Beethoven Essay, Research Paper
Among the influential composers of classical music, there have been few that have contributed so much in talent, creativity, and style one of whom is Ludwig Van Beethoven. Extremely talented in the art of classical composition, Beethoven placed his heart, soul and creativity in his music. It is clearly illustrated in his composition that was written for the famous ballet “The Creatures of Prometheus”. I was delighted to hear this classical piece, which was presented recently by the students of Hanna Sacks High School. “The Creatures of Prometheus” ballet is composed of sixteen scenes, most of which start slow and speed up, which makes sense when looking at the growth dynamics of life around us. In scene I, the creatures brought to life sound very hesitant and unsure in their ‘first steps’; this is achieved by unfluid lines and the chords are very simplistic in nature. Prometheus on the other hand is illustrated through beautiful, flowing lines and excited, prancy melody. In scene IV, Prometheus shows his creatures to Apollo who was the god of the sun, music, the arts, and medicine. Prometheus has a purpose for showing them; he wants Apollo to grant them reason and emotions. This scene is in D major andis contrasted with simple lines, and plain instruments without harmonies and still provide a feeling of definite hesitance; there are long pauses throughout this time. Scene V-VI is by far the largest scene of the ballet and depicts the immense power of music. The different Gods are represented by different instruments: Orpheus and the harp, Euterpe and the flute, Amphiou and the bassoon, Ariou and the clarinet., and Apollo in the cadenza with the cello. Beethoven tries to demonstrate how music can transform the creatures. Apollo is shown with cello, because of the inherent characteristics associated with strings; they have been connected with reason, rationale, intellect, and balance – all of which Beethoven tried to embody in Apollo. Beethoven continues to entertain us, the listeners, using multiple combination of instruments as if all the gods of Apollo’s court are involved in the transformation. Upon the god’s collaboration, the creatures are definitely not the same. The same chords are used as before but an important difference is seen – the chords this time are more developed and full and break in to an allegro pace. Scene VIII brings on a military feel in D major. The glory of war and consequently the tragedy of such in D minor are displayed. In scene IX, Prometheus dies and the scene, which is unusually split into two adagios progresses from an E flat to C minor denoting the feelings of tragedy. The finale is back to happiness and victory as Prometheus is praised for his achievements and his remarkable creatures. Though departing from the original story, it is a wonderful end, and is conveyed as such (E flat major) through Beethoven’s use of themes from three of his other works, and display the success of Prometheus’ actions and his virtuosity.
After having studied this work, it is apparent to me that Beethoven relies solely on his musical “prose.” I feel that Beethoven’s efforts were more effective simply because by concentrating upon the music alone, he was able to hone the imagery more precisely, not relying upon words to concretize his ideas.