Thursday, March 31, 2011

3/31 The "Ghost" Piano Trio (Color Analysis)

I did the Ghost Trio awhile back already with Alan Rich's breakdowns (here and here using Soundcloud notes), but I'm re-doing it today with color waveform visual assistance...just because I love this work so much.

Piano Trio 5 in D, Op.70, No. 1 "Ghost" (1808)
I. Allegro vivace e con brio 0:00
II. Largo assai ed espressivo 10:18
III. Presto 21:58
Performed by the Beaux Arts Trio
CHANNEL LINK (Click here to see this video on my YT Channel. Once there, click on "...(more info)" and then you can view the video in place, while scrolling through the form analysis text below more easily)

I. Allegro vivace e con brio (Sonata form)
1st theme / 2nd theme (BROWN)
2nd Theme (BLUE)
3rd theme (GREEN)
Exposition (repeat):
1st theme / 2nd theme (LT BROWN)
2nd Theme (LT BLUE)
3rd theme (LT GREEN)
1st theme (PURPLE)
2nd theme (PURPLE)
1st theme (PURPLE)
1st theme (BROWN)
2nd theme (BLUE)
3rd theme (GREEN)
Development (repeat):
1st theme (LT PURPLE)
2nd theme (LT PURPLE)
1st theme (LT PURPLE)
Recapitulation (repeat):
1st theme (BROWN)
2nd theme (BLUE)
3rd theme (GREEN)

(actually the Rich book calls the 1st Recap an Exposition repeat with "variations" but that can't be right...I prefer to think of it as a recap that repeats)
II. Largo assai ed espressivo (Sonata form)
1st theme (BROWN)
2nd theme (BLUE)
3rd theme (GREEN)
Development: (PURPLE)
1st theme
2nd theme
1st theme (return)
Exposition (repeat):
1st theme (LT BROWN)
2nd theme (LT BLUE)
3rd theme (LT GREEN)
Development (repeat): (LT PURPLE)
1st theme
2nd theme
1st theme (return)
Coda (3rd theme) (MAROON)

III. Presto (Sonata form)
1st theme (BROWN)
2nd theme (BLUE)
3rd theme (GREEN)
Exposition (repeat):
1st theme (LT BROWN)
2nd theme (LT BLUE)
3rd theme (LT GREEN)
Development: (VIOLET)
3rd theme
1st theme
1st theme (BROWN)
2nd theme (BLUE)
3rd theme (GREEN)

(from Alan Rich's Play by Play) 

Since I've covered the Ghost Trio 3 times now, I think I'll stick this excellent live performance of the Ghost Trio here, instead of making post #4.  Unfortunately I'm not sure who the performers are - but they are good!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

3/30 "B's Way" (Beethoven's Metronome Tempos)

One of the most controversial aspects of performing Beethoven's music today is tempo.  In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Beethoven's symphonies were usually played at a "measured" pace to allow the sonorities of a huge orchestra in a huge audience hall to wash over the listeners.  Some people also contend that orchestras were not "good enough" to play at a faster pace.  There were exceptions of course, like Toscanini and Weingartner, but they were sometimes derided for being to metronomic and rushed.  In modern practice, fast tempos have made a kind of comeback, thanks largely in part to the "historical performance" trend, where smaller forces are used on original instruments.  It's much easier to play the 2nd Symphony with an orchestra a third the size of a typical Mahler-style orchestra.

But the main point of today's post is about B.'s written metronome marks.  The metronome was invented much later than many of his works were composed, so B. went back to his old scores and retro-actively applied ("ret-conned") metronome markings to these works from 20 years past.  Almost invariably, these markings were faster than any ensemble or performer could comfortably play.  A famous violinist was once asked about these markings and he remarked, "well of course, that's ridiculous".  Was B.'s metronome defective?  Did B. misjudge the tempos of his works in retrospect?  It's common for composers to envision a specific tempo at the manuscript table, and then change his mind at the rehearsal hall because it was too fast.  Also B. was never really good at numbers by his own admittance. 
"Evidence clearly shows that the composer would, for example, simply add up the number 9 seven times to arrive at the sum of 63. The young Gerhard tried to rectify this by tutoring Beethoven in the intricacies of multiplication."
The other thing that performers mention is that there is sometimes an inconsistemcy to his actual metronome choices.  There is at least one case where a metronome marking contradicts an accelerando instruction or a ritard.  One doesn't 'speed up' to a slower speed (actually I can't recall if that's exactly case I saw explained, but it was something along those lines).

Still, it's hard to believe the greatest musical genius of all time couldn't figure out how to work a metronome.  As Ben Zander says, he was DEAF, not BLIND.  And current performing practices show that it is possible to play B.'s works at B.'s tempos (a little aside - with MIDI you can set any tempo you want.  I once put the Moonlight Sonata at 3000 bpm just for fun).  Personally I much prefer the faster versions according to the written tempos.  It's worse to be too slow, than to be too fast, for my tastes.  Beethoven's compositions were at the cutting edge of harmony and technology at the time, so why shouldn't they still be at the cutting edge of performance practice?  No one ever claimed playing Beethoven was easy.

Here's a great chart detailing B.'s metronome markings (from Cliff Eisen, "Notation and Interpretation", A Performer's Guide to Music of the Classical Period, Anthony Burton Ed., ABRSM Publishing)
More on Beethoven's Metronome Markings
Metronome Techniques (An Online Guide to Metronome use)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

3/29 The Oboe Variations

Beethoven's chamber works typically get many arrangements for alternate instruments, but for some reason Opus 87 seems to have a few more than usual.  It's a fun piece from 1795, originally written for 2 oboes and english horn (cor anglais).

Trio for 2 Oboes & Cor Anglais Op.87 (1795)
Allmusic: "The first movement, marked Allegro, has a comparatively nonchalant character, and sounds the most conventional of the four movements. Mozart comes to mind here in particular, but mainly in spirit and formal design. One clearly recognizes that Beethovenian busyness in the music, even despite the slightly less serious mood. The main theme, with its repeated note near the beginning, sounds a little stiff, but the movement as a whole has a fair amount of charm. The second-movement (Adagio cantabile), offers a lovely main theme, and the whole of the movement is pure Beethoven, its brilliant scoring and slow tempo being rather unusual for this kind of music at this time. The third movement carries the markings Menuetto, Allegro molto, Scherzo, but is almost a genuine Scherzo. Its fast music and muscular style give it that Beethovenian stamp, and make a fine contrast to the preceding Adagio. The finale, marked Presto, is another brilliant movement, though here Haydn steps forth, both thematically and formally. Again, however, Beethoven never becomes imitative in any passage. The music is full of humor and deft touches, and this movement, a Rondo, ends with a brilliant coda."

