This is the main output of Beethoven's last ten years:
Opus 106 (Piano Sonata) Opus 109 (piano sonata) Opus 110 (piano sonata) Opus 111 (piano sonata) Opus 123 (a mass, the Missa Solemnis) Opus 125 (9th Symphony, with the chorus at the end) Opus 127 (String Quartet) Opus 130 (String Quartet Opus 131 (String Quartet Opus 132 (String Quartet) Opus 135 (String Quartet)
I’ve been a classical music fan for 12 years, and I was familiar with the above works for the majority of that time, but my appreciation of them has grown exponentially in the past year that the epiphany of connecting with them is almost equivalent to the epiphany of connecting with classical music itself. They are works I regard with the utmost awe and make me worshipful of the single individual I worship in history.
DOES ANYONE ELSE HERE CONNECT WITH THESE WORKS?
DO YOU CONNECT WITH THESE STUNNING AND HEARTBREAKING VARIATIONS FROM THE FINALE OF THE OPUS 109 SONATA?
THE DAZZLING SO CALLED “BOOGIE-WOOGIE VARIATION” FROM THE FINALE OF THE OPUS 111 SONATA AND EVERYTHING THAT FOLLOWS IS IT, MINUTES OF UTTER TRANSCENDENCE AND SUBLIMITY THE PINNACLE OF WHICH NO ARTIST HAS EVER REACHED AGAIN?
And Beethoven was an extremely difficult person, on multiple levels.
But nobody yet has topped his 5th or 7th symphonies, IMHO. And the 2nd movements of the Moonlight and Pathetique sonatas are....there are no words. It's like they were composed by higher beings.
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The key thing about Beethoven's 9 Symphonies is that they're all...every single one...so unique and different that it's really hard picking a favorite. However Beethoven, when asked later in his life, said the Eroica (the 3rd) was his best.
Yes, Beethoven was a solipsistic individual and a conceited boor who knew he was extraordinarily gifted and acted like it. Yet he suffered through various and interminable illnesses through his lifetime (aside from the deafness) and was such an incredibly hard worker that his life story can't help but be inspiring. Recommend the bios by Lewis Lockwood and Jan Swafford (this one is a tome, the other one is more concise.)
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Thank you. Um, I was really high when I made the OP.
Here's a really cool lecture on the middle movement of the opus 132 string quartet that LvB titled A Convalescent's Holy Song of Thanksgiving to the Divinity, in the Lydian Mode. He became really ill when he was writing the opus 132 string quartet and thought he was finally going to die, but after recovering he inserted this movement into the work he was already composing.
This is an excellent book as well. I listened to the Audible.com version which was very excellently read. The last 30 minutes or so had me in tears as the author got very personal about what Beethoven has meant to him. Apparently, Beethoven inspired him to be true to himself, so he fled to Europe rather than fight in Vietnam which he was drafted for.