September 12, 2005

Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)

The Offeratory Anthem at Church yesterday was a piece I've never heard before - the Halleluiah from Beethoven's lone oratorio, The Mount of Olives.

I must say, it struck me that Beethoven didn't really mean it. While the technical mastery was perfectly evident (although, as is often the case with his music, the finale was too damn long), the piece seemed to be missing a sense of spirit, the true celebration so evident in the religious music of, say, Mozart, Bach and Handel.

I recognize that I have some prejudices against ol' Ludwig Van. Part of it is a function of the historical period - I don't have much sympathy with Romantic sensibilities. But part of it is quite personally specific. Beethoven was something of a swine to just about everybody around him. Furthermore, he projected so much of his own ego into his music that I don't think there was much room left for praise of anyone or anything else. In a setting like this, which calls for the composer to put all thoughts of self aside and focus on higher things, I think this deficiency is especially evident.

Just saying.

Posted by Robert at September 12, 2005 09:59 AM | TrackBack

For some reason, your trackbacks aren't taking, but this is related:

Posted by: The Colossus at September 12, 2005 10:33 AM

Spoke too soon. It's tracbacking now.

Posted by: The Colossus at September 12, 2005 10:38 AM

Oh dear, most of your musical postings are so very much on the mark....I had to ponder your response to this wonderful piece. I believe after all my years as a performer, listener, and teacher I have figured it out! Though technically he was one of the worst composers for the human voice (how many soprano sections can pull off the Finale of the 9th without sounding like strident harpies by the end), it is the blend of voices with accompaniment that create an absolutely amazing acoustical aura from a PERFORMER'S view point. The cascading opening lines of this piece crescendoing to the entry of the chorus, the swell of the voices from the 3rd to 4th Hallelujah (don't EVEN think of breathing there)just gives me chills every time I do it. The fugue is challanging but not too so you can really sing without getting caught up in the totally technical aspects. Yeah, yeah, yeah, the end is extremely hackneyed and rather lame...but hey, we all have our moments!

Love your site and the interesting crew you share your space with!

Posted by: janeyek at September 12, 2005 11:29 AM

Thankee muchly. And I'm glad I'm not the only person who thinks the Chorale from the 9th is horridly overblown.

It's funny you should mention the performer's perspective, because I happened to drop a comment over at Lynn S's the other day about this with respect to Orff's Carmina Burana. (Here's the link.)

Posted by: Robbo the LB at September 12, 2005 11:43 AM