Here's a playlist of videos using different instruments for each of the 4 movements...
1 - M1 - Allegro, on Saxophones
2 - M2 - Adagio cantabile, with 2 Violins and 1 Viola
3 - M3 - Menuetto, Allegro molto, Scherzo, Piano Transcription
4 - M4 - Finale, Presto, Mandolin and Guitar Ensemble

followed by some extra movements I found floating around.

5 - M1, Another Sax Trio
6 - M2-4, 2 Oboes and English Horn (the original arrangement)
7 - M4, Oboes and English Horn (extremely fast version)

Some of these performances here are by student musicians so be warned that you're going to hear some "Xenakis-like" moments here and there - but they're still kind of interesting IMHO.

Linklist (43 min)

Beethoven also wrote an Oboe Variation as well - but without switching instruments of course ;)
Trio for 2 Oboes & Cor Anglais On a theme from Mozart's Don Giovanni WoO.28 (1795)

UPDATE - just hours ago a TUBA version of the Op.87 finale was uploaded to Youtube. Hard to keep up with this Op.87 craze...
Performance By Tuba A Tre (Kyle Newland, Kenji Kabe, Preston Light)
Full Performance HERE , but M4 below:

Monday, March 28, 2011

3/28 LvB Timelines

Timeline of the Universe (NASA)
One of the most thorough Beethoven websites I've found is Gary D. Evans' Indexed Biography. The highlight of his site is his timeline which tracks Beethoven's life, year by year, linking works with life changes with historical happenings. If you ever wanted to know what B. did at age 18 you can see an excerpt from Gary's site below:

AGE 18 THROUGH AGE 19 [1789]
op 39: 2 Preludes for organ or piano
op 52: 8 Leider
WoO 1: Musik zu einem Ritterballett
WoO 38: Trio-piano,violin cello #8 in Eb
WoO 40: 12 vars for piano & violin in F
WoO 64: 6 vars for harp or piano in F
WoO 65: 24 vars in D on "Venni Amore"
WoO 67: 8 vars for piano duet in C theme composed by Count Waldstein.



Jan 3 Opera Theater opened in Bonn. B. played viola
in orchestra where met Nikalaus Simrock (horn) & Antone Reicha (flautist).
Works performed included Mozart's

"Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail"
October Storming of the Bastille in France.
Oct 13- 2/23/90 2nd opera season at the Opera Theater - works
performed included Mozart's "Nozzedi Figaro" and his "Don
Nov 20 B. made request of Bonn officials for ½ father's
salary given father's alcoholism (½ of 200 Rheinthalers) for brothers
& household care. Father ordered to leave Bonn. Beethoven's father asked
him to not use the decree granted and instead gave Beethoven 25 Rheinthalers
per quarter. This was faithfully continued for the following 3 years
until his death in December 1792 [Anderson v1p5-6: see 1793]
? Played viola in court & theater orchestras.
? Wegeler back from Vienna Med.Sch. - now MD.
Practice./profess. med. in Bonn

As you can see it's well-organized and provides pretty much everything you need to know about B.'s work and life in that year.  Enter the site here:

Another pretty cool more "visually-oriented" timeline of classical music in general can be found here:
Hernan Mouro's Timeline page.  Mr. Mouro's page is pretty cool because you can drag it around from the bottom half and see virtually the entire history of classical music in one page.  Excellent use of a timeline web-widget!

For more timelines of classical music in general, these are some great links:

Sunday, March 27, 2011

3/27 Glenn Gould, Concert Dropout

For some reason I really enjoy listening to Glenn Gould talk - probably even more than listening to him play!  ...Then again I'd rather listen to his Beethoven piano sonatas again before re-hearing one of his "interviews" - no longevity is apparently the problem.

This recent discovery on YT was a fun listen though, "Glenn Gould: Concert Dropout".

From the cover it says:
Partial Agenda:
The Concert is Dead
The Only Excuse for Recording is to Do it Differently
The Great Get-Sibelius Plot Exposed
A Live Audience is a Great Liability
Petula Clark's Songs are in the Post-Mendelssohn Tradition
Why I Sing Along
Electronic Music is the Future

Apparently this was a largely scripted and edited affair - but it still answers a great many questions about Gould's later view on life and music.

This record is followed by "At Home with Glenn Gould" which was recorded while Gould was still playing live concerts - maybe this one was "real" since I found it far less interesting...
Pt 1-6: Glenn Gould: Concert Dropout (54 min)
Pt 7-15: At Home with Glenn Gould (1 hr 17 min)


And here we have an excerpt of Glenn Gould performing to "no one" and re-interpreting Liszt reinterpreting Beethoven's Pastoral Symohony - this seems to encapsulate everything Gould talks about in the interview, right?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

3/26 Violin Sonata 4 & String Quartet 4

Today I'm going to fill in a couple blank spots in my LvB Works index by posting Beethoven's Violin Sonata 4 & String Quartet 4.

Violin Sonata No.4 in A-, Op.23 (1800)
From Allmusic:
Beethoven originally intended this to be published as a contrasting companion piece to his "Spring" Sonata - the "Spring" Sonata is bright and sometimes humorous, but its A-minor companion is comparatively ascetic. In the outer movements, the piano is often reduced to spare, two-part writing, and all three movements, despite expending remarkable energy along the way, end pianissimo.

The opening Presto remains in the minor mode throughout, except for eight bars of tranquil F major in the development. It all begins with a grim, thrusting theme that contrasts with a spare little melody that spirals upward. Both subjects are propelled by a tarantella-like rhythm, which almost never relents through the course of the movement. In fact, it ultimately wrenches the second subject into what seems like a new theme halfway through the development. The drastically condensed recapitulation simply sputters out.

The middle movement's odd marking, Andante scherzoso più allegretto, reveals a combination scherzo and slow movement. The opening theme tiptoes through symmetrical halves before daring a delicate fugato variation on itself. A full-fledged second theme finally appears as a trilling figure first in the piano, then the violin. Beethoven subjects all this material to a measured development, never indulging in the boisterous display that would mark his later scherzos. He is much more subtle and complex here. Beethoven goes so far as to bring back the fugato's staccato counter subject as the accompaniment to the trilled theme, teasingly suggesting that he may be launching a new fugue. Instead, he merely offers a concise restatement of the movement's themes.

