Posted: June 8, 2020
Good morning everyone. Welcome to our final music lesson for the year. (Wahoo!) Today I will focus on my all time favorite composer-Ludwig Van Beethoven. Back in the day, I played a lot of his piano music. Again I need you to look at the website https://www.classicsforkids.com/composers/composer_profile.php?id=7. The parts I want you to look over are the opening page -then scroll down and click on each of the following sections; 1. About Ludwig Van Beethoven: 2. Beethoven the Pianist and 3. Beethoven's Symphonies. Take time to listen to each of the music samples. You will for sure recognize his 5th Symphony, the piano music, "Moonlight Sonata" 2nd movement and the very famous "Fur Elise" which Schroeder from the Peanut's gang loves to play for Lucy. When you are looking over the section on his Symphonies, you should recognize the final movement from his 9th Symphony. The chorale part is called "Ode to Joy". We hear this music in many tv commercials. Drag over to the 5:00 minute mark to hear this part.
The section "Roll over Beethoven" shows how popular musicians inserted or borrowed melodies from Beethoven's music into their own songs. Check it out!
Beethoven had an extremly interesting life, full of tragedy. As a boy, he suffered abuse from the hands of his father who drove him to be just like the young prodigy, Mozart. His biggest tragedy however, was that he gradually lost his hearing. For a musician/composer this would be comparable to a soccer player losing his legs. What is most amazing about Beethoven though, is the fact that he continued to compose some of his greatest music-(his 9th symphony being one major piece of work) while completey deaf. This piece of music takes over 70 minutes to play! How did he do this? He followed the rules of music composition-much the same as we compose rhythms in music class-he composed music scores for every instrument in the orchestra-in addition to vocal parts. Still, I cannot conceive how he managed this because when I compose music-I always play the melody on the piano to make sure it sounds good-and that is only a vocal line! He did not have this advantage. Keep in mind-he wrote by candlelight-without the help of a computer-everything was written using manuscript (paper with the music staff) and no computer- or recording device to play back and listen to his work. Imagine what he could have achieved if modern day technology had been made available to him?!
People thought Beethoven was a mad man, but really, he lived and breathed composing music-even if he was out for a walk-he was humming and conducting his music with gusto and great energy before returning home to write out the parts. He was a musical genius who always had his brain in music mode. Kind of like some of you Gamers I teach!! He probably did look a little scary!! Apparently, he didn't have very much luck with the ladies either!!
We always finish the unit on Beethoven by watching a movie about his life. The link is below. Grade 7 have seen this before, but every time you watch it, you pick up something new. Some evening when you have time, have a look at "Mr. Beethoven Lives Upstairs". It follows the life of a little boy whose mother rents a room to the composer, Ludwig Van Beethoven. The film is really well done. Enjoy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6skXE1qYxg8. I may post a few fun videos for you to watch towards the end of the week. Stay Tuned!! Have a "Fantabulous" summer everyone!