The So called Late Beethoven

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The so called “late Beethoven” style is usually referring to the works the composer wrote from 1817 on. It’s clear that Beethoven’s music underwent a strong transformation during the last decade of his life. It was not an abrupt change of direction, of course, and many foreshadowing elements of particular aspects of the late style can be found in works written in early 1810s already. But it’s well recognized that the last phase of Beethoven’s creative life , within the “fusion of retrospective and modernist tendencies” ,expanded the way art would express and represent state of beings to extents that never have been experienced before, transforming the Classical structural models and “preparing the way for their eventual dissolution” . Surely, in his late years Beethoven had to overcome extremely distressful situations in his life. The failure of his project of domestic happiness and marriage – resulting in a stronger tendency to isolate from society; the struggles, personal and legal, over his nephew’s guardianship, and the descent into total deafness from 1818, were clearly marking a turning point in Beethoven’s psychological state of mind and would recall for a great effort on the composer’s side to overcome and recover. The family romance he had built throughout all his life, rejecting his parental figures and even trying to give himself proof of a royal birth, let now place to a sense of kinship and belonging. It really seems that in the last years of his life, Beethoven came to develop a sense of self- acceptance, self-love and self-knowledge, that had led to a process of reconciliation with himself and his story. Clearly, this has been a crucial process also in the definition of his late style. His music does no longer ... ... middle of paper ... ...ages: Gladly, as His suns fly Across heaven’s mighty path, Hasten, Brothers, on your way, Joyfully, like a hero on to victory. […] Embrace, ye moltitudes! Let this kiss be for all the world! What is interesting to notice, is that there is something that the Ninth Symphony and Sonata op.109 share in common. Both this two masterpieces could have had a completely different ending. The Symphony could have had an instrumental finale ( ideas for which he later used in his String Quartet op.132) and op.109 could have not seen the return of the Theme. Almost in no other of his works, Beethoven makes a reprise of the Theme as literal as in op.109. It seems he wanted to go back to what has been left behind after such an endless metamorphosis process and look at it with new eyes: “the real voyage of discovery consist not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes ”.

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