frenchpony (frenchpony) wrote,

  • Music:


NPR was playing Beethoven's Fifth this morning when I woke up. Holy bazolie, it's long! They were in the middle of the first movement when the clock-radio went off at 5:45, and it didn't finish till 7. And Beethoven was certainly a man who loved his cadences. He has so many of them scattered throughout the Fifth -- big ones, where the orchestra saws away for ten measures of V and I and V and I and V and I -- that when it finally comes time to finish that puppy for good, it takes a good thirty seconds of whanging away on the same I chord to signal that, yes, it's over.

I have to say, I'm not rabidly in love with Beethoven. I like his early works, and the choral movement of the Ninth is just so insanely perky that you can't not like it (plus, the concept of being "feuertrunken" is just way cool). But Beethoven gets shoved so hard at music students as being the be-all and end-all of Great Western Classical Music, Inventor Of The Almighty Sonata Form (All Hail Sonana Form), that it's hard to actually like it. Plus, Beethoven signals the change in musical eras from the Classical to the Romantic, and I really don't care for Romanticism. Though I do like Brahms, because he wrote for violas and altos, and that right there is a good mark in my book.

Mozart is cute, though I think he's more lightweight than people realize. And I have a taste for twentieth-century tonal music, Bartók, Satie and Copland. Bernstein's Kaddish Symphony is high on my happy list. The DWM composer I could listen to for hours, though, is Bach. It's not really fashionable to like Bach, but it's so precise and intricate that you can never hear enough of it. It's what one of my theory professors called "pure music." You can play Bach on any instrument, and it will sound good.

This is one reason why I went into ethnomusicology instead of plain Western musicology. I was always the kid in the music class who asked "Why?" when informed that Beethoven was the Second Coming, persisted in my admiration for parallel fifths, and refused to abase myself before the wonders of sonata form.
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.