By Stephen Rumph
During this provocative research of Beethoven's overdue sort, Stephen Rumph demonstrates how deeply political occasions formed the composer's song, from his early enthusiasm for the French Revolution to his later entrenchment in the course of the Napoleonic period. remarkable in its breadth of study in addition to for its devotion to interdisciplinary paintings in tune background, Beethoven after Napoleon demanding situations approved perspectives through illustrating the impact of German Romantic political notion within the formation of the artist's mature type. Beethoven's political beliefs, Rumph argues, weren't fairly as liberal as many have assumed. whereas students agree that the works of the Napoleonic period corresponding to the Eroica Symphony or Fidelio include enlightened, innovative beliefs of development, freedom, and humanism, Beethoven's later works have attracted much less political statement. Rumph contends that the later works express transparent affinities with a local German ideology that exalted historical past, faith, and the natural totality of country and society. He claims that because the Napoleonic Wars plunged Europe into political and fiscal turmoil, Beethoven's transforming into antipathy to the French reflected the adventure of his Romantic contemporaries. Rumph keeps that Beethoven's flip inward is not any pessimistic retreat yet a good confirmation of recent conservative beliefs.
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Additional resources for Beethoven after Napoleon: Political Romanticism in the Late Works
Jean-Jacques Rousseau best summed up this mimetic aesthetic: “By imitating the inﬂections of the voice, melody expresses pity, cries of sorrow and joy, threats and groans”; harmony, he declared, “shackles melody, draining it of energy and expressiveness. ” “Christian-modern” music, on the other hand, aspired to the transcendent unity of harmony. 30 Hoffmann stays true to his aesthetic convictions in the Fifth Symphony review. He ignores the mimetic, gestural content of Beethoven’s themes and focuses instead on the underlying sources of musical unity.
50). He remarks of the opening of the symphony that A Kingdom Not of This World / 29 there is no simpler idea than that on which Beethoven has based his entire Allegro, and one perceives with astonishment how he was able to link all the subsidiary ideas and episodes to this simple theme by their rhythmic relation, so that they serve to unfold more and more the overall character of the movement, which that theme by itself could only hint at. (p. 43) It is interesting that, for all his fascination with Beethoven’s theme, Hoffmann remarks only on its negative qualities: its lack of harmonic deﬁnition (“even the key is not yet certain; the listener assumes E major”), and incompleteness (“one would believe that from such elements only something fragmentary and difficult to grasp could arise”).
7. “Ja, herrlich, unerschüttert, kühn Stand einst der Deutsche da; Ach! über schwanke Trümmer ziehn Verhängnißvolle Sterne hin. ” (1. There on the high cliff sang an ancient bard’s spirit; it sounded like the music of an Aeolian harp in a fearful, heavy dirge that tore my heart apart . . . . . . . 5. “I am seeking, indeed, but ﬁnd no longer, Alas! the past. I see, indeed, so fearfully and heavily, I seek there in the host of stars, the golden age of the Germans” . . . . . . .