Beethoven's Life and Music After Napoleon Essay

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Beethoven was a political composer. He stubbornly dedicated his art to the problems of human freedom, justice, progress, and community. The Third Symphony, probably Beethoven's most influential work, centers around a funeral march provoking patriotic ceremonies from the French Revolution. Beethoven was a long time admirer of Napoleon Bonaparte. So he dedicated the symphony to Napoleon, but when Napoleon was proclaimed the Emperor of France, he scratched the dedication to Napoleon. This Symphony is cited as the marking end of Beethoven's classical era and the beginning of musical Romanticism. But what of Beethoven after Napoleon? Beethoven's life and music became worse after the Third Symphony was composed because of his reaction to …show more content…
It is said by critics that the political content of Beethoven's works after this only shows a negative relationship to the outer world. Theodor Adorno, one of those critics, interpreted Beethoven's withdrawal from the affirmative manner of his heroic style as a negation of false promises of the Enlightenment and Revolution:
The musical experience of the late Beethoven must have been mistrustful of the unity of subjectivity and objectivity, the roundness of the symphonic success, the totality emerging from the movement of all of the parts; in short, of everything that gave authenticity up to now to the works of his middle period.1

Napoleon becoming the Emperor was not the only reason he did not dedicate the Third Symphony to him. Beethoven was disappointed in Napoleon's turn towards imperialism. Beethoven had a repressive, anti-liberal attitude that drove him into an inner emigration.
Beethoven already started to lose his hearing way before his dedication to Napoleon. Becoming deaf made his life miserable, but he tried to come to terms with his condition. The most likely reason for his loss of hearing is probably because of lead poisoning. There were high amounts of lead found in his hair. Beethoven was often irascible and may have suffered from bipolar disorder and irritability brought on by chronic abdominal pain that has been attributed to possible lead poisoning Over time his hearing loss…

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