Was Beethoven religious

Beethoven was "religious with almost missionary concerns"

The musical "annual regent" Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), born 250 years ago, was "religious with an almost missionary concern" despite the enlightenment influences that had an impact on him. The President of the Church Music Commission, Prof. Franz Karl Praßl, justified this assessment in a Kathpress interview with letters from the great classical composer - for example, on the Missa solemnis in D major, which he himself described as his most successful work. With this opus magnum it was his "main intention", "to arouse religious feelings both among the singers and among the listeners," wrote Beethoven in 1824 to a friend.

For the professor of Gregorian chant and church music, who teaches in Graz, it is certain that Beethoven felt the need to convey his religious feelings in his sacred music. The Missa Solemnis is entitled: "From the heart - may it again - go to the heart!" The "Piece of the liturgy - it was not concert hall music!" was accompanied by Beethoven's intensive research in the fields of theology, liturgy and the history of church music, from the time of the creation of Gregorian chant to Palestrina to Bach and Handel. "Arrogant", as the composer, who has lived in Vienna since he was 22, had already claimed at his first Mass in C major (1807) that he had treated the mass text in a way "that he has not yet dealt with much ", reminded Praßl.

According to the church music expert, sacred music before Beethoven was "mostly pressed into formal schemes that were no longer questioned", but there were compositions that broke new ground, such as the six late symphonic masses by Joseph Haydn, which was given to the young Beethoven after he moved from Bonn Gave composition lessons. Its C major mass, commissioned by Prince Nikolaus II von Esterházy, has unmistakable echoes of the "timpani mass" of his master.

For Beethoven - and Schubert too - their masses are "a personal commitment, an expression of their piety and personal religiosity," stressed Praßl. In connection with this, there has been a change towards the subjectivity of religious expression. Unlike Mozart, whose church-commissioned masses were often "intelligent meter goods" - as Praßl said - Beethoven should be seen as a composer "who puts himself at the service of the liturgy". Its spirituality is shown not only in his manageable sacred music, but also in the "Heiligenstädter Testament" (1802) or in his hymn ode to the joy that musically pays homage to the Creator God who lives above the starry sky.

In addition to President Franz Karl Praßl, the Salzburg-based church music commission consists of the heads of the ten diocesan church music departments in Austria and the auxiliary bishop Anton Leichtfried (St. Pölten). It acts as an advisory body to the Bishops' Conference on questions of church music and is responsible, among other things, for praise of God and its accompanying publications. (Link: www.kirchenmusikkommission.at)

Biographical information on Beethoven

The only thing that is certain about Ludwig van Beethoven's start in life is his christening date, December 17, 1770. He was probably born the day before, but the date on which he was accepted into the Catholic Church is the shooting date - and the focal point for the celebrations for his 250th birthday. Beethoven was a musical child prodigy whose talent was recognized early by his strict father and led to a solid education. As a seven-year-old Beethoven made his first public appearance as a pianist, and as a member of the court orchestra in Bonn, when he was twelve, he was deputy to the court conductor on the organ. Beethoven was ideologically influenced by Enlightenment ideas at the court of Elector Maximilian Franz, such as Joseph II, a son of Empress Maria Theresa and as clergyman archbishop of Cologne and prince-bishop of Münster.

In 1786/87 Beethoven stayed in Vienna for the first time at the instigation of the Elector, where he was to become Mozart's student of composition. However, there is no evidence of an encounter with the genius, who is almost 15 years older than him. Beethoven's second study trip to Vienna in 1792 turned into a permanent and permanent stay, he took composition lessons with Joseph Haydn until 1794, later he was tutored by Antonio Salieri, among others. Aristocratic patrons enabled the composer to pursue an independent artistic existence.

Beethoven's growing success as a pianist and composer was overshadowed by a serious impairment: around 1798 the first symptoms of the hearing disorder that ultimately led to almost complete deafness appeared. Its cause is unclear. The illness plunged Beethoven into a serious personal crisis, which at times even made him think of suicide. Evidence of this phase is the "Heiligenstädter Testament" from 1802, which was not found until after his death in 1827. In it, Beethoven explains that the illness "meant that I had to isolate myself early and spend my life alone".

Despite this impairment, another 25 productive years followed, during which Beethoven created his most important works. He did not go to church in Vienna, but had contact with clergymen. The composer, whose health had been impaired since he was 30, died on March 26, 1827 at the age of 56 in Vienna. Before his death, Beethoven received the final sacraments and expressly requested a Catholic burial. This took place at the Währing local cemetery with great interest from the Viennese population; Franz Grillparzer wrote the funeral speech, one of the 36 torchbearers was Franz Schubert. Beethoven's final resting place has been an honorary grove in Vienna's central cemetery since 1888.

Source: kathpress