The First Four Notes review Ò 0

Matthew Guerrieri Û 0 characters

The First Four Notes review Ò 0 ð ❮PDF / Epub❯ ☀ The First Four Notes Author Matthew Guerrieri – A uniue and revelatory book of music history that examines in great depth what is perhaps the best known and most popular symphony ever written and its four note opening which has fascinated musicians A uniue anLar belief Beethoven was not deaf when he wrote the Fifth He traces the Fifth’s influence in China Russia and the United States Emerson and Thoreau were passionate fans and shows how the masterpiece was used by both the Allies and the Nazis in World War II Altogether a fascinating piece of musical detective work a treat for music lovers of every stripe. This book is as dense and self indulgent as you might expect if like me you are gobsmacked by the thought of anyone having written 282 pages about four notes The level of detail here puts Charles Dickens and Leo Tolstoy to shame But look again at that clever title or better yet read it aloud because the title has the same rhythm as its subject Moreover and to be fair Mr Guerrieri writes not only about the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony but also about the work as a whole together with its enduring impact throughout western culture and indeed world music He's done his homework He's an excellent writer And some of what he says is brilliantIf you love Beethoven's work and are intrigued by the way a masterpiece like the Fifth Symphony can influence or be appropriated by radically different kinds of people over two tumultuous centuries then this is a book you might enjoy It's also worth reading as a textbook example of how a confident writer marks uncharted territory I learned a lot from this book but Mr Guerrieri made me think and now I want to read something fast and trashy

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A uniue and revelatory book of music history that examines in great depth what is perhaps the best known and most popular symphony ever written and its four note opening which has fascinated musicians historians and philosophers for the last two hundred years Music critic Matthew Guerrieri reaches back before Beethoven’s time to examine what The First. Notice the eighth rest like a starter pistol right before the da da da dum Why And if you're the conductor How It's not there for nothing For me it's as if Beethoven knew And so he makes us pause first however briefly before he dramatically announces in four notes that music will never be the sameSo what does it mean The first four notes and the entirety of the Fifth Is it Fate knocking on the door In a surely apocryphal story Beethoven when asked what the first four notes meant replied You are too dumb What we learn in this marvelous study is that everyone seems to have an opinion about what Beethoven's Fifth means It has been appropriated and misappropriated It has made its way into movies and commercials and now ringtonesTrue there is a lot in here about Hegel a lot until our author notes that Its at this point that it becomes obvious just how contrived a target the opening of Beethoven's Fifth is for Hegel's logic a suare peg being crammed into a round philosophical hole Why did we bother I then wonderedMore appealing was the analysis of the use of those first four notes in World War II People in the Belgian resistance had been chalking the letters RAF on walls sidewalks and even on Nazi vehicles This drew the unwanted attention of the Gestapo so the resistance changed to the letter V symbolizing victory victoirie in French and freedom vrijheid in Flemish The Morse Code symbol for V is dot dot dot dash And so those four notes so recognizable became a whistling tune of resistance a hummed irritant to invadersI learned that the rhythmic foot the Fifth lays out short short short long was know in Classical antiuity as a uartus paeon I thought maybe this was going to be something else like Hegel that I really had no use for But Guerrieri kept getting back to that the uartus paeon and showing it in other musical statements and other examples of Fate knocking on a door Like I have a dreamLike Beethoven's Fifth it's a pause then a start Just a startI used to have a ringtone from Bach's Third Brandenburg Concerto but now I just vibrate

summary The First Four Notes

The First Four NotesPDF might have influenced him in writing his Fifth Symphony and forward into our own time to describe the ways in which the Fifth has in turn asserted its influence He uncovers possible sources for the famous opening notes in the rhythms of ancient Greek poetry and certain French Revolutionary songs and symphonies Guerrieri confirms that contrary to popu. Once in conversation with Antal Dorati then conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington DC he told me “You must remember that every time you perform the Beethoven Fifth Symphony in concert half the audience will never have heard it all the way through another third of that has never heard it performed at all and the final third has never heard it played by a professional orchestra So to almost all of your audience even the Beethoven Fifth will be a new experience” Hard as that is to believe it is probably true Yet everyone has heard the opening three Gs and an E flat in some form during their lifetimes The first four notes have represented Fate Death God and victory plus who knows how many other things but to this author they represent much than mere symbols; he traces those four notes through the rest of music history philosophy politics and mythology in a dense but rewarding study of a signal work in the artistic history of the West He goes into the myths surrounding the work—no Beethoven was not deaf when he wrote it for example and with infinite patience traces its transmogrification into pianists’ repertoires as well as rock studios I must admit that the most thrilling part of the C minor for me is the transition from the third movement scherzo into the glorious finale and the first appearance of the trombones in full voice It almost always depending on the performance lifts me partially out of my seat and makes me want to stand and shout But those first four notesPart of the discussion is about how the Germans struggled to maintain intellectual possession of the work Various French and English philosophers and aestheticians tried to kidnap the intellectual and cultural roots of the work but never succeeded Perhaps that explains in part why the Allies could use the Fifth as a symbol of winning the war—in Morse Code the three shorts and a long of the opening measures represents the letter “V” and yet the Germans kept playing the symphony as often as possible as well The Fifth soon became an international citizen usable by anybody who needed a psychological lift It will help you understand the book better if you have some musical education but it is not vital Philosophy might be help as background because it is the philosophical arguments that collide around the work that make it such a significant piece of art throughout the over 200 years since it was written Guerrieri touches on some of the technical problems of those opening notes As a conducting student in grad school I recall a very funny yet touching class in which one of the brightest of the students a pianist got “stuck” at the top of his downbeat unable to proceed until he lowered his arms shook out the tension and tried again to proceed to the downbeat The reason he froze was that the downbeat to the Fifth leads to silence—the piece starts with an eighth rest—and must convey not only the exact place for the downbeat and the resulting silence but the tempo at which the 3 eighth notes that follow must be played Then the conductor and the orchestra are confronted by a relatively short fermata or hold the cut off of which is the downbeat to the next measure which also ends in silence with three eighth notes followed by a longer hold Take my word for it if you have never tried to do it it is one of the sweatiest moments in any young conductor’s life to negotiate those few measures Then there are tempo problems throughout the symphony’s four movements The author spends considerable time discussing differences between conductors and Beethoven who had the opportunity to use a metronome and mark the tempi he wanted Most critics and musicians are in agreement that most of his markings are inappropriate for the music itself and the arguments go on This book is not light summer reading but it may lead to some pretty impressive summer listening and certainly a greater understanding of one of the most iconic single pieces of music in all of the history of the art Stick with it and realize how fascinating four notes—the first four notes—of a piece of music can be