The rondo finale, Allegro molto, is woven from an agitated minor-mode theme that hardly changes in its several reappearances. The first contrasting section, in A major, would offer welcome relief if it were not for Beethoven throwing the violin and piano out of synch with each other-a device he would use to more comic effect in the "Spring" Sonata. The second and third contrasting sections are more relaxed, major-mode episodes, now free of trickery, but they are each soon interrupted by the bleak, unsettled primary motif, which winds down with a curt, gloomy gesture.

Andreas Staier: pianoforte
Daniel Sepec: Beethoven's violin
Recording: October 2005, Beethoven-Haus, Bonn (20 min)


String Quartet 4 Op. 18 No.4 in C minor
From Allmusic:
The only quartet from Beethoven's Opus 18 set to be cast in a minor key, this was also, despite its number, the last of the six to be completed...he invests his C minor music with a special emotional depth, particularly in the sonata form Allegro ma non tanto. This opening movement immediately spins forth a worried violin theme over agitated accompaniment, interrupted by a series of jagged chords. The violins continue with lyrical, minor mode material, still with a restless accompaniment in the viola and cello. The exposition continues through several brief episodes in the same vein, ending with an odd sequence of quiet chords, a soft allusion to the jagged chords heard earlier. In the development section, Beethoven heightens the anxiety through key modulations while essentially repeating the structure of the exposition; apparently he felt little need to wrench the thematic components apart and recombine their fragments. By the time the recapitulation arrives, the thematic pattern has been clarified.

The scherzo is not the raucous joke Beethoven would favor in his symphonies. It feels more like a traditional minuet, with a fairly capricious character (the key is now C major). The structure could be considered a sonata form, with the central section being a largely polyphonic development of the themes Beethoven has already introduced.

The minuet proper, Allegretto, returns to C minor. If the scherzo seemed more like a minuet, this minuet has the character of a scherzo, fairly quick and unsettled. The trio features a jittery eighth note figure in the first violin, under which the second violin trades two-bar phrases with the viola and cello.

The concluding C minor Allegro is a rondo that begins with an impassioned theme dominated by the first violin. The second section is more placid, and the next contrasting episode features humorous triplets rising from the cello up through the ensemble. The third contrasting episode picks up more of the agitation of the rondo theme, so when the latter returns one last time it can make its full effect only if played, as Beethoven indicates, as quickly as possible.

2 Interpretations (48 min):
Pt 1-4: The Arcadia Quartet performs a rugged and fiery version (a bit of Vivaldi in the intro bit).
Pt 5-7: The Amadeus Quartet performs a more idiomatic and nuanced version.


Friday, March 25, 2011

3/25 Beethoven on Exotic Percussion Instruments

African Slider Guiro - Ghana Shaker

Beethoven never visited the African continent or any other truly exotic tourist destinations in his lifetime, so he probably never heard any indigenous folk music from Egypt or India for example.  But if he had, I wonder if he would have incorporated some of these instruments into his work?  Since he was a big proponent of music technology and the first to use percussion as a primary motivic element (timpani in many symphonies/concertos and the "Turkish" interlude in the 9th Finale), I'm sure of it.  However, what I'm presenting today is probably nothing like what he might have composed.  It's still "from" Beethoven tho (in a sense).

I took a midi file of Beethoven's 32 Variations in C minor WoO.80 (1806) and mapped the notes to a soundfont comprised of exotic percussion samples. Though the pitches are no longer Beethoven's, the rhythms, dynamics and phrasing are still his. Still "classical music"?  Either way - I thought this came out pretty good...or at least fascinating.  (Visuals by Malinowsky MAM Player.)

Next, I took a midi file of Beethoven's "24 Variations on Righini's aria 'Venni Amore', WoO.65" (1791)
and arranged it for "junkyard percussion".  These are sounds recorded from pots, pans, powertools, and stuff you might find in a junkyard....the nature of these variation pieces lend themselves well to rhythmic transformations, I think.  By the way, these variations were originally dedicated to Countess Maria Anna Hortensia von Hatzfeld.  Somehow "The Hatzfeld Variations" has a nice ring to it.

These "arrangements" were alot of fun to create - I just hope this won't be known as the post where the Daily Beethoven "jumped the shark".

Thursday, March 24, 2011

3/24 The "Emperor" - Piano Concerto 5 (Color Analysis)

The Emperor Concerto took me a little while to warm up to - it starts out so bombastically. But once past those massive initial tuttis so obviously designed to grab your attention (and which succeed so well) the "Emperor" reveals itself to be an edifice of great musical joy and power.

Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73 "The Emperor Concerto" (1809)
Vladimir Ashkenazy / Zubin Mehta
I. Allegro (0:00)
II. Adagio un poco mosso (20:41)
III. Rondo: Allegro ma non troppo (28:50)

CHANNEL LINK (Click here to see this video on my YT Channel.  Once there, click on "(more info)" and then you can view the video in place, while scrolling through the text below)
I. Allegro
Fanfare (MAROON)
1st Exposition: 
1st theme (BLUE)
(Pre-echo of 2nd theme) / 2nd Theme (VIOLET)
1st theme (Return) (BLUE)
3rd theme (based on 1st theme) (GREEN)
2nd Exposition: 
1st theme: with piano (BLUE)
2nd theme (VIOLET)
3rd theme (GREEN)
Development:  (PURPLE)
1st theme
3rd theme
1st theme (variation)
Introduction (MAROON)
1st theme (return) (BLUE)
2nd theme (VIOLET)
1st theme (return) (BLUE)
Coda: 1st theme (PURPLE)
Cadenza (based on 1st theme) (DARK BLUE)
Cadenza (continued, based on 2nd theme)
Orchestral re-entrance (SEA GREEN)

II. Adagio un poco mosso
1st theme (BROWN)
2nd theme (GREEN)
1st theme (interrupts) (BROWN)
2nd theme (continues) (GREEN)
1st and 2nd themes in combination (BLUE-GREEN)
3rd theme (PURPLE)
3rd theme (variation) (DARK BLUE)

