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Scott Burnham: "God and the Voice of Beethoven"

Scott Burnham
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Friday, October 16, 2020
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4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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Online: Join Zoom Meeting (Meeting ID: 957 2349 9047,
Passcode: 745030).

This talk explores what happens to Beethoven's compositional voice when he attempts to address the Deity, or to represent the Deity, in the finale of the Ninth Symphony and in several movements of the Missa Solemnis. Faced with God, Beethoven often takes his voice beyond the normatively human, pushing it through various extreme intensifications. These include sheer sonic magnitude, electrifying anticipations, extraterritorial harmonies, and ecstatic recitations. Scott Burnham is Distinguished Professor of Music at the CUNY Graduate Center, as well as Scheide Professor of Music History Emeritus at Princeton University. He is the author of "Beethoven Hero" (Princeton, 1995), a study of the values and reception of Beethoven's heroic-style music, and "Mozart's Grace" (Princeton, 2013), an exploration of beauty in the music of Mozart.