Wednesday, September 16, 2015

BUCKET LIST UPDATE No. 234: Listen to Beethoven’s “Kreutzer Sonata” from start to finish

Rodolphe Kreutzer
Several years ago, while reading an article about world famous musician Ludwig van Beethoven, I ran across a reference to one of his most famous pieces of music, the “Kreutzer Sonata.” Like most people, I’d heard of this musical composition before, but I couldn’t honestly say that I’d listened to the entire thing from start to finish. For that reason, I added it to my “bucket list” a few years ago.

Many of you will remember from music appreciation class that a sonata is a musical composition for one (sometimes two) instrument (s) that consists of three or four sections (or movements) in different forms or keys. Beethoven wrote the “Kreutzer” Sonata, which is technically known as “Violin Sonata No. 9,” in 1803. This famous sonata was for the violin and piano, consists of three movements and is usually between 40 to 45 minutes long.

Many of you may be wondering why this sonata is called the “Kreutzer Sonata,” and that’s something that I’d always wondered about too. Earlier this year, I ran across an explanation in an article that said that it’s called the “Kreutzer Sonata” because Beethoven dedicated the piece to Rodolphe Kreutzer, who is considered one of the finest violinists of the 19th century.

Thanks to YouTube, I listened to the “Kreutzer Sonata” from start to finish for the first time yesterday (Sunday). Since, then I’ve listened to it several more times. In fact, I’m listening to it right now, as I type this.

Like most folks who’ve probably listened to this sonata, I found the first movement familiar. I’d heard it before, but I just didn’t know what it was called. It’s right at 15 minutes long.

I wasn’t as familiar with the second and third movements. The second movement is about 18 minutes long, and the third movement is about 10 minutes long. The second and third movements are faster than the first movement and have a totally different tone altogether.

Having now listened to this famous piece of music from start to finish, I can see why it’s so famous and well thought of. It’s a beautiful piece of music and somewhat spellbinding. I found myself listening with my eyes closed and trying to pick out every individual note. This gets harder once the piece progresses into the faster second and third movements.

Following note by note, I was impressed with the idea that Beethoven was obviously a genius. His God-given abilities allowed him to create works of art that people still enjoy today and pluck the emotional strings of people living hundreds of years after his death. Like a good movie, after listening to the “Kreutzer Sonata” for the first time, I was left with the overpowering desire to listen to it over and over again – which is what I did.

In the end, how many of you have ever listened to Beethoven’s “Kreutzer Sonata” from start to finish? What did you think about it? Let us know in the comments section below.

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