Tag Archives: Ludwig van Beethoven

🎻♫♪ – Symphony No. 6 by Ludwig van Beethoven

List Item: Listen to half of the 1001 Classical Works You Must Hear Before You Die
 33/501Title: Symphony No. 6
Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
Nationality: German

Well, I did say that I was going to try and cross off all the Fantasia pieces before progressing further in the 1001 Classical Works list – so today’s post will be awash with multi-coloured pegasi and centaurs depicting racial stereotypes.

Symphony No. 6 has the secondary title of the Pastoral Symphony as it is meant to evoke thoughts of the goings on in the countryside. Each movement (of the five in total) is written to depict events; unusual for Beethoven who worked more melodically and abstractly.

If you have seen Fantasia you’ll know exactly the images that Beethoven tried to create, but even without the help of Disney there is a lot you could get when given the secondary title. The fact that the first three lead into a grand party celebrating the great outdoors (I imagined it as a celebration of the first blossom as a signifier of the end of winter) is showcased by the jubilance of the woodwinds and brass section.

It’s the fourth section, which depicts a thunderstorm, where I fell back into the Disney images. The infant pegasus being tossed about by the wind and the unicorn foal trapped by the rising river were images too strong to be ignored (probably because I used to find them upsetting). Even with those images in mind it’s hard to deny the power of the timpani in it’s role of the striking lightning (all the more powerful as this is the only movement featuring percussion).

Did I get more out of this listen because this is a piece I knew and could focus on more minute details? Maybe, but that doesn’t stop this being an interesting, enjoyable and worthy piece of classical music. There’s still a lot more Fantasia to go, so let’s see which way I go next time.


🎻♫♪ – Violin Sonata No. 9 by Ludwig Van Beethoven

List Item: Listen to half of the 1001 Classical Works You Must Hear Before You Die
 13/501Title: Violin Sonata in A major, op. 47, “Kreutzer”
Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
Nationality: German

So here we are again, a classical piece that has been played because of its inclusion in Your Lie In AprilIn the context of the show this is a rather important piece because it’s the first piece that we see Kaori and Kousei playing together. Well, we see the first movement being played. Still, it’s a good way to demonstrate the skill of both the pianist and violinist.

Speaking of skill, how can someone be playing this sonata for ~40 minutes. The skill required to master the complexity of this piece is astonishing. I think that with this being the first violin I listen to for this list I am setting the standard rather unfairly.

Not only is this piece complex, but it is also incredibly varied. The first movement is energetic, the second meditiative and the third quick-pace and appears to be almost gleeful. I don’t know if this is because of my exposure to Your Lie In April talking, but I do prefer the first movement. The quickness and the plucking as well as the (in my opinion) closer interplay between the violin and piano just sparkles.

So, there is a reason that this is named the Kreutzer sonata. Originally this was dedicated to a violinist called Bridgetower (which would make this the Bridgetower sonata). However, Beethoven and Bridgetower got into a fighter over alcohol and a woman so Beethoven re-dedicated it to another prominent violinist: Kreutzer. I love little stories like that. Helps to make this piece feel so alive.

I think I’m going to go back to an older piece now. Now that I’ve felt something like this sonata, it might help give more context to the origins of classical music.