[Marxism] In Search of Beethoven

Ian Pace ian at ianpace.com
Wed Sep 23 16:51:45 MDT 2009

From: "S. Artesian" <sartesian at earthlink.net>

> Yes, Beethoven did certainly compose "Wellington's Victory..."   Amazing
> that nobody bothers to mention what a terrible piece of music it is--  
> total,
> irredeemable dreck, written  by Beethoven with at least the partial intent
> to parody/imitate/employ Malzel's (Beethoven's collaborator on and
> instigator of this piece) invention-- the panharmonicon.

I can hardly think of anything I've read on Beethoven (and I've read a great 
deal) that *doesn't* claim that this work is awful. Same with 'Der 
Glorreiche Augenblick', another work from around the same time written for 
the Congress of Vienna. Yet Beethoven made more money from these works over 
a couple of years than at any other time in his life. Usually they are 
viewed as tangential in terms of his output; that's not a view I adhere to, 
thinking instead that some seeds of his late style (but pre- the late 
quartets) were sown there. A move away from individualistic bourgeois 
heroism towards militarism.
> I think we're much better off not trying to make of Beethoven anything 
> other
> than what he was-- 

I really don't know what that means.

> as Robert Greenberg puts it in his lectures on
> Beethoven's Symphonies-- "genius and troublemaker."

The whole conception of 'genius' has come under sustained scrutiny by recent 
Beethoven scholars.

> His democracy, his
> liberty, and freedom, his overthrow of convention is his music.  It's all
> about the music, not Beethoven's politics.
I don't really accept that the music doesn't in itself constitute a form of 


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