Beethoven's sketches


  • Intro

    Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) is one of the most significant and influential composers in the history of western music. He was a ground-breaker, and his work marked a transition in music from the Classical style, full of poise and balance, to the Romantic style, characterised by emotion and impact. He was also a difficult and unsociable man, who felt bitter and isolated by the deafness which developed in his 20s. These sketches, relate to the first movement of the 'Pastoral' Symphony, his Sixth. In this symphony Beethoven was aiming to evoke the feelings of being back in the countryside after too long in the city. He includes imitations of bird calls, babbling brooks, shepherds and thunderstorms. Beethoven was a notoriously messy worker. His sketchbooks but also his working scores are full of crossings out, amendments and scribbles.


    Shelfmark: MS 31766, f.2

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