Category Archives: Ludwig van Beethoven

The Short Version: Self Assessment

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Any prolific composer could surprise us with how they rank their own works. Perhaps it’s as simple and as compelling as “What have I done lately?” This 19th century Titan might have dismissed one of our favorites with, “That’s so 1808.”

Beethoven the Charismatic!

On Saturday December 17th, 2011 erstwhile SNL cast member Jimmy Fallon returns as host. He is known for his wonderful impersonations and also his self-imposed laughter.

However, Fallon was able to keep his composure this past Saturday when he added Ludwig van Beethoven to his list of impersonations!

Beethoven is seen introducing the “band” to the newly composed Variations on “Ode to Joy” orchestral suite with the familiar Beethovean smooth jazz flavor!

Quite funny for both music aficionados, music lovers and classical music laymen alike!

Seven More Days Until Beethoven's Birthday (More or Less)

A week from today (December 16) is Beethoven’s birthday. As pointed out by Lucy in this classic strip, we don’t really know this. What we do know is that Beethoven was baptized on the 17th of December, and Catholic children were traditionally baptized on the day following birth.

The Peanuts has a online museum dedicated to Schultz and — by proxy — Schroder’s love of classical music in general and Beethoven in particular; including clips of the music played in the comic strips.

Low Cal Beethoven

It was common practice in Beethoven’s day to arrange large scale works for smaller forces. After all, getting to the concert hall wasn’t always possible, so this allowed amateur musicians to experience great music right in their homes.

Beethoven’s assistant, Ferdinand Ries arranged the “Eroica” Symphony for piano quartet, and you’ll hear an exclusive performance by the Mozart Piano Quartet, recorded live last July at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in Northern Germany.

Stay up late tonight for our weekly Euro Classic – just after midnight (12:05am, Thursday).

Here's Your Moment of Beethoven

Recently, a colleague of mine stopped me in the hall to ask about a certain piece of classical music that had grabbed his attention. And a little later, another colleague stopped me in the hall, with a similar question.

They were asking about the same piece.

It doesn’t have a snappy title like “The Four Seasons” or “Peter and the Wolf.” At the beginning, you might not know quite what to make of it. But in its enigmatic way, it’s one of the most attention-getting pieces in classical music.

It’s the second movement from Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, and in honor of that coincidence, I thought it was worth passing on.

Mixed Reviews for Beethoven on Broadway

Back in November I posted a note about 33 Variations, a play about a musicologist trying to unravel one last Beethoven mystery before she dies.

Well, the play has opened, and the reviews suggest the show has a lot of potential, but doesn’t quite soar:

From the New York Times (registration required): “Ms. [Jane] Fonda’s layered crispness is, I regret to add, a contrast to Mr. Kaufman’s often soggy play…”

From the Washington Post: “On this occasion, [Jane Fonda] not only manages to transcend time, but also the material. For ’33 Variations’ . . . marks a pleasing Broadway return for Fonda, even if it’s little more than a handsomely annotated music lesson.”