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Old 08-30-2017, 11:54 PM   #13
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Just to take up Yolhanson's point about "getting the 9th", I would like to say that I still have problems being totally comfortable with the 4th movement, magnificent as it is in its various parts...
I know, who I am to even envisage a slightly less than worshipful attitude to this iconic master work? But there it is, that's my honest feeling about it.
The actual point I'd like to make concerns another thread that talks about "hearing in the head" as opposed to actual performance.
When Beethoven composed the 9th (over several years), his deafness was quite acute. This in itself was not a "problem" for Beethoven who could write and "hear" a score without recourse to his piano; he had that ability to know pretty exactly how the notation sounded, a bit like our ability, as Schindler wrote, to read a letter without having to read it out loud !!
But as Peter mentioned in that other thread about how some composers compose away from the piano and "hear" the mental performance quicker (or perhaps even slower) than they would play it in practice, I wonder if this "ideal" (mental) composition of the 4th movement of the 9th is why I personally find it ever so slightly wanting.
Beethoven for sure knew that the parts for the chorus (the sopranos, especially) were quite high in register (and remember, the pitch was lower at that time!) and perhaps this "straining" of the voice was intentional. Or perhaps not? Would it be ridiculous to suggest that Beethoven's "ideal/mental" perception of these passages was at odds with the chorus's physical performance abilities?
Now I do happen to know that certain contemporary composers (Xenakis and Ferneyhough, to name two examples) intentionally incorporate instrumental writing that involves -to all intents and purposes - the sheer impossibility of totally faithful rendition of the written score. (I wonder, too, if they may not have been inspired by Beethoven in that aspect.) But this is by the way; my question is if there was, finally, a real disjoint between Beethoven's "mental" perception and physical performance.
I hope this isn't too rambling a post !!

Last edited by Quijote; 08-31-2017 at 12:03 AM. Reason: Fine tuning of the text. Pun intended.
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