Monday, October 31, 2005

Beethoven's Ninth: Allegro, VII

Bet you thought I'd never get back to this. I will finish at least this movement, but these posts will probably be a once-a-month deal from here on out (If you are new to this thread, you'll have to go to the archives for the previous posts, but when I'm done I will post PDF and MIDI files of this entire analysis and transcription on my .Mac FileShare page).

Problem is, this analysis got my compositional juices flowing. The whole Sonata Zero guitar sonata "thing" has been pent up inside of me for the past few years: Beethoven just ignited the required spark, so "off I went". After analyzing the three movements of that guitar sonata, I realize I need a fourth movement in C to balance it out, but I'm now in no mood to write it. So, it's back to free fugues and Beethoven's Ninth.

We are now at measure 275, and theme four appears here in the dominant region. However, this theme is elongated from it's origanal form, and modulates from v to bIII. The bIII region continues into an episode comprised of the head and tail of the main theme, t2, in both rectus and inversus forms, over a variant of the tail figure of that theme. This episode continues through the end of the page, building in intensity as it progresses.

This episode modulates to the parallel major at the top of page seventeen (Can you really fathom how much effort went into just entering this music into Encore?!), and at 297 the t2 theme's head is utilized to get back to... the beginning of the movement... again. Only this time, the intensity is increased, and we are in the tonic level major mode. Basically, the entire "introduction" is replayed here, but now in D major.

At measure 313 we get to a huge hammered-home B-flat dominant seventh chord. Where the Samuel B. Heck did this come from?! The only way I could figure to analyze this was as a subV(7)/V, or in traditional parlance, as an enharmonically notated so-called German Augmented Sixth chord. But... It does not progress to the dominant, it goes directly to the tonic! Ironically, not only is this not jarring or unusual in this context, but it seems natural and inevitable. Sort of.

I seriously can't understand how anyone can possibly think the "well has run dry" with tonality when confronted by music like this. This is just the tip of an iceburg Beethoven only glimpsed opaquely in my view, but... excuse me... frack-all, what an iceburg!!

t1a appears at measure 315, and it's harmonization is fairly mild, but look at the main theme! Double-U, Tee, Eff? Uh... I would never have though of this... until now. WHAT A PASSAGE!!! There are no words to describe this level of perfection. Or intensity. I'm simply aghast here as a listener and as a theorist.

I analyzed 323-326 as being in G minor, but I may change that back to the tonic, as my bVI could easily be rationalized as a Neapolitan chord in root position, but isn't this just fantastic?! Sorry to get so over-the-top, but this is an all-conquering supreme masterpiece, and no words can do it justice.

The page break is unfortunate, as Beethoven here begans a sublime sequence that, incredibly, "sheds" all of the intensity he's built up to here. But, just look at the harmonies!

This may be the single best project I've ever undertaken. So many things I'm learning here just can't be set into words by a crappy writer like me. Sorry about that.


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