Living and Music: How to play the Heiliger Dankgesang?

The third movement of Beethoven’s 132 is considered to be one of the most moving pieces of music ever written.  If I were to begin working on the quartet now, the first decision I would want my group to make is whether we would play the Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesenen an die Gottheit, in der lydischen Tonart or (A Convalescent’s Holy Song of Thanksgiving to the Divinity, in the Lydian Mode) as a reality. When you go through something rough, is it possible to go full circle and get out of it, no remnants of pain? Or are you just a changed person, and every moment…even those of joy, have been changed from that experience?

I could go into, and if I ever work on it… will go into Beethoven’s use of Lydian Mode in this piece and his use of it in op. 127. Analyze the piece. And I might want to think, yes, he wrote this particular movement out of thanksgiving and joy, but what about the other movements? And what does it mean that the 3rd movement is not meant to (that we know) stand alone…but is the middle, the heart of a piece? Does the 3rd movement transform the direction of the piece or the cohesion? There is a lot to think about in this decision. But I’m not interested in those particular questions right now.

I guess I just want to know….how should we present music to audiences? Life is hard sometimes- do we want to hear the honesty of that in music? Or is there something to be said about music that stays or comes back intact, unjaded, whole? Does it transcend what has happened before or is it fooling itself? Is Art meant to be a reprieve we experience together? A yes…we know the world isn’t like this, but in this piece, it can be and we can experience it together? Or do we want to be confronted by hard truths together? and which of these two brings us closer together as humanity? If someone could just answer these really quick that’d be great thanks.

Of course there are not just two ways to present music, and I think both are necessary for different pieces, etc. And there’s not just two choices and two kinds of people which is what it seems like I’m saying. This is just my current thought struggle on how I would or wouldn’t play one of my favorite pieces of music.

Ling Ling

YES shorter post achieved!!!

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