III. Rondo: Allegro ma non troppo
Exposition:  (MAROON)
1st theme, part I:piano
1st theme, part I: orchestra
1st theme, part II
2nd theme (BROWN)
3rd theme (BLUE)
Exposition (repeat) (MAROON):
1st theme: piano
1st theme: orchestra
Development (variations): (PURPLE)
1st variation
2nd variation
3rd variation
1st theme,part I: piano (MAROON)
1st theme, part I: orchestra
1st theme, part II
2nd theme (BROWN)
3rd theme (BLUE)
1st theme, part I (MAROON)
1st theme, part II
Brief cadenza (BLUE)
Final statement of 1st theme (MAROON)

(form analysis from Alan Rich's "Play by Play")

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

3/23 More Peanuts

A while ago I wrote about how Charles M. Schulz's love for Beethoven inspired him to add bits of music notation in the Peanuts comic strip - specifically whenever Schroeder is playing the piano.  That post was called "Peanuts".  Here's a video about a 2009 exhibit of these Beethoven strips from the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies, King Library, San José State University:

Since then I've discovered quite alot of Beethoven/Peanuts cartoons on YT.  I'm not sure how involved Mr. Schulz was with the cartoons, but this excerpt of Schroeder playing (and imagining?) the 2nd movement Adagio Cantabile from Beethoven's "Pathetique" Sonata Op.13. - is just great:

Peanuts: Schroeder plays Piano Sonata No. 8 Sonata Pathétique

Here, Lucy "vocalizes" to the Moonlight Sonata:

"Schroeder" from "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown!"

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

3/22 Stokowski's Moonlight Orchestra

Leopold Stokowski (Sta-kuf-skee) is another of the 20th Century's most famous conductors, and a direct rival of Toscanini's.  In fact Toscanani had to 'steal' Shostakovich's 7th Symphony from Stokowski, claiming that Stokowski was a young man and had plenty more time to do another Shosty piece later....  Though not my favorite Beethoven interpreter, he still ranks very high, and two things especially stand out about him for me.  One, that he was not afraid to re-orchestrate symphonic works for modern orchestra (he thought of himself as a collaborator with the composer's spirit) and second, his use of close-miking techniques, especially in the 60s - his "Phase 4" recordings.  The result of this cutting-edge technology was that Stokowski had direct control over the volume and placement of every instrument in the orchestra - thus achieving an extreme clarity of personal vision.  In other words, listening to these records is like sitting in the conductor's chair, rather than in the 20th row back...a very exciting way to present music.  Before Stokowski died at age 94 (still conducting) he had already begun recording surround-sound sides as well....

Here's a video of Stokowski conducting the finale of Beethioven's 7th Stymphony:

At the link below you can download the full 7th symphony conducted by Stokowski as well as a recording of him giving an introductory commentary on the symphony.
1927 - Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Recordings - Part 1

And here is an example of Stokowski transcribing a chamber piece for orchestra. He was famous for his Bach transcriptions (which I love) but here is Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata in "Stokowski-sound" (tho actually conducted here by the late Erich Kunzel):

Beethoven/Stokowski - Moonlight Sonata

Finally here's Glenn Gould presenting a 1 hour movie with Stokowski talking about his approach to music...

Glenn Gould: Stokowski, a portrait for radio

Monday, March 21, 2011

3/21 Beethoven's Music of the (Spinning) Spheres (or "That Glass Armonica is Driving me Crazy")

One of the most unusual instruments Beethoven ever wrote for (and that's saying something considering he wrote for Panharmonicon, cannons and ring-tone) is the "glass armonica".  This is an instrument which is made up of spinning bowls upon which the performer "lays hands on".  The spinning bowls remain wet from a water pool, so that when the player places his/her hands on it, the vibrations create a somewhat ethereal tone.  It's the original version of the "wine-glass" music that is much more prevalent today on late night TV.  The glass armonica was invented by Benjamin Franklin and was thought to cause insanity for it's player.  Actually the performer got lead poisoning from touching the spinning (unrefined) glass. 

Beethoven only wrote about a minute and a half of music for the glass armonica in the incidental music for Leonore Prohaska, WoO.96 (1815)
In 1815 Beethoven was commissioned to write the incidental music (Op.202/WoO 96—click here for the score) for a tragic play written by Friedrich Duncker (the King of Prussia's secretary) called Leonore Prohaska. The play "tells the story of a maiden who, disguised as a soldier, fought through the war of liberation." Among the movements for your usual Beethoven orchestra and chorus is a short little "Melodrama" for armonica and narrator—at the point in the play when the heroine Leonore is speaking to her true love from beyond the grave. The narration (written by Duncker) is as follows:
I entwined for you, Two flowers: one for love, and one for constancy. Alas! All I have for you now are death's flowers! And yet, from the earth on my tomb The lily and the rose bloom anew.
Here's a video of the glass armonica Melodram piece B. wrote (with some additional variations composed by Charlie Barber) performed by Alasdair Malloy.
Melodram / Funeral Flowers (from Leonore Prohaska):


You can see Alan Alda learn how to play the glass armonica here:
Glassharmonica / Alan Alda's first lesson with Thomas Bloch

And here's a fine blog post which first alerted me to the existence of B.'s foray into "music of the spheres":

Sunday, March 20, 2011

3/20 Sir Georg Solti on B's 9th and Bartok

Sir Georg Solti is one of those conductors who interprets Beethoven at a somewhat more measured pace - especially compared to the newer, smaller orchestras.  He's also one of the few conductors I like who do it this way (Konwitschny would be another).  What is it that makes a slower performance exciting - yet not drag? I don't exactly know, but Solti surely does.

Here's the great Hungarian conductor Sir Georg Solti doing a commentary on Beethoven's 9th Symphony, shared on Youtube by archivist davidhertzberg:
"In this 1972 recording (made available only to members of the Chicago Symphony Society), Sir Georg Solti comments on, and conducts, Beethoven's 9th Symphony. From the LP shown above, issued in 1973 on the London label." (39 min)


The Solti Beethoven Decca CD box also includes a bonus disc of Sir Georg talking about each of the 9 symphonies - great listening.

And here's a couple short documentaries with Sir Georg Solti - both very entertaining - tho no Beethoven-related stuff. (54 min total)
1-3: - Dudley Moore and Sir Georg talking about how the orchestra works.  Moore actually plays a little Bartok here.
4-6: - Sir Georg with Murray Perahia and Evelyn Glennie recording Bartok's Sonata for 2 Pianos and Percussion


Saturday, March 19, 2011

3/19 Jurowski on Beethoven's 4th and 7th Symphonies

I first heard Vladimir Jurowski at a BBC Proms concert broadcast where he conducted, among others, Bernd Alois Zimmermann's "Dialoge".  This piece is as contemporary as it gets, very complex and very dense - so I naturally pigeon-holed him as a contemporary classical specialist, especially after Jurowski named Zimmermann as the most important 20th Century composer.  That was clearly my own ignorance since I've since found out that he's the Principal Guest Conductor with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, who specialize in historically-informed baroque and classical period works...

