Day 281: Folk Songs (Last Beethoven Blog!)

BeethovenCD86I would have preferred to end my eye-opening journey through complete works of Ludwig van Beethoven with symphonic music, like a piano trio or a symphony or even a violin concerto.

As it is, finishing today – 86 days after I started listening to Beethoven – with these folk songs kind of leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed this musical exploration. Or that I intensely dislike what I’m hearing this morning.

On the contrary, Beethoven was as big a thrill to me as when I listened to Mozart for 180 days (his complete works on 180 CDs) a few years ago.

Maybe more so.

Definitely more so.

Beethoven took me by surprise. Totally.

I had no idea Beethoven was this rich, complex, emotional, melodic, and profound. The word deep comes to mind most often when I consider Beethoven’s music. Yet, that’s not even the word I’m looking for. It’s a combination of deep, rich, emotional, melodic, et al. All together.

By way of contrast, when I listened to the complete works of Haydn, I got little out of it other than 150 days of effort. I don’t remember a single melody, most likely because I never heard one that stuck with me. Frankly, Haydn bored me.

Mozart was a blast to study. I learned a great deal – but Continue reading

Day 209: Dances II

BeethovenCD14This morning’s CD, like yesterday’s, is filled to the brim with dance music.

Forty-six tracks of it, to be precise.

More menuets than I can shake a stick at.

Which wouldn’t phase them a bit, anyway.

Menuets are tough.

Today’s music sounds different, however, from what I heard yesterday. Not as dance-like. More complex. More like full orchestras playing very, very short pieces of music.

Here are the performers and orchestras on this CD:

Kammerorchester der Staatskapelle Weimar
Friedemann Batzel conductor
(tracks 1-12)

Capella Istropolitana
Ewald Donhoffer conductor
(tracks 13-19)

Sachiko Kobayashi violin (track 20)
Michael Wagner piano (track 20)
Rainer Maria Klaas piano (tracks 21-46)

Because of the wide variety of selections on Beethoven CD 14, it’s hard for me to know how old Beethoven was when these were composed. Plus, they’re all designated Wo0, meaning Works Without Opus number (Works without Opus). That indicates they were scraps of music gathered together at some point, more less authenticated as being Beethoven’s, and given a special type of cataloging number to tell them apart.

There are eight different Wo0 catalog numbers on today’s CD:


Of those, only one has a date assigned to it, according to the Wiki list of the complete works of Beethoven: Wo042, which is given the date of 1796.

If that is correct, then Beethoven was 26.

I have no idea how old he was for the rest of these.

If you’re interested in knowing how authentic some of these pieces are, scan the listing on Wikipedia. Some are considered “spurious” and/or composed by Beethoven’s brother, Carl.