Matthew Guerrieri

  • Aired:  01/31/13
  •  | Views: 11,559

Music critic Matthew Guerrieri examines Symphony No. 5, German Romanticism and Beethoven's dating life. (5:58)

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK, EVERYBODY.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

MY GUEST TONIGHT SAYS BEETHOVEN'S FIFTH SYMPHONY IS SHORTHAND FOR ALL CLASSICAL MUSIC.

GREAT, NOW I DON'T HAVE TO LISTEN TO THE REST OF IT.

[ LAUGHTER ]

PLEASE WELCOME MATTHEW GUERRIERI.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

AM I SAYING THAT RIGHT?

>> GUERRIERI.

>> Stephen: GREAT.

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

>> WARRIORS.

>> Stephen: YOU ARE MANY WARRIOR?

>> EXTREMELY ILL-NAMED IS WHAT I AM.

>> Stephen: LISTEN HERE, TOUGH GUY.

[ LAUGHTER ]

YOU'VE GOT A NEW BOOK CALLED "THE FIRST FOUR NOTES: BAY TOAF YEN'S FIFTH AND THE HUMAN

IMAGINATION." YOU ARE A MUSIC CRITIC FOR "THE BOSTON GLOBE", YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE BLOG SOHOTHEDOING.

WHY THIS SECTION OF THIS SYMPHONY?

WHY THE FIRST FOUR NOTES?

>> WELL, BECAUSE IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN CULTURE AND MUSICAL CULTURE THIS PIECE IS

THE BEGINNING OF THE MUSICAL CULTURE WE KNOW TODAY.

>> Stephen: DON DON, DON, DON DAH.

>> IT HAS AN OPENING EVERYBODY CAN REMEMBER.

>> Stephen:.

♪ ♪

>> IT KEEPS GOING.

>> Stephen: IT'S KIND OF REPETITIVE.

INCREDIBLE CELL PHONE JINGLE WRITER OF ALL TIMES?

[ LAUGHTER ]

>> THAT, I DON'T KNOW.

I DON'T HEAR IT THAT MUCH.

>> Stephen: REALLY?

>> I WISH I HEARD IT MORE.

>> Stephen: YOU HAVE TO HANG OUT WITH CLASSIER PEOPLE.

>> I DO.

>> Stephen: IS IT REVOLUTIONARY?

WHAT IS SO DIFFERENT ABOUT THE FACT THAT HE KEEPS DRIVING HOME THIS ONE THING THROUGHOUT THE

THEME OF THE ENTIRE SYMPHONY?

>> IT WAS AN UNUSUAL THING AT THE TIME AND IT WAS SORT OF A HOOK THAT LET A GROUP OF

THINKERS CALLED THE GERMAN ROMANTICS ADOPT THIS PIECE AS THEIR MUSICAL MASCOT.

THEY WERE TRYING TO REALLY RETHINK THE WAY THAT PEOPLE PERCEIVED MUSIC.

THEY WERE TRYING TO REORGANIZE THE HIERARCHY OF MUSICAL LIFE.

BEETHOVEN HAPPENED TO BET BEST COMPOSER AROUND.

THEY WANTED TO USE HIS MUSIC AS AN EXAMPLE TO ADVANCE THEIR IND INTELLECTUAL CAUSE AND THIS

PIECE TURNED OUT TO FIT THEIR AGENDA PERFECTLY.

IT'S THIS ABILITY TO TRACE THE MOTIVE THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE PIECE ACTUALLY TIES INTO A LOT

OF IT WILLARY IDEAS THEY ARE INTERESTED IN.

THEY ARE INTERESTED IN IDEAS OF ACHIEVING SOME SORT OF WHOLENESS, ACHIEVING ORGANIC

UNIT AFTER GOING THROUGH A JOURNEY OF MEETING UP WITH DOUBLES AND MEETING UP WITH SORT

OF -- SORT OF THESE UNCANNY COINCIDENCES.

AND THE PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS WAS AN AUTHOR NAMED ETI HOFFMAN WHO WROTE A LONG AND

FAMOUS REVIEW OF THE PIECE.

LATER ON HE WOULD GO ON TO WRITE FICTION THAT WAS FAMOUS AT THE TIME.

ALL OF THINKS FICTION IS ALL ABOUT THESE PEOPLE WHO MEET OTHER PEOPLE WHO THINK THEY ARE

LONG LOST TWINS, OR THEY MEET -- IN SOME OF THE STORIES THE CHARACTERS MEET PEOPLE WHO ARE

CLOCKWORK REP CAZ OF OTHER PEOPLE.

IT'S THIS WEIRD SORT OF IDEA THAT YOU HAVE TO GO THROUGH THIS HALL OF MIRRORS AND AT THE END

OF IT, YOU COME OUT REALIZING THAT THERE'S THIS WHOLENESS YOU DON'T QUITE HAVE ACCESS TO BUT

THE ROMANTICS BELIEVE MUSIC GAVE YOU A GLIMPSE OF THAT.

THESE ARE INCREDIBLY HEADY IDEAS BUT BEETHOVEN WAS THE DELIVERY VEHICLE FOR IT.

>> Stephen: NOW, I DID NOT FOLLOW ALL OF THAT.

[ LAUGHTER ]

SO THESE GERMANS HAD SOME BIG IDEAS.

>> VERY BIG.

>> Stephen: AND BETOAFEN'S MUSIC SEEMED LIKE A MANIFESTATION OF THESE IDEAS.

WHY THESE FOUR NOTES THE MANIFESTATION OF THAT?

YOU DON'T NEED TO GO THROUGH IT AGAIN.

[ LAUGHTER ]

BECAUSE I'LL BE JUST AS LOST.

>> TO BE HONEST, THEY WERE, TOO, SO.

>> Stephen: TO THEY HAD A ROMANTIC LONGING FOR SOME SORT OF IDEAL AND THEY THOUGHT THAT

THIS WAS THE IDEAL THE REPRESENT TITION OF THIS THEME SO -- WHAT DID I JUST SAY MEAN?

>> THEY WERE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT THAT SORT OF THING MEANT?

THEY WERE YEARNING FOR SOMETHING REALLY BEYOND HUMAN UNDERSTANDING.

>> Stephen: I THINK BEYOND HUMAN UNDERSTANDING, WERE THEY POPULAR?

WAS THIS A HIT?

>> THE FIRST PER FORMANCE WAS A DISASTER BUT ONCE HOFFMAN'S REVIEW CAME OUT PEOPLE BEGAN TO

TAKE IT SERIOUSLY AND IT DID BECOME FAIRLY WELL KNOWN.

IT'S REALLY ONE OF FIRST PIECES OF MUSIC WHERE PEOPLE FELT LIKE THEY HAD TO KNOW IT TO BE

CULTURALLY LITERATE.

>> Stephen: DID THEY HAVE GOOFY?

>> THE GERMAN ROMANTICS GLOMMED ON TO HIM.

>> Stephen: I MEANT THE LADIES UNLESS, YOU KNOW TORQUE EACH HIS OWN.

>> YOU HAD UNFULFILL ADD TACHMENTS WITH PURPOSELY UNATTAINABLE WOMEN THROUGHOUT

HIS LIFE.

THERE WAS A PAIR OF PSYCHOLOGISTS WHO WROTE A BOOK THAT SUGGESTED MAYBE HE WASN'T

THAT INTERESTED IN THE LADIES.

>> Stephen: ISN'T FUR ELISE FOR A LADY LOVE?

>> NOBODY IS QUITE SURE.

>> Stephen: IT WAS WRITTEN FOR ELISE.

MATTHEW THANK YOU FOR COMING ON WITH ME.

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