Late Beethoven - Spring 2019
(Late Beethoven - Spring 2019)

Beethoven’s incredibly prolific “middle period” (roughly 1802-12) was followed by seven less productive years during which he was marshaling his internal forces and preparing for something completely different. In the works of his last years (1820-27), he delved ever more deeply into his subconscious while affirming ever more strenuously the artist’s obligation to use self-revelation as a means toward the achievement of worldwide human harmony. His Missa Solemnis, Ninth Symphony, last five piano sonatas, “Diabelli” Variations for piano, and last five string quartets are above all a search for transcendence. The question of whether we ought to read artists’ lives into their works ceases to matter in Beethoven’s last years: his late works were his life. The deaf composer created an ideal “Elsewhere” for himself and for anyone else who was willing and able to enter it. This seminar will first provide a background to Beethoven’s “late period” and then deal with the individual works mentioned above – listening to them, thinking about what others have said about them, and producing our own thoughts about and mental images of them.