This is why Beethoven's music is so fascinating

Beethoven left no stone unturned in classical music. He worked hard on that.

By Beethoven-House Bonn

Beethoven-House Bonn

Why was Beethoven's music so good?

His creativity and originality made Beethoven one of the most important artists in music history. But why is Beethoven's music so good?

Symphony No. 6 (F-Dur) on. 68 (Pastoral)Beethoven-House Bonn

Hard Work

Beethoven's scores look like battlefields. From the first sketch to the finished score, many steps are needed.

Symphony No. 6 (F-Dur) on. 68 (Pastoral)Beethoven-House Bonn

Working on the best possible version

Beethoven struggled with himself and his perfectionism. The handwriting of his 6th symphony, the "Pastorale", shows how much effort the last and best version cost him.

Sonata for piano (A major) op. 101Beethoven-House Bonn

Discarded notes

Beethoven's writing was often so illegible that even his copyists had difficulties in transferring the notes into fair copy.

Symphony No. 6 (F-Dur) on. 68 (Pastoral)Beethoven-House Bonn

Corrections in red

In the final step, Beethoven uses red mineral paint to draw in necessary changes. While Mozart wrote one composition after the other, Beethoven struggles to find the last valid version.

Symphony No. 6 (F-Dur) on. 68 (Pastoral)Beethoven-House Bonn

Fireworks with many effects

In the second movement of the symphony, Beethoven inserts birdcalls. He instructs his copyist: "write the word nightingale, quail, /cuckoo in the first / flute, in the first oboe, in the first / and second clarinet, just like this in / the score"

And this is what the birdcalls sound like in the orchestra

Symphony No. 6 (F-Dur) on. 68 (Pastoral)Beethoven-House Bonn

Thunder and lightning

In the symphony's fourth movement, Beethoven creates a threatening thunderstorm mood with the low strings and timpani, which then unleashes itself in a great thunder with all instruments.

And this is how the thunderstorm sounds with a whole orchestra

Rudolph (1788-1831), Archduke of Austria, Cardinal and Archbishop of Olomouc since 1819 (1823) by Friedrich Johann Gottlieb LiederBeethoven-House Bonn

Bigger, louder, longer!

Beethoven always went one step further than his predecessors. For almost four years he worked on his "Missa Solemnis". It was actually supposed to be the coronation mass for Archduke Rudolph of Austria, but Beethoven delayed the composition more and more. And when it was finally finished, it broke all musical specifications of a pure "mass". Instead, it was performed as a sacred concert.

Mass for four solo voices, choir, orchestra and organ (D major) op. 123 (Missa solemnis)Beethoven-House Bonn

Huge scores

Beethoven wanted to express himself more strongly than any of his predecessors. That is why he needed more instruments than his predecessors.

Mass for four solo voices, choir, orchestra and organ (D major) op. 123 (Missa solemnis) CredoBeethoven-House Bonn

More instruments than fit on one sheet 

Because Beethoven needed more instruments than the score could show on one page, the trombone parts are marked in red here. 

Breathtaking beauty

In the "Hosanna" the different choir voices begin one after the other. A fascinating mesh of music unwinds, which is replaced by a delicate violin solo.

Beethoven with the manuscript of the Missa solemnis (1820) by Joseph Karl StielerBeethoven-House Bonn

Dramatic: "Through darkness to the stars"

Beethoven thought his compositions like an exciting play - with unpredictable twists and turns and a cracking climax!

Sinfonie Nr. 9 (d-Moll) op. 125 (1826) by Ludwig van BeethovenBeethoven-House Bonn

A choir in a symphony

Beethoven was the first composer to use a choir and vocal soloists in a symphony. For the text he used Friedrich Schiller's "Ode to Joy": Beethoven's ideals, summarized in one poem: freedom, equality, brotherhood.

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