Sometimes I wonder how well contemporary music advocates do with Beethoven's music and usually I'm disappointed ("cough" boulez "cough" ardittiquartet) but Jurowski brings a youthful excitement and vigor to the proceedings which truly amazes me.  His Coriolan Overture is exciting as hell and today he does the 4th and 7th Symphonies with the OAE...

(81 min)
Symphony 4 (Parts 1-5)
Symphony 7 (Parts 6-10)
Bonus Interview about Mahler arrangements
Uploaded by YT-er OedipusTyrannus
As sometimes happens, this video is not embeddable in the blog by request of the uploader, so click below to go to the Playlist and you can "Play All" to see all parts in sequence. See the bottom of the screen for additional controls, like auto-play, shuffle etc...

Friday, March 18, 2011

3/18 If Beethoven Played a Toy Piano

About a month ago I posted Margaret Leng Tan's performance of the 1st movement of the Moonlight Sonata on toy pianos.  So when I recently came across some soundfonts for toy piano I "went to town" so to speak.  As regular readers are well aware, one of my favorite pasttimes is making music videos of Beethoven's works sequenced through midi and performed on alternate instrumentation.  So here is Beethoven's earliest published work (at age 12) - performed on the "RedGrand" toy piano sample set. It starts out a bit slow - but gets going soon enough...

9 Variations On A March Of Dressler, WoO.63 (1782) (Arr. for Toy Piano)
Toy Piano Arrangement by Ed Chang using Synthfont. / RedGrand
Original MIDI sequence for piano by Bunji Hisamori
Visuals from Stephen Malinowski's MAM Player


And here's a live version performed on a harpsichord/cembalo - which sounds a little bit weird to me (and for me to say that it must mean something):
(Wilhelm Krumbach, Cembalo)


The original version for piano can be found HERE.

(I also did a version of this piece for acoustic guitar here: 9/24 If Beethoven Played Guitar V1)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

3/17 The 'Archduke' Piano Trio (Color Analysis)

Time once again for one of my favorite tools for gaining a greater understanding of the larger structure of Beethoven's music: shaded waveform animation - i.e.: "color analysis", this time the splendid Archduke Trio...

Piano Trio No. 7 in B-flat major, Op. 97 "The Archduke Trio"
I. Allegro moderato 0:00
II. Scherzo (Allegro)  14:07
III. Andante cantabile ma però con moto. Poco piu adagio.  20:47
IV. Allegro moderato - Presto  34:20
Performed by the Beaux Arts Trio

CHANNEL LINK (Click here to see this video on my YT Channel.  Once there, click on "...(more info)" and then you can view the video in place, while scrolling through the text below)

I. Allegro moderato (Sonata form)
1st theme (MAROON)
1st theme: with violin
1st theme (variation)
2nd theme (GREEN)
3rd theme (BLUE)
Exposition (repeat):
1st theme (MAROON)
1st theme variation
2nd theme (GREEN)
3rd theme (BLUE)
3rd theme (PURPLE)
1st Theme (PURPLE)
1st theme (MAROON)
2nd theme (GREEN)
3rd theme (BLUE)

II. Scherzo (Ternary Form)
Part A:
1st theme (GREEN)
1st variation
2nd variation
3rd variation
4th variation
Part B:
2nd theme (fugal exposition) (MAROON)
3rd theme (BLUE)
3rd theme (return)
2nd theme (development) (VIOLET)
3rd theme (return) (BLUE)
Part A: (reprise)
1st theme (GREEN)
1st variation
2nd variation
3rd variation
4th variation

III. Andante cantabile ma pero con moto
1st part: 1st theme: with piano (MAROON)
1st theme: with strings
1st theme: with piano
Closing material: tutti
2nd part (OLIVE)
3rd part (BLUE)
4th part (BROWN)
5th part: theme in piano, right hand (PURPLE)
5th part: theme in strings
5th part (repeat): theme in piano, right hand
5th part (repeat): theme in strings
Closing material (GREEN)
Closing material (variation)

IV. Allegro moderato (Rondo and variations)
1st theme (GREEN)
2nd theme (BLUE)
1st theme (return) (GREEN)
3rd theme (MAROON)
1st theme (variation) (GREEN)
2nd theme (return) (BLUE)
1st theme (variation) (GREEN)

(from Alan Rich's Play by Play)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

3/16 Designing Musical Emotions

"Can you make it more 'Romantic' sounding?"
Have you ever wondered why a piece of music made you feel happy, sad, angry, etc...? The basic rule of thumb is that major key music is "happy" and minor key means "sad". A slow tempo means "down" or "deep" - and a fast piece is "vibrant and up". These are of course gross generalizations, and most music, especially Beethoven's, goes through a whole plethora of dynamics and tempi - his music expresses much more than just simple emotions such as those mentioned above. Music has the power to express the inexpressible (I'm quoting from someone I'm sure...). But apparently some simple patterns can be described.

I came across this fascinating webpage project created by Steven R. Livingstone where he actually uses musical characteristics of tempo, key, harmonic complexity, pitch register, articlulation, loudness, etc... to "filter" works by Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Mozart to produce alternate "feelings" than what a listener would normally feel. In other words, a piece usually regarded as being "happy" could be altered to sound "sad" (or make the listener feel sad).

On Livingstone's webpage you can actually download recordings of Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 20, Op. 49 No. 2 in G Major in 5 different "versions":
  1. Unmodified Beethoven
  2. Sad Beethoven
  3. Angry Beethoven
  4. Tender Beethoven
  5. Happy Beethoven
To create the Happy version, he made the tempo 'fast', the mode 'Major', the Harmony 'simple', the pitch 'high', the loudness 'Loud', the articulation 'staccato', etc....

To create the Sad version, he made the tempo 'slow', the mode 'Minor', the Harmony 'complex', the pitch 'low', the loudness 'quiet', the articulation 'legato', etc....
This picture explains it in a nutshell:

When I look over the various pieces of music in my collection representing happy or sad music, it's surprising how close the music hews to the above musical analysis. Livingstone cites a success rate of 71% is his test group of 18 listeners (71 percent guessed the correct feeling that the filter was trying to create).

