By Stephen Rumph
During this provocative research of Beethoven's overdue variety, Stephen Rumph demonstrates how deeply political occasions formed the composer's track, from his early enthusiasm for the French Revolution to his later entrenchment through the Napoleonic period. outstanding in its breadth of study in addition to for its devotion to interdisciplinary paintings in song heritage, Beethoven after Napoleon demanding situations authorised perspectives via illustrating the effect of German Romantic political idea within the formation of the artist's mature type. Beethoven's political beliefs, Rumph argues, weren't relatively as liberal as many have assumed. whereas students agree that the works of the Napoleonic period akin to the Eroica Symphony or Fidelio embrace enlightened, innovative beliefs of development, freedom, and humanism, Beethoven's later works have attracted much less political remark. Rumph contends that the later works express transparent affinities with a local German ideology that exalted historical past, faith, and the natural totality of nation and society. He claims that because the Napoleonic Wars plunged Europe into political and financial turmoil, Beethoven's starting to be antipathy to the French reflected the adventure of his Romantic contemporaries. Rumph continues that Beethoven's flip inward isn't any pessimistic retreat yet a favorable confirmation of recent conservative beliefs.
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Extra info for Beethoven after Napoleon: Political Romanticism in the Late Works
His symphonies lead us unto unbounded, green groves, in a cheerful, motley throng of humanity. . A life full of love, of bliss, as if before the Fall, in eternal youthfulness” (p. 35). ” It is Beethoven who penetrates to the inner darkness, the realm of the monstrous and the immeasurable. Fiery beams shoot through the deep night of this realm, and we become aware of giant shadows that wave up and down, draw closer in upon us, and annihilate everything in us, except the pain of inﬁnite yearning in which every desire that rushed upwards in jubilant tones sinks down and perishes; and only in this pain, in which love, hope, joy are consumed, but not destroyed, and which must burst our hearts with a full-throated chorus of all the passions, do we live on as enraptured spiritual visionaries.
Tsar Alexander I drew on Romantic ideas in formulating the Holy Alliance, and Ludwig I of Bavaria enthusiastically embraced the Nazarenes. During the 1830s Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia embarked on a deliberately Romantic cultural program, summoning the mystical Schelling to teach philosophy at the University of Berlin and rebuilding the Cologne cathedral—efforts that earned him David Strauss’s lampoon Ein Romantiker auf dem Throne des Cäsars (1847). Yet the Vormärz critics painted an incomplete picture.
The tensions and ambiguities of Romantic political writing come to light in Hoffmann’s operatic manifesto Der Dichter und der Komponist. ” he exclaimed, “what will become of the arts in these rough, stormy times? Will they not wither like delicate plants that in vain turn their tender heads toward the dark clouds behind which the sun disappeared? Oh, Ferdinand, where have the golden days of our youth gone, what has come of our struggles? All that’s ﬁner in life is inundated by the raging torrent that tears along, devastating our ﬁelds.