Professor William Kinderman – University of California, Los Angeles
Dystopian and Utopian Symbols in Beethoven: from the Appassionata to Op. 111
How to base an artwork on reality without creating a ‘Glass Bead Game’? An engagement with utopian/dystopian symbols is evident in Beethoven’s music, whose political character often reflects the influence of Schiller. Vladimir Lenin admired the 'Appassionata' Sonata Op. 57 as ‘marvelous superhuman music’ while distrusting its impact; Otto von Bismarck reportedly said that if he ‘listened often’ to the piece ‘he would always be very brave.’ The tragic or dystopian world of the 'Appassionata' owes much to correspondences with Beethoven’s highly political opera, Fidelio. This lecture recital commences by commentary and performance of another Beethovenian work that begins in a tragic mode but unlike the 'Appassionata', embodies a path of self-determination leading to a utopian outcome: the final Sonata in C minor, Op. 111.
Professor Birgit Lodes – University of Vienna
Beethoven Confronts Death
In my presentation I wish to contextualise Beethoven’s personal remarks about death in this changing cultural framework. I will also propose that Beethoven’s conception(s) of the 'Last Things' are relevant for a deeper understanding of several of his compositions; e.g. the early Bonn Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II. (1790), the oratorio Christ on the Mount of Olives and Fidelio (in which Jesus and Florestan respectively confront death), as well as works such as the song-cycle An die Ferne Geliebte, the Elegischer Gesang, and the 'Et vitam venturi' fugues in his masses.
Professor Nicholas Marston – University of Cambridge
Registering the ‘Eroica’
This paper explores register in the outer movements of the ‘Eroica’ symphony. Engaging closely with Schenker’s 1930 analysis, in which the two-line register is understood as the obligate Lage while the three-line octave is treated as essentially decorative or reinforcing, it argues to the contrary, asserting the structural significance of the latter. By paying particular attention to Beethoven’s scoring for the flute, it develops a narrative of registral ‘failure’ in the finale that is in stark contrast to the standard ‘heroic’ readings of this work.
Students free admission at the door