Of course this in no way denigrates music's effect on our emotions - a great work evokes emotions to much greater complexity than a what a few words could describe - that's what poetry is for! Nonetheless, it's a fascinating study of modifying factors which Beethoven no doubt knew of and took full advantage of while improvising for his parlor listeners....

Check out the site below and scroll down to listen to Livingstones' "altered" versions of Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Mozart.
Changing Musical Emotion: A Computational Rule System for Modifying Score and Performance. 

Update: Uh oh - Mr. Livingstone's site has now been blocked, maybe someone had forgotten to lock the back door....OK - sorry about that.

Apropo of the above article is another site, "" which collects the most popular classical music heard today and "assigns" them an emotive value, for example:

1 Beethoven Symphony No. 5            = rousing
2 Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture           = powerful
3 Mozart Eine Kleine Nachtmusik       = formal
4 Bach Toccata And Fugue In D Minor   = scary
5 Rossini William Tell Overture       = horses
6 Pachelbel Canon In D                = wedding
7 Strauss Blue Danube                 = cartoon
8 Orff Carmina Burana: O Fortuna      = scary
9 Strauss, R Also Sprach Zarathustra  = impending
10 Offenbach Orpheus,: Infernal Galop = cartoon
Head over there to see if you agree with their assessments.
Kickass Classical Top 100
You can hear all 100 "top classical melodies" below in sequence as well (without the intended emotion tho).  It's a fun 20 minutes :).


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

3/15 Avant Garde, Meet Beethoven (reprise)

Warhole'd Warhol
For listeners of the "classical" repertoire, the work produced by the avant-garde composers of the post-war years can seem downright alien.  People like Pierre Henry and Karlheinz Stockhausen (among others) created a style of music which may seem to have more to do with movie sound effects than orchestral sonorities.  Yet most of these "noise" composers were huge fans of Beethoven from their earliest years...
(I covered Stockhausen and Mauricia Kagel's contributions to Beethoven ephemera HERE).

Luc Ferrari, who likes to juxtapose natural environmental sounds with noise/sound effects, said in a relatively recent interview in Paris TransAtlantic that, were he imprisoned in his studio for the rest of his life, he'd request to have Beethoven's Opus 106 remain with him (the Hammerklavier piano sonata).
Here's Luc Ferrari's "Strathoven": (the title will become self-explanatory...)

Gyorgy Ligeti also loved Beethoven, at least as a child. Speaking about how he learned to compose: "I had a kind of game which I played. Going to school took less than twenty minutes on foot and I always imagined... it was some Beethoven symphony or Schumann... what I heard from the radio and... of course, Beethoven was the centre. And, I always imagined I listened to a concert, I imagined this music naively and I heard it. And from this kind of listening to inner fantasy, which were not original, which were full with influence"
Here are 2 pieces by Ligeti, one a piano piece which sounds like it might have had its seeds sown from listening to early Beethoven piano sonatas, and another work which is probably closer to "sound effects" than anything using sonata-allegro form... 
Musica Ricercata III (Béla Bartók in memoriam)(1953):

Artikulation (1958):

Pierre Henry is another composer who works almost exclusively in musique concrete and electronically generated sounds.   He wrote quite alot about Beethoven in the liner notes to his homage and "remix" of Beethoven's "10th" symphony... I previously posted the liner notes HERE.
I decided to make a little visual accompaniment to the samples off of Amazon's page:

Finally, Helmut Lachenmann, another very modern composer (who at least one blogger thinks could be today's Beethoven), spoke about how he hears Beethoven "afire with his energies as a composer" during the Eroica Funeral March... He also composed "Staub" (1987) which is supposedly based on Beethoven's 9th symphony and is designed to precede a performance of the 9th. No video to be found, sorry...
Here's "Gran Torso", probably his most famous string quartet work.  Tho very interesting, I think it's safe to say it wasn't derived from a Beethoven work.

Monday, March 14, 2011

3/14 Listening to Beethoven

Today's post is dedicated to the people of Japan in their time of hardship. 
(Above: Plum Garden in Japan)
How does one listen to Beethoven?  Or any piece of music for that matter? Lately I've been curious as to how most people experience music.  For pop or dance music, the beat is probably the most important thing, especially if it's in a dance club.  I don't usually ruminate over the deeper meanings of the lyrics, or marvel at the unusual cadences in these cases...  When listening to jazz, I tend to concentrate on the interaction of the soloists with the ensemble.  Jazz is very much a conversation in progress, and the unique thing about it is that no one really knows how it will turn out, or where it will go, since it is based on un-premeditated improvisation (actually if you listen to enough jazz you can eventually hear 'trends', but the details remain largely spontaneous).

But Beethoven's music is very different from rock or jazz and in the beginning it was almost like learning a new language for me.  There are no drums, electric guitars or saxophones, generally - so I had to retrain my ears to distinguish strings, brass and woodwinds.  In B.'s music, a good deal of patience is required, since most of his greatest works take up a solid 10 minutes or more.  Not only that, but the listener may be expected to hear a theme in the first minute - and then recall it 9 minutes later when it returns in a variation.  In fact, in the 5th Symphony a motif from the 3rd movement comes back in the 4th.  In the 9th Symphony the open 5ths motif from the 1st movement returns about 30 minutes later in the 4th movement.  B. expects alot from the listener, and unless one listens extremely carefully with score in hand, the first listen can never reveal more than a fraction of what B. is telling us.  I recall the first time I listened to his 32 piano sonatas - actually I DON'T recall - it's kind of a blur.  But now, a year later and a few dozen traversals later, each movement is like an old friend...

The thing that strikes me the most about classical music in general (and Beethoven's music in particular) is that each piece of music tells a story.  Not a story in that the harmonies are meant to symbolize horses and battles, but a journey through "abstract" realms of melodic and harmonic adventure.  Knowing sonata form (as well as minuet,variation and rondo form) helps reveal what kind of story it's going to be, and more or less what we can expect.  But then when B. deviates from this "boilerplate" plot - that's when it gets exciting!  It's kind of like riding a roller-coaster and when we hit a really bizarre modulation or cadence, it's as if 2 wheels of the cart are in the air and we're not sure how we're going to land.  Sometimes we'll find ourselves in a climax - the recap has come and gone, the orchestra has played a tutti on the main theme and we've hit a perfect cadence - but then an unexpected coda with a new theme appears. That's like in a James Bond film when the main bad guy is dead, but then Lotte Lenya suddenly reappears to kick 007 to death ("From Russia with Love").

