2011年3月11日 星期五

Beethoven's Influences of Symphony - 1

前言: 我已經常常說,香港的現代教育,簡直是混賬到極,不知所謂到不能忍受的地步。香港那所訓練未來老師的最高學府裡頭的 "教授" 們給了 assignment 同學,又驚同學們沒有時間做,又驚他們不識做,又驚題目出得深,就說叫他們抄書就可以了。我有一位私人學生急急 call 我,並告訴我看完 Palisca 那本 History textbook 天書,都沒有直接答案談及有 Beethoven 對後世音樂 和音樂家的影響。現在是江湖告急。嗚呼! 連那些修音樂為主科的學位學生,隨口也不能 present 十分鐘有關貝多芬對音樂的貢獻和影響,還敢說自己是讀音樂,懂音樂的嗎? 看著書本也不懂 "抄",(應該是偷),怎辦? 我們常說,熟讀唐書三百首,不會吟詩也會 "抄" 嘛。坦白說,平時我指導這些私人學生,也常常提及不同作曲家和作品的風格特色和對後世的貢獻。些個同學是學 AMusTCL 考試研習的,Set piece 是 Schubert 的第五交響曲,我也談及過這首作品和 Beethoven 的交響作品的相同和不同的關係。我也曾教過同學,舒氏一生以 Beethoven 這位同期的前輩大師為學習對象,連死前也想學習 Counterpoint (這是Beethoven 最精,但 Schubert 最弱的技巧),皆因要寫偉大的交響曲,沒有精練的對位技巧是不行的。可是同學們就當私人老師是補鑊助理,"求其" 要他們改改 past paper 就算是跟他們學了。他們就只關心學校是否給他們一張證書,所以對校內的課就比較認真,私人嘛....嘿嘿....


Carl Dahlhaus suggested that the development of  symphony in the Romantic period could be described as circum-polar; composers had to response to or answer to, to more or less, the challenges and new trends by Beethoven. The following discussion is the Beethovean influences of the development of symphony.

First, large scale, and longer work: All symphonies have to be extended in order to express the aesthetics of  Romantic Sublimity. One of the elements that Romantic composers to deal with this expression was to create longer and larger work. In reception to  Beethoven's lengthly symphony ninth, Malher, for instance, created symphonies of almost double the length of his predecessor.

Second, greater emotional contrasts: Emotinal content  of the materials ranged more widely than that used in the Classical symphony. Thanks should go to the emergence of the liberal humantistic idea of Individualism in 19th century Europe. Greater and deeper explorations on individual inner emotions were demanded by artists in their artistic creations, claiming for the relief of one's sentimental burdens and immersed unexplainable passions. The common saying, " I am not the best, though, I am different"  was undoubtedly the incentive for composers seeking their inner emotional expressions through the media of musical art. Symphony, regarded as the highest form of all arts, was taken-for-granted to act as a sharp weapon  to achieve this purpose. Beethoven not only expressed his "giant-tyrant" like personality and zeals through his "heroic" symphonies, such as symphony no. 3 and no. 5, but also exerted a large  impact on the later followed composers to investigate their thoughts, ideals and dreams of a higher socio-political level through the musical genre of symphony. Mendelossohn's Symphony 5, Reformation, for instance, can be regarded as a response to the political turmoil  of the Post-revolutionary period in the 19th century Europe.

Third, Beethoven established the uniqueness of each symphony: each symphony had different aims and confronts different problems: What is a symphony? When classical composers seek to maintain a balance form and shape of a symphony with the use of sonata-allegro form as the first movement, then following by a contrast lyrical slow movment,  Beethoven attempted to extend such a rigid genre and structure by adding more weights on the coda and the last two movments. He replaced scherzo for Haydnean minuet, showing his inventive, however courageous, experiment to challenge the classical formality. How about the classical point of view of the balance of keys? What is the ultimate goal for such balance and well-proportion? Composers after Beeethoven would not hestitate to write any form of symphonic music that went far beyond the boundary of a conventional musical genre. If Beethoven could complete a symphony in five movements (symphony no. 6), instead of a standardized balance form of four movements, why not me! Perhaps, this can help us understand why Schubert 's symphony 5 in Bb major broke the normal rule of a sonata principle that the recapituation section returns in subdominant key, instead of the normal tonic key. It seems that this breakthrough just wanted to inform Schubert;s contemporary audience that there is no need to reolve dominant to tonic in sonata principle.

Fourth, The whole symphony becomes unified through its developing emotional content, outlining a psychological journey: To Haydn and Mozart of the Classical period, symphony, was not more than an instrumental piece to let different sounds sounding together. They wrote symphony for the patrons, for the rising middle-class  concerts. They wrote because audience liked it. Beethoven, on the other hand, wrote symphony for himself. According to Sir Grove,  Beethoven's music never failed to depict a protrait of Beethoven himself. Symphony no. 3, for instance, although was written originally for the dedication to Bonaparte, an ideal hero liberating the layman people from political monarchy, was undoubtedly a sonic image of Beethoven himself. The music of this "Heroic" symphony can be realized as four stage of the growth of hero, say, first movement, is the born of a naive hero,  second movement, is the dead of  hero, third, is the resurrection of hero, and then the finale is the  triumphant of hero. While Beethoven wrote symphony to seek the issue of hero, Gustav Mahler, on the other hand, followed Beethoven to transcend symphony as a medium to explore the issues of life and death. Richard Strauss, though he wrote symphonic poem, instead of a conventional symphonic genre, tended to complete the 'definition' of 'Hero', after Beethoven's attempt to do so, in his famous work 'Heldenleben', 'The Life of a Hero.' True, Beethovean effects prevails every sorts of musical work, ranging from a tiny toy-like miniature to a monumental symphony in the19th century up to the 20th century.

To Be Continued...........待續

David Leung (theorydavid)

2011-03-11 (published)