عنوان مقاله [English]
It is undeniable that an artist’s everyday life directly affects his/her artistic creations: art is not notional, a phenomenon that is produced impervious to other phenomena and/or created in a void without bearing relations to the artist’s life experience. In the case of Beethoven’s music, this is quite pronounced. His music is idiosyncratic and the weight of its creator upon them can be felt in every moment of the performance.
As a piano player, I have always found Beethoven’s music fascinating and challenging at the same time. One question in particular demonstrates the character of this challenge best: «How can one approach Beethoven’s œuvre?» More simply put: ‘How can I perform his music?’ Beethoven’s music possesses certain unique features; and the large and weighty shadow of the composer is always looming over the player in all moments of performance. It might be beneficial to players and performers to have a better understanding of this composer’s mentality, temper and disposition, as it could pave the way for better interpretations of his work. Of all the composers in the Romantic period, Beethoven was the first to influence and even dominate the classical music scene of the nineteenth century. Sensitive, yet passionate and driven, he (was a man who) shouldered the weight of his life’s hardships and afflictions. He was excitable, irritable and quick to take offense. His periods of depression were often accompanied by suicidal tendencies. It could be inferred from his letters that he showed little patience when faced with life’s difficulties; when angry, not even his brother Karl was safe from getting a beating at his hands, nor servants from him throwing this or that household item at them. He never married but had several love affairs, including one with a married woman whom we know as « ? » today. Beethoven has written her three love letters imbued with emotion and infatuation. He loved drinking wine and this same substance came to be his undoing. By the age of fifty-six, he was suffering from liver cirrhosis which was the cause of his death. Beethoven’s works for piano, till today, remain among the most important and essential in the classical piano repertoire.
To better understand and interpret his work, performers ought to have a grasp of his mindset and character, his illnesses, and most importantly, his hearing loss. Beethoven has created the most significant works for piano, and it is difficult to exaggerate the influence he has had on improving the techniques of piano performance. After his total hearing loss, Beethoven’s contact with society was through his written works, which provide a valuable insight into his latter-day mindset and character.
This article will first offer a sketch of Beethoven’s life experience through his correspondences and notes and then explores his musical innovations (especially in the development section) as well as his compositional style. Finally, one of his most influential pieces for piano, Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57, also known as the ‘Appassionata’ is studied.