Beethoven
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Beethoven

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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Beethoven, by George Alexander FischerThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and withalmost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away orre-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.netTitle: BeethovenAuthor: George Alexander FischerRelease Date: February 22, 2005 [eBook #15141]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ISO-8859-1***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK BEETHOVEN***E-text prepared by Juliet Sutherland, Karina Aleksandrova, Ralph Janke,and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading TeamNote: Project Gutenberg also has an HTML version of this file which includes sound files and the original illustrations. See 15141-h.htm or 15141-h.zip: (http://www.gutenberg.net/dirs/1/5/1/4/15141/15141-h/15141-h.htm) or (http://www.gutenberg.net/dirs/1/5/1/4/15141/15141-h.zip)Transcriber's Notes: 1. Corrected spelling of Maelzel's invention in one place from 'Panharmonican' to 'Panharmonicon'. 2. In the index, corrected 'Krumpholtz' to 'Krumpholz', 'Origen of the dance' to 'Origin of the dance', and 'Neafe' to 'Neefe'.BEETHOVENA Character Study together with Wagner's Indebtedness to BeethovenbyGEORGE ALEXANDER FISCHEREs kann die Spur von meinen ErdentagenNicht in Aeonen untergehn. ...

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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Beethoven, by George Alexander Fischer This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: Beethoven Author: George Alexander Fischer Release Date: February 22, 2005 [eBook #15141] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 ***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK BEETHOVEN*** E-text prepared by Juliet Sutherland, Karina Aleksandrova, Ralph Janke, and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team Note: Project Gutenberg also has an HTML version of this file which includes sound files and the original illustrations. See 15141-h.htm or 15141-h.zip: (http://www.gutenberg.net/dirs/1/5/1/4/15141/15141-h/15141-h.htm) or (http://www.gutenberg.net/dirs/1/5/1/4/15141/15141-h.zip) Transcriber's Notes: 1. Corrected spelling of Maelzel's invention in one place from 'Panharmonican' to 'Panharmonicon'. 2. In the index, corrected 'Krumpholtz' to 'Krumpholz', 'Origen of the dance' to 'Origin of the dance', and 'Neafe' to 'Neefe'. BEETHOVEN A Character Study together with Wagner's Indebtedness to Beethoven by GEORGE ALEXANDER FISCHER Es kann die Spur von meinen Erdentagen Nicht in Aeonen untergehn. GOETHE. New York Dodd, Mead and Company The Trow Press, New York 1905 [Illustration: BEETHOVEN] TO THE MEMORY OF My father CONTENTS CHAPTER I. Early Promise II. The Morning of Life III. The New Path IV. Heroic Symphony V. Fidelio VI. The Eternal Feminine VII. Victory from Defeat VIII. Meeting with Goethe IX. Optimistic Trend X. At the Zenith of His Fame XI. Methods of Composition XII. Sense of Humor XIII. Missa Solemnis XIV. Ninth Symphony XV. Capacity for Friendship XVI. The Day's Trials XVII. Last Quartets XVIII. In the Shadows XIX. Life's Purport WAGNER'S INDEBTEDNESS TO BEETHOVEN INDEX CHAPTER I EARLY PROMISE God acts upon earth only by means of superior chosen men. --HERDER: _Ideas Toward a History of Mankind_. As life broadens with advancing culture, and people are able to appropriate to themselves more of the various forms of art, the artist himself attains to greater power, his abilities increase in direct ratio with the progress in culture made by the people and their ability to comprehend him. When one side or phase of an art comes to be received, new and more difficult problems are invariably presented, the elucidation of which can only be effected by a higher development of the faculties. There is never an approach to equilibrium between the artist and his public. As it advances in knowledge of his art, he maintains the want of balance, the disproportion that always exists between the genius and the ordinary man, by rising ever to greater heights. If Bach is the mathematician of music, as has been asserted, Beethoven is its philosopher. In his work the philosophic spirit comes to the fore. To the genius of the musician is added in Beethoven a wide mental grasp, an altruistic spirit, that seeks to help humanity on the upward path. He addresses the intellect of mankind. Up to Beethoven's time musicians in general (Bach is always an exception) performed their work without the aid of an intellect for the most part; they worked by intuition. In everything outside their art they were like children. Beethoven was the first one having the independence to think for himself--the first to have ideas on subjects unconnected with his art. He it was who established the dignity of the artist over that of the simply well-born. His entire life was a protest against the pretensions of birth over mind. His predecessors, to a great extent subjugated by their social superiors, sought only to please. Nothing further was expected of them. This mental attitude is apparent in their work. The language of the courtier is usually polished, but will never have the virility that characterizes the speech of the free man. As with all valuable things, however, Beethoven's music is not to be enjoyed for nothing. We must on our side contribute something to the enterprise, something more than simply buying a ticket to the performance. We must study his work in the right spirit, and place ourselves in a receptive attitude when listening to it to understand his message. Often metaphysical, particularly in the work of his later years, his meaning will be revealed only when we devote to it earnest and sympathetic study. No other composer demands so much of one; no other rewards the student so richly for the effort required. The making a fact the subject of thought vitalizes it. It is as if the master had said to the aspirant: "I will admit you into the ranks of my disciples, but you must first prove yourself worthy." An initiation is necessary; somewhat of the intense mental activity which characterized Beethoven in the composition of his works is required of the student also. There is a tax imposed for the enjoyment of them. Like Thoreau, Beethoven came on the world's stage "just in the nick of time," and almost immediately had to begin hewing out a path for himself. He was born in the workshop, as was Mozart, and learned music simultaneously with speaking. Stirring times they were in which he first saw the light, and so indeed continued with ever-increasing intensity, like a good drama, until nearly his end. The American Revolution became an accomplished fact during his boyhood. Nearer home, events were fast coming to a focus, which culminated in the French Revolution. The magic words, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, and the ideas for which they stood, were everywhere in the minds of the people. The age called for enlightenment, spiritual growth. On reaching manhood, he found a world in transition; he realized that he was on the threshold of a new order of things, and with ready prescience took advantage of such as could be utilized in his art. Through Beethoven the resources of the orchestra were increased, an added range was given the keyboard of the piano, the human voice was given tasks that at the time seemed impossible of achievement. He established the precedent, which Wagner acted on later, of employing the human voice as a tool, an instrument, to be used in the exigencies of his art, as if it were a part of the orchestra. Beethoven's birthplace, Bonn, no doubt proved a favorable soil for the propagation of the new ideas. The unrest pervading all classes, an outcome of the Revolution, showed itself among the more serious-minded in increased intellectuality, and a reaching after higher things. This _Zeitgeist_ is clearly reflected in his compositions, in particular the symphonies and sonatas. "Under the lead of Italian vocalism," said Wagner, speaking of the period just preceding the time of which we write, "music had become an art of sheer agreeableness." The beautiful in music had been sufficiently exploited by Mozart and Haydn. Beethoven demonstrated that music has a higher function than that of mere