Today: Rehearsal. Then I’ll finish packing for Japan.
Been listening to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra with Karajan conducting. 1977. I have read that some cynics claim he recorded the symphony at such brisk tempi because the record company needed to fit it on an LP. But an LP can’t deliver 66 minutes of music anyway and this recording was made 7 years before CDs were available. I just think the orchestra, in true Beethoven spirit, wanted to rock the house… and THIS DOES! I love the second movement. From wikipedia:
The second movement, a scherzo, is also in D minor, with the opening theme bearing a passing resemblance to the opening theme of the first movement, a pattern also found in the Hammerklavier piano sonata, written a few years earlier. It uses propulsive rhythms and a timpani solo.
It uses propulsive rhythms and a timpani solo. It’s rock and roll, two hundred years ago.
I looked at the score and yes, the (((second))) movement is written as a very fast 3/4 (triple time). For me, it’s easier to hear it in a slower 4/4. You heard it that way too, right? (((Yes, I did)))
So, when the timpani sound like they are playing rock n roll backbeats- it is written as the downbeat of every second measure of three. Or- when the pulse sounds like Trip-a-let, Trip-a-let, Trip-a-let, Trip-a-let, (eighth note triplets in the slower 4/4) it is written 123, 123, 123, 123 (fast 3/4) The measure are flying by!
I don’t know what a Scherzi was supposed to sound like before this, but if LVB wanted to have the section effectively be in 4/4, he did it in such a way as to still technically be in 3/4… Hope this isn’t confusing- I’ll show you the score tomorrow.
Beethoven had been criticised before for failing to adhere to standard form for his compositions. He used this movement to answer his critics. Normally, Scherzi are written in triple time. Beethoven wrote this piece in triple time, but it is punctuated in a way that, when coupled with the speed of the metre, makes it sound as though it is in quadruple time.
Good old Ludwig Van… like I said – Rock & Roll!
One night last week:
That might make a nice large-scale painting. Some of the reflections already look like brush-strokes.
The Fun Theory:
More about Fun Theory here.