Rossi And Beethoven Comparison

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The nineteenth century was a very important time for music, an age often defined by two composers - Ludwig van Beethoven and Gioachino Rossini. These two composers represented and were key to the development of that era’s musical powerhouses, German instrumental music and Italian opera respectively. Despite the composers’ similar importance to their respective genres, Beethoven and Rossini are often viewed as polar opposites with Beethoven reigning as superior; however, the veracity and connotation of this presentation is unclear. One can compare Beethoven and Rossini via their music’s structure, style, and subject matter. While they had somewhat opposing styles and executions of their musical ideas, these composers had a similar philosophy …show more content…
Rossini’s music had a formulaic quality with many of his operas being similar in structure. He utilised a general framework called “la solita forma” in which operas followed a standardized pattern based in building drama and increasing complexity (Beghelli, 2011, p.97). This formula enabled Rossini and other composers to maintain a high volume of output over a short period of time without sacrificing quality or audience reception. A result of method was work that often lacked thematic recurrence and had a segmented quality. Instead of his music consistently informing itself, Rossini’s “melody...breaks off after a few bars instead of being prolonged into the infinite” (Dahlhaus, 1991, p.60). Rossini’s tendency to essentially repeat himself was not only seen in the organization of his works, but also in the use of certain melodies across works. Rossini often plagiarized himself, borrowing from “works that failed to circulate” or inserting melodies into works “that were not expected to circulate”, and this “practice of self-borrowing [was] often sharply censured by critics” (Senici, 2013, p.248). This practice was common among opera composers at the time and it is difficult to determine if Rossini self-plagiarized more than his contemporaries. The act of reusing material immediately went against romantic …show more content…
By placing Beethoven and Rossini on opposing ends of the musical spectrum, a binary is imposed which divides music and relegates certain composers, and by extension their genres, as less “evolved” and thus important. Further, the fact that Beethoven is seen as superior to Rossini due to the “transcendent”, unavailable nature of his music preserves and ultimately drives the idea that art and entertainment are mutually exclusive and the superiority of the former. This false polarization reinforces “‘the great divide’ between ‘high’ art and ‘popular’ entertainment…[which characterizes] modern culture” (Senici, 2013, p.253) and may lead to the premature dismissal of a composer’s work. In terms of the significance of their music, both Rossini and Beethoven went against the grain of what was originally in vogue and had lasting impacts on music history and evolution. Their innovations of both composer became the standard for their respective genres. The mere fact that Beethoven and Rossini appreciated each other’s company and music may illustrate that our retroactive polarization of these two composers and its ramifications may be more detrimental to our appreciation and analysis of music than

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