So, purely from a "structural form" standpoint, there's alot to take in.  Then when one gets into motivic development, it's amazing how even in his 1st symphony, the very 1st theme is stated, then atomized into 4 parts, then each of these 4 parts is used to create new motifs, used in variation form, modulated and's makes me think of cellular mitosis or something.  A forest is made up of trees, and a tree is made up of leaves, and a leaf is made up of cells - Beethoven's symphonies can be viewed in much the same way.  Glenn Gould once gave a whole evening talk on just the first 4 bars of Opus 109.

Anyways, the main point of this ramble is just to talk about the great stuff lying underneath the first dozen or so listens of a Beethoven piece.  His music is truly a source of unlimited wealth....

Please consider donating to Japan's Relief Fund sponsored by Save the Children.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

3/13 Performance Today's "50 Essential Classical"

NPR Radio has always been an incredibly rich source of information and education about classical music.  One of my favorite features, especially when I was just getting into classical music, is The "PT 50" - that is, the "Performance Today 50 Essential Classical Music CDs" show.  This is a series of - guess what - 50 half-hour programs where 2 radio hosts basically "sell" their favorite classical records and play excerpts from them.  The 3 shows about Beethoven works were these:

Piano Sonatas Nos. 21 "Waldstein", 23 "Appassionata" & 26 "Les Adieux"
Emil Gilels, piano
(Piano Sonata #26 In Eb, Op.81A, "Les Adieux" (1810) is performed in its entirety starting from 6:30)

The String Quartets
Emerson String Quartet (Op.95 M1, Op.18,No.2 M2, Op.135 M2, Op.59,No.3 M4)

Symphony No. 5 in c minor, Op. 67
Vienna Philharmonic,Carlos Kleiber, conductor

By clicking on the above links you should be able to launch your RealMedia player (or whatever browser plug-in you have set to play RAM streams).  Personally, I have Media Player Classic assigned in my Firefox Options/Applications to play RAM files. 

These programs were hosted by Fred Child and featured selections and commentary by Ted Libbey, who I also paraphrased in 1/5 Beethoven's 32 Piano Sonatas: An Overview (Libby).

To go to the full listing of the PT 50 see below:
The NPR PT 50 w Ted Libby

Saturday, March 12, 2011

3/12 Symphony 8 (Järvi) / Piano Sonatas Op. 109, 110 (Gould, Gampel)

Maestro Paavo Järvi
Posting a kind of mixed program today.
First, let's step inside the smaller parlor for Alan Gampel's fine performance of Piano Sonata #31 In Ab, Op.110 (1822):
Alan Gampel from the USA begins his semi-final recital in the 1991 GPA Dublin International Piano Competition, the second in the series. He qualified to play in the final round, and won 6th prize. Eighteen competitors progressed far enough in the competition for their choice to be heard. Alan Gampel was also a semi-finalist in the first competition of the series in 1988. He gives a short interview at the end of this sonata. (17:30,w interview 22 min)

Link   (from )

In the adjoining gallery we have Mr Glenn Gould, no stranger to the Daily Beethoven, performing
Piano Sonata #30 In E, Op.109 (1820) (13 min)

Playlist     (from )
(Mr Gould's "cut off" introduction above can be found here:

Finally, in the Grand Concert Hall, we find our old friend Paavo Järvi and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen with a blazing version of Beethoven's 8th Symphony. (from , 23 min)
Symphony No.8 in F major, Op.93 (1812)


Friday, March 11, 2011

3/11 The Moonlight Sonata on Theremin / Marilyn Monroe Prefers Beethoven

(Clara Rockmore with Theremin)
Beethoven on the theremin - that's something you don't hear very often.  Most people have probably heard the sound of a theremin in sci-fi movies (Bernard Herrmann used FOUR in "The Day the Earth Stood Still") but the theremin is actually an instrument which was first considered a "classical" instrument.  Here's a fascinating theremin concert by Youtuber Thomas Grillo, including 2 works by LvB. The Beethoven pieces can be found at these times if you want to jump straight in:
17:58 Minuet in G (WoO.10, N2)
20:43 Moonlight Sonata
"Enjoy a half hour of Classical works played by Thomas Grillo on the Burns B3 Deluxe theremin with accompaniment generousely provided by Kristian Banatzianou of and Peter Nagy."


Additionally, here's the 2nd movement from the Pathetique Sonata on theremin performed by :


Even tho I'd just recently posted a color analysis of Opus 130, here's a fun tribute/mash-up of the final movement with Marilyn Monroe in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" - just as colorful, but in a different way...
String Quartet No. 13 In B Flat Major, Op.130:VI. Allegro

Beethoven vs Monroe
Apparently Beethoven works with everything from the "King's Speech" to the "Glamour Icon's Dance"...somewhat.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

3/10 String Quartet Op.133 "Grosse Fuge" (Color Analysis and Rock Arr.)

Yesterday was the color chart/video of Opus 130, and since the Grosse Fugue was originally the grand finale of Opus 130 it seems necessary to put up Mr. Rich's color breakdown of this crazy and fun behemoth.  I think this is like the 2nd or 3rd analysis of the G.F. I've posted, but this one is pretty much all from Alan Rich's book, "Play by Play".  Personally I like my own analysis better, his is a little too simplified for my tastes, but I learned alot from his....

String Quartet Op.133 "Grosse Fuge" (1826)
Guarneri Quartet

Overture (MAROON)
1st Theme
2nd Theme
3rd Theme
4th Theme

Part I: fugue (based on 4th Theme): (BROWN)
Entrance 1
Entrance 2
Entrance 3
Entrance 4
Exposition (partial)
Variations on subject
Exposition (partial)
Exposition (variations on subject)

Part II: (BLUE)
3rd Theme (return)
3rd Theme (several fugue-like entrances)
3rd Theme (fragments)
3rd Theme (variation)

2nd Theme (return)
2nd Theme: fugue
2nd Theme: fugue (abridged)
2nd Theme (variation)
2nd Theme (further variation)

3rd Theme (return)

2nd Theme (return)
2nd Theme (development)
1st Theme (return)

Part VI: fugue (based on part I) (OLIVE)
1st Theme (return)
Part I (variation)

(form breakdowns from Alan Rich's "Play by Play")

Rock Arrangement:

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

3/9 String Quartet Op.130 (Color Analysis and Rock Arr.)

