3 min read.Updated: 17 Dec 2015, 05:59 PM ISTLivemint
Google decided to honour Beethoven with a Doodle puzzle which allows users to piece together some of his best compositions
New Delhi: Google decided to honour musical genius Ludwig van Beethoven on Thursday with a Doodle puzzle which allows users to piece together some of his best compositions. It was on this date, 245 years ago, 17 December 1770, that Beethoven was baptized (his exact birth date is unclear).
In a post describing the Doodle, Google said, “Today provided us a rare opportunity to construct a game in step with beautiful music, whose evocative moods, drama, lightness and depth made conjuring visuals to match it rollickingly fun."
Sebastian, the author of the Favourite Classical Composers website, writes, “This charming piece for seven instruments was one of Beethoven’s first ‘hits’ with musical society."
Moonlight Sonata, No. 14 Op. 27.
A hugely famous piece, with a slow, dark first movement. The story goes that the name was inspired by moonlight Beethoven saw while he improvised away on the piano. (In fact, it was named Moonlight by a critic, years after the composer died!)
Pathetique Sonata, No. 8 Op. 30
This one is Beethoven’s early piano sonatas. The slow second movement is well-known for the tragedy and deep emotions it expresses. It sounds very nostalgic, but somehow comforting as well.
Adelaide, Op. 46. Beethoven’s most popular song.
The lyrics are about idealized love for an unattainable woman, an experience which Beethoven had many times in his life.
Eroica Symphony (Third), Op. 55.
According to popular legend, the Eroica Symphony is considered to be one of Beethoven’s most important works. It was originally dedicated to Napoleon. However, “When Napoleon crowned himself emperor...Beethoven flew into a rage and violently stretched out the dedicatee’s name on the manuscript," writes Sebastian.
A post in Sinfini Music adds, “Completed in 1804, this work changed the musical world and is perhaps Beethoven’s defining piece. At a stroke, orchestral music moves into another dimension, with a breadth of conception and emotional freight and range beyond anything previously dreamed of; the exact concision and Classical symmetry of Mozart is left behind..."
Fifth Symphony, Op. 67.
“One of the best-known pieces in all of classical music. It opens with a famous ‘Fate’ motif which probably nearly everyone would recognize nowadays. Beethoven wrote the piece during a time of political turmoil and personal crisis. The works’ innovations were celebrated as ‘revolutionary’ at the time," writes Sebastian.
Fidelio, Op. 72. Beethoven’s only opera.
The story is about a wife who disguises herself as a prison guard to rescue her husband. Beethoven liked the heroic and political ideals of the story. Kreutzer Sonata, the groundbreaking violin sonata which redefined the genre.
Emperor piano concerto, (Fifth) Op. 73.
Beethoven’s last and most famous piano concerto, this is a strong and majestic piece.
Missa Solemnis, Op. 123.
One of Beethoven’s greatest achievements. It’s an epic setting of a sacred Mass.
Choral Symphony (Ninth), Op. 125.
The piece has been rightly called, a “masterpiece". It’s an extremely powerful symphony, which revolutionized all of music. The composer innovatively added a choir onto the last movement, to sing Schiller’s poem “Ode to Joy" to Beethoven’s magnificent melody. Astonishingly, Beethoven wrote it when he was completely deaf.
Grand Fugue, Op. 133."
For string quartet. This piece was originally the finale of a different string quartet, but the audience couldn’t understand it, and so Beethoven wrote a different finale and published the Grand Fugue separately. It’s a complex and experimental piece, which Stravinsky said would “always sound contemporary".
Fur Elise (no opus number)
Beethoven’s famous “Bagatelle", this is another piece which has an instantly recognizable melody. A great beginner’s piano piece!