Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2002/11/22

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Subject: Re. [Leica] OT Brahms et al
From: Carl Pultz <>
Date: Fri, 22 Nov 2002 13:45:03 -0500

"...IMHO the Romantic composers begin with, say, Schubert who bridges the 
Classic and Romantic styles. When I grew up in Vienna I was taught that 
Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven were THE classic composers. Of course that was 
a long time ago, and musicologists (which I'm not) or music lovers (which
I am) may have as many opinions on this topic as Leicaphiles have on
lenses etc.
Oliver Bryk"

It is a bit of a question of what you wish to emphasize about Beethoven's 
music whether you see him as of the classical tradition (which he certainly 
was) or as a proto-Romantic. In terms of forms and techniques, he stretched 
the classic tradition to it's limit.

Poetically, he went further. Just consider a couple titles. We have Haydn's 
symphony "The Clock," so called because of - I don't remember - a tick-tock 
motif in one part? Contrast that with the title for Beethoven's 3rd, 
"Eroica." The historical, social and philosophical meanings that underlay 
that title, and the extramusical meaning of the piece which would have been 
astonishing to Haydn, places Ludwig in a whole new era.

You could say that Schubert and the rest tried to make the musical language 
catch up to the poetic possibilities that Beethoven introduced. In that 
sense of technical development, Schubert was a transitional figure, though 
it's not fair to ignore other's contributions or the general tide of music 
in that period.

It seems that most of us were taught about these things in terms of rigid 
boundaries between styles and periods, whether it was painting or music or 
whatever. Often, too much emphasis was put on the few outstanding figures, 
making it seem they were solely responsible what came to be. But that 
approach was mostly for the convenience of teachers. Much more meaning can 
be found in trying to appreciate the gradual changes and simultaneous 
currents that is the real experience of artists.

Best wishes,

Carl (also not a musicologist)

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