Morning Glories: Birthday Beethoven

December 15, 2014
Beethoven, 1820
A portrait of Beethoven by Joseph Karl Stieler, 1820.
Image via Wikimedia Commons

Every weekday at 10 a.m., the hosts at Classical MPR play a standout work based on the theme for the week. We call these works Morning Glories.

This week brings us the birthday of the man who for many is the archetypal composer in the classical tradition, Ludwig van Beethoven (the evidence points to a December 16 birthday — no one is absolutely sure). We'll note the anniversary with five Morning Glories, each in a different genre: sonata, symphony, string quartet, ballet, and choral.

Monday

Piano Sonata No. 21
Several of Beethoven's most popular sonatas have nicknamed — "Moonlight," "Appassionata," and this one, the "Waldstein," which commemorates one of Beethoven's aristocratic patrons.

Tuesday

Symphony No. 7
Many people know this symphony for its enigmatic, unforgettable second movement. The rhythmic energy of this symphony, even in its slow passages, has earned it the famous description of the "apotheosis of the dance."

Wednesday

String Quartet No. 1
Chamber music from the young Beethoven, very much influenced by Mozart and by his teacher, Haydn.

Thursday

Creatures of Prometheus Suite
This suite comes from the one and only ballet from the pen of the mature Beethoven.

Friday

Choral Fantasy
A choral piece, a piano piece, an orchestral piece — all mixed into one. If you hear a foreshadowing of the "Ode to Joy" in this work — you aren't the only one!