The Answer is Joy

Beethoven is the ultimate progressive, believing that the world exists for us to improve. While his own circumstances were miserable – loveless, pain-stricken and frustratingly deaf – he retained to the last a shining faith in peace and understanding. Norman Lebrecht At the end of his Missa Solemnis, Beethoven asks great and terrible questions. Why … Continue reading The Answer is Joy

From the Heart: Beethoven’s Great Question

From the heart – may it return again – to the heart. Ludwig van Beethoven, as written on the autograph score In the last decade of his life, Beethoven turned his mind to composing an oratorio--a mass to celebrate the Archduke Rudolf's appointment to Archbishop. Rudolf, Beethoven's patron, student, and friend, commissioned the work, but … Continue reading From the Heart: Beethoven’s Great Question

Boo! A Gertus History of Music’s Playlist for Halloween

Classical music really doesn't do Halloween and, frankly, no other genre does it well. Here is a playlist of some of the creepiest music composed over the last 700 years or so. If you are tired of The Monster Mash (and, frankly, who isn't), here's an alternative.

The Friday Symposium: Beethoven Swings

It should not be a surprise to any regular reader of this blog that I consider Beethoven's chamber works to be his most significant compositions, and his piano sonatas in particular to be among those where my connection to Beethoven is strongest. Beethoven's final piano sonatas are breathtaking in their beauty and inventiveness and, perhaps, … Continue reading The Friday Symposium: Beethoven Swings

Beethoven Unleashed

Here’s a sonata that will challenge pianists and that people will be able to play in 50 years. Ludwig van Beethoven Now that Beethoven was writing for himself, he undertook to compose a piano sonata of such incredible power and complexity that it can only be described as symphonic. What became his 29th sonata for … Continue reading Beethoven Unleashed