Beethoven's String Quartet Opus 130 has the distinction of having had the "Grosse Fuge" as it's original ending, and then having that shortly replaced with a new final movement, which also happens to be B.'s last completed work.  For those reasons it's very much an "omega" work.  One thing that always amazes me about the new finale is that it's so joyful and "peppy".  At this time B. must have suspected that he wouldn't live much longer - he was trying to recover from a long-term illness during it's composition.  Also he was completely deaf, and his nephew Karl had just tried to commit suicide, blaming B. for driving him to such an extreme.  He was staying at his brother Johann's with whom he had had many rows, composing a work in response to public rejection of one of his most ambitious works.  It could not have been a happy time.  Nonetheless, the music of this "replacement movement" is vivacious.  I wonder if composing such contrary music was a method of self-therapy?  Let there be Light!

String Quartet Opus 130 (Final Version)
Guarneri Quartet
I. Adagio ma non troppo (0:00)
II. Presto (D♭) (13:40)
III. Andante con moto ma non troppo (B♭ minor) (15:36)
IV. Alla danza tedesca. Allegro assai (G) (23:01)
V. Cavatina. Adagio molto espressivo (E♭) (26:47)
VI. Finale. Allegro (33:50)

CHANNEL LINK (Click here to see this video on my YT Channel.  Once there, click on "(more info)" and then you can view the video in place, while scrolling through the text below)
I. Adagio ma non troppo/Allegro
  • Introduction, part I (BROWN)
  • Introduction: part II
  • 1st Theme, part I (MAROON)
  • 1st Theme, part I (return)
  • 1st Theme, part II
  • 2nd Theme (DARK BLUE)
  • 2nd Theme: development
  • 3rd Theme (OLIVE)
--Exposition (Repeat):
  • Introduction, part I (LIGHT BROWN)
  • Introduction: part II
  • 1st Theme, part I (LIGHT MAROON)
  • 1st Theme, part I (return)
  • 1st Theme, part II
  • 2nd Theme (LIGHT BLUE)
  • 2nd Theme: development
  • 3rd Theme (LIGHT OLIVE)
  • First part: based on Introduction (VIOLET)
  • Second part: based on 1st Theme
  • 1st Theme, part I (MAROON)
  • 1st Theme, part II (variation)
  • 2nd Theme (variation) (DARK BLUE)
  • 2nd Theme (return)
  • 3rd Theme (return)
  • Coda (VIOLET)

II. Presto (starting from 13:40)
  • A (GREEN)
  • B (BLUE)
  • Transition (PURPLE)
  • A (Return) (GREEN)

III. Andante con moto ma non troppo (starting from 15:36)
  • Introduction (BROWN)
  • 1st Theme (MAROON)
  • Transition (OLIVE)
  • 2nd Theme (BLUE)
  • 1st Theme (Variation) (MAROON)
  • 3rd Theme (VIOLET)
Exposition Repeat
  • Introduction (LIGHT BROWN)
  • 1st Theme (LIGHT MAROON)
  • Transition (LIGHT OLIVE)
  • 2nd Theme (LIGHT BLUE)
  • 1st Theme (Variation) (LIGHT MAROON)
  • 3rd Theme (LIGHT VIOLET)
  • Coda (OLIVE)
  • 3rd Theme (VIOLET)
  • 3rd Theme: Development

IV. Alla danza tedesca: Allegro assai (starting from 23:01)
  • 1st Theme, part I (BLUE)
  • 1st Theme, part II (LIGHT BLUE)
  • 1st Theme (GREEN)
  • 1st Theme, part I (BLUE)
  • 1st Theme, parts I and II (variation) (LIGHT BLUE)
  • 1st Theme, part I (BLUE)
  • 1st Theme, part I (fragmented variation) (LIGHT BLUE)

V. Cavatina: Adagio molto espressivo (starting from 26:47)
1st Theme, part I (GREEN)
1st Theme, part II
1st Theme (return)
2nd Theme (BLUE)
2nd Theme (return)
3rd Theme (VIOLET)
1st Theme, part I (return) (GREEN)
1st Theme, part II (return)

VI. Finale, Allegro (starting from 33:50)
  • 1st Theme (MAROON)
  • 2nd Theme (BLUE)
  • 3rd Theme (GREEN)
Exposition Repeat
  • 1st Theme (repeat) (MAROON)
  • 2nd Theme (repeat) (BLUE)
  • 3rd Theme (repeat) (GREEN)
Development (PURPLE)

  • 1st Theme (return) (LIGHT MAROON)
  • 2nd Theme (return) (LIGHT BLUE)
  • 3rd Theme (return) (LIGHT GREEN)
  • Development (return) (LIGHT PURPLE)
  • Coda (BROWN)
(form analysis from Alan Rich's "Play by Play")

And finally my sequenced "Rock" arrangement for those who like guitars, organ, bass and drums...if you're ambitious you could theoretically play both at the same time...maybe not.
 I. 0:04, II. 11:13, III. 13:17
IV. 19:00, V. 21:50,  VI. 29:01

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

3/8 Music for Winds and Somersaulting Horses

(too much sforzandi?)
Continuing from yesterdays "brass" theme I found a great little chart of Beethoven's entire wind chamber music oeuvre from Tim Reynish's blog:

Tim's article is a good overview of B.'s wind output (no pun intended) and in it he reminded me of this great letter from B. to his student and patron the Archduke Rudolph:
I notice that your Imperial Highness wishes to make an experiment on horses by means of my music. It is to see, so I perceive, whether the riders thereby can make some clever somersaults. Ha ha, I must really laugh at your Imperial Highness thinking of me in this matter; for that I shall be to the end of my life,
Your most willing servant,
Ludwig Van Beethoven.
N.B.— The desired horse-music will reach your Imperial Highness at full gallop.

From a D.G. CD liner note: "In 1810 Beethoven added a second march, WoO.19, for a horse show held on the grounds of the imperial summer residence at Laxenburg, near Vienna, in August"

So forthwith are some march classics (including WoO.19) for the equestrian set.  Now, these are not exactly paragons of Beethovenian sublimity or even works which B. listed with official opus numbers, but they are, yes, another interesting demonstration of his versatility in many different genres - also they are pretty fun!

0:00 York'scher March for Military Music, WoO.18(1809)
1:27 March in F for Military Music, WoO.19(1810) ("Horse-music")
3:13 March und Trio for Military Music, WoO.20(1820) 'Zapfenstreich' (The Tattoo)
7:05 March in D for Military Music, WoO.24(1816)