Ludwig van Beethoven: Icon and Individual Summary
Regarded as one of the iconic composers of classical music, Louis Van Beethoven was born in 1770 in the city of Bonn, Germany. He is a son of a tenor and began his musical training at an early age. Under the training of Herr Neefe, Beethoven learned to play the clavier where his career as a musician officially started. After arriving in in Vienna in 1787, Beethoven met Mozart where the latter remarked that the former would sure to create a name for him self in the world. Anecdotes of Beethoven’s life and career suggest that he was able to establish his reputation by working with selling his compositions to publishers. Although Beethoven was never married, his greatest concern is towards his brothers and nephew named Karl and while in Heiligenstadt. 25 years after writing the Heiligenstadt Testament, Beethoven died, but most of his best-known works were composed during this period. The letter itself was regarded as among the documents that portray Beethoven’s alienated nature as an artist and assumptions were even made that Beethoven’s reputation might have been different if he had died in 1802.
The expression of the sublime: Goethe and Shubert, Erlkonig
Kant described beauty in the context of musical art form in terms of boundaries and limitations. The contrasted notion of beauty according to Kant is that sublime conforms to no limitations and boundaries and, therefore without form. Although art and all its forms be it, music, painting, poem or sculpture does not always appeal the same on every person. This is because sublime is a pleasure that is earnest in ones imaginative affairs. The context of sublime then becomes closely associated to arts in the works of Franz Schubert after setting Goethe’s poem “Erlkonig” that encompasses Kant’s part of the sublime as fear, death, and forces beyond human control that is almost suggesting a supernatural story. This is because Schubert’s work in Goethe’s poem can be interpreted in more ways than one and the limitations of sublime rest upon one’s imagination. Furthermore, satisfaction of pleasure provided by the poem can either be coming from the beauty of its setting or from the sense implied by the sublime. Schubert set the contrast to Goethe’s poem by employing harmonious construction of pitches and pieces of sounds with suggestions of drone bass of the organ-grinder instrument accompanied by constantly fifth sounding piano.
Talking about the sublime, Emmanuel Kant describes the word in one of his famous quotes that sublime is as absolute as beauty because sublime itself represents the definition of absolute beauty. The two categories such as mathematically sublime and the dynamically sublime both encompasses the experience of superiority of reason over the nature. In making judgment of the sublime there is a great regard given to the object as contrapurposive instead of purposive. While objects can be correctly referred to as beautiful, they cannot always be called sublime because sublimity does not exist in them, but rather a product of the faculty of our imagination. Therefore, the sublime is an interpretation of validity in which the object being described is being placed in absolute level of beauty depending on the eyes of the beholder.
In terms of the excerpt from the Beethoven’s The Heiligenstadt Testament, which is a letter by Beethoven to his brothers Johann and Carl, it is remarkable to denote that despite the artistic achievement of the author, the letter still stands as a tribute to the salvation of power of virtue that provides insights the dilemmas of suffering. For many, living means having to face terrible burdens and adversities that certainly belong to the path of everyone’s life. Regardless of the success obtained, difficult trials are often the driving factor that expresses depth and the artistic expression of one’s innermost being. After discovering that Beethoven is losing his hearing in his 28th birthday, he suddenly brought to a sudden trouble of sustaining his strength to continue with his passion. Beethoven’s aggravated situation brought him to pour his heart in the letter to his brothers, which in the most reasonable opinion suggests a sublime demonstration of poetic expression of agony and suffering.
Final Assessment of the Readings
After careful contemplation on the readings, the pieces of writing appeared to convey a mix of collective concepts pertaining to arts, music, philosophy, and poetry. The book in general encompasses a different meaning at first glance, given that the title itself is not an obvious giveaway. Ways of listening misleads the reader into thinking that the contents of it will drown the reader into technicalities, terminologies, and theoretical underpinnings of auditory experience. However, as one go through the book, there is a clear validation of the author’s intention when calling the literature ways of listening. This is because the embedded concepts in the book does not typically demonstrates the obvious anticipation of its content, but rather a more symbolic representation on the journey towards the classical arts and encountering textual analogies of listening through other forms of art, in poetry, philosophy, and reasoning. The readings at first are quite difficult to follow due to prior anticipation of its content. However, transitioning from one page to another revels the underlying context of the reading and how each relates to the whole. On a personal note, the readings would be a challenge to average readers because of the complex thoughts poured into it.