Chapter

Beethoven as Secular Humanist

Ruth A. Solie

in Music in Other Words

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780520238459
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930063 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520238459.003.0002
Beethoven as Secular Humanist

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This chapter exhibits the link between music and religious, philosophical, and political ideologies during the nineteenth century in Europe. Nineteenth-century compositions gradually became larger, as audiences became accustomed to concert-going as a mass social activity. The anti-Wagnerian Selmar Bagge characterizes Beethoven's forms as fairly usual with some modifications, identifying the finale as a fantasy to which the composer has joined aspects of variation in form. Exegeses or “programs” of the Ninth Sympathy fall roughly categorized into four sections that include search narratives, creation myths, accounts that interpret the piece as autobiographical on Beethoven's part, and those that content themselves with more general assessments of moral instruction. The catalog of exegetic excess mentioned by Schumann in connection with the Ninth Symphony involves the creation myth, which is a prominent one. The Ninth gave rise to an apparently unique fictional genre, a collection of originary myths focusing on that work itself.

Keywords: Ninth Symphony; creation myths; instrumental music; melodic structures; symphonic messages

Chapter.  16957 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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