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A Beethoven Triptych (2006)


beethoven triptychDISCLAIMER

I have not put a text to these sublime Beethoven Sonatas!  What I have done (see i.e. "A Cure for the Romantic Virus") is analyze these works under the formal aspect of metrical/proportional analysis.  During the twelve years I worked on these three sonatas the "Soggetto Cavato", the text - beginning with Opus 101, then Opus 111 and last Opus 110 simply revealed itself to me.

Revised August 1997
2002 Revised June 2010 copy-right Willem Ibes

Update: In Opus 111, I have made a small change in the text of example 6 provided the complete Arietta theme of example 7.  Click here to view these updates.

View detailed commentary and learn more about Beethoven Triptych.

This CD and the research that forms its foundation was twelve years in the making. The movie I saw in 1994, "Immortal Beloved," spurred me on to address once again (how many accounts had I read already!) the question of the Immortal Beloved's identity. Who could that woman have been to whom Beethoven addressed (in very sloppy handwriting, written with "her" pencil!) the ten-page letter, found, after the composer's death, in a secret drawer of his desk, which contained those tatalizing words: "unsterbliche Geliebte," "immortal Beloved"? By 1998 I had succeeded not only in discovering her identity but, thanks in large extent to having recovered from the Romantic Virus, crack the hidden code in the work that forms its basis: the name of the beloved "Dorothea," rivaling in its myriad manifestations and emotional colors, Petrarca's poems to Beatrice. It took me another four years to discover that Beethoven's last sonata also contained a code, none other than the text of Bach's famous Cantata "Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott." Beethoven's God is not Bach's God, but the trust in Him is as strong for Beethoven as it was for Bach. How many countless hours did I have to spend, trying to change my "toucher" in the first movement from anger and violence, to one of joy and celebration!

Without the in-depth analysis of these two sonatas (and it goes without saying my ongoing recovery from the Romantic Virus), Beethoven's penultimate sonata would have remained an enigma. However, through a combination of diligence, good luck and beyond anything else, God's grace, I made the most incredible discovery of all. Beethoven's Opus 110 is also based on the text (oh, yes, as in Beethoven's last sonata, the composer, as a good detective writer, throws a good-sized hint by including Bach's melody as well) of one of Bach's (funeral) motets:"Jesu, meine Freude", "O Jesus, my Joy," as the soggetto cavato  (hidden subject or text.) For the Fugue, the sonata's last movement,  Beethoven creates a whole new theme (non licet hundreds of commentators who copy each other and see the Fugue theme as derived from the first moveme'sopening theme; that is what happens when you leave mathematics out of the picture!) and in a tour de force Bach would have admired, uses the original subject (theme) as countersubject to the new Fugue theme. I was no longer utterly surprised to discover that the Fugue itself is also based on the Te Deum text "Herr Gott, dich lob' ich, alleluia" "Lord God I praise Thee, alleluia," I hope the reader understands that this music is not of the kind "I have heard it once, I know what it is about." Only repeated hearings - "with the ears of the heart" as Saint Benedict counsels in his Rule - will slowly uncover the marvelous fecundity of Beethoven's mind and heart, in the process, nourishing, enriching and expanding our own heart and soul.

Click on the links below to download FREE sample tracks!

Sonata Opus 101 in A major (IMMORTAL BELOVED "Dorothea - Adoro te")
Etwas lebhaft und mit der innigsten Empfindung (Somewhat lively and with the most intimate feeling) - 1st mvt
Lebhaft. Marschmaeszig (Lively, like a March) - 2nd mvt
Langsam und sehnsuchtvoll (Slow and with yearning), Geschwind, doch nicht zu sehr, und mit Entschlossenheit (Fast, but not too much, and with decisiveness) - 3rd & 4th mvt

Sonata Opus 111 in C Minor (CREDO "Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott" "A mighty fortress is our God")

Maestoso - Allegro con brio ed appassionato
Arietta - Adagio molto semplice e cantabile (Theme and Variations)

Sonata Opus 110 in Ab Major (CHRISTMAS 1821 "Jesu, meine Freude" "O Jesus, my Joy" "Herr Gott dich lob' ich, alleleuia" "Lord God I praise thee, alleluia"
Moderato cantabile molto espressivo
Allegro molto - 1st mvt
Adagio ma non troppo - 2nd mvt
Fuga - Allegro ma non troppo ("Te Deum") - 3rd & 4th mvt

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