The historical influences on the works for violin and orchestra by Ludwig van Beethoven
Doctor of Musical Arts
Many nineteenth-century creative artists saw in Beethoven a substantiation of their own aesthetic ideals and propagated a "mythical" Beethoven who was unique in every respect of compositional styles and forms of music. This incorrect concept has continued to affect our understanding of the Classical period and many significant composers, of whom Beethoven was just one of them, were unduly ignored. Furthermore, this has also influenced our interpretations of Beethoven's music. This present document seeks to place Beethoven's works for the violin and orchestra in a correct historical perspective. These works include an incomplete version of the Konzertsatz (probably composed between 1790 to 1792), the two Romances in G major and F major, Op. 40 and 50; and the incomparable violin concerto Op. 61. Preceding the discussions of these works is a brief outline of the development of the concerto form from Giuseppe Torelli to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The mature Classical concerto form which Beethoven used can best be defined as the ritornello-sonata form, a unique combination of the Baroque ritornello form and the Classical sonata principle. Subsequently, four violin concertos from the French Violin School (Giovanni Battista Viotti's concertos no. 22 and 23, Pierre Rode's concerto no. 7 and Rodolphe Kreutzer's concerto no. 19) are analyzed and compared with Beethoven's music. Many technical and formal similarities are detected between them. This research has also resulted in several practical applications in performing Beethoven's music. Placing Beethoven in the right context will free us from an over-cautious attitude towards his music. We should approach his music in the same way as composers such as Clementi or Viotti. In addition, since it is apparent that Beethoven was attempting to write virtuoso violin music in the style of the French concertos, we should bestow upon them a virtuosic flair in order to do the music justice. Other performance suggestions include the discerning use of vibrato and the feeling of pulses instead of beats.
Music; Music education