large scale works. It was applied to most instrumental genres and regarded alongside the fugue as one of two fundamental methods of organizing, interpreting and analyzing concert music. Though the sound of sonatas has changed since the Classical Era, 20th century sonatas still maintain the same structure and build. This is the 3rd movement of a sonata.
What time period is it from? This will be considered Classical.
What about this piece do you like? None of my students are interested in playing this piece-they made no comments here.
What sounds challenging? Students, remember that it's the 3rd movement only for the competition.

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