British Architecture

British architecture is loved all over the world, especially in the USA who’s architects take lots of styles and themes from their British counterparts. Get me my mortgage have put together a neat timeline that shows how British housing styles have changed over the last century. Which style is your favourite? let us know in the comments!

Tudor – 1485 – 1603

tudor house

The Tudor house was defined by its Tudor arch and oriel windows. The Tudor period was the first period to move away from the medieval style houses and was more like a timber framed country house. Today Tudor houses are all listed building and highly sought after due to there location and the amount of space and history involved. Tudor houses are an expensive housing option so be prepared for the financial layout and upkeep costs. If that doesn’t put you off then buying a Tudor house could be a great investment and opportunity to keep English heritage alive.

Elizabethan – 1550 -1625

elizabethan house

Elizabethan houses can be recognised by their large vertical timber frames that are often supported by diagonal beams. The Elizabethan style houses were similar to medieval style houses. These houses were built sturdy to last through the age. The houses were built by the middle class are are today listed building.

Jacobean – 1603 – 1625

Jacobean house

The Jacobean style gets its name from King James 1 of England who reigned at the time. The Jacobean style in England follows the Elizabethan style and is the second phase of Renaissance architecture. May Jacobean houses were very large both inside and out with large rooms for family living.  Common features included columns and pilasters, arches and archades. These features were to create a sense of grandeur. There are many Jacobean style houses on the market today if your lucky enough to be able to afford one.

Stuart – 1603 – 1714

stuart house

One of the most common period property types for country houses. This period house boasted elegant exteriors with sash windows, high ceiling and spacious rooms. The outside was commonly bare brick and flat fronted.

English Baroque – 1702 – 1714

During this period houses were decorated with arches, columns and sculptures and took many features and characteristics from the continent. The interiors were very exuberant with artwork and ornaments in all rooms main rooms

Palladian – 1715 -1770

palladian house

The Palladian era started in 1715 and these types of houses are characterised by symmetry and classic forms, more plain than other eras however on the inside houses were lavish and often had elaborate decorations

Georgian – 1714 – 1837

georgian house

The Georgian house was styled with rigid symmetry, the most common Georgian house was built with brick with window decorative headers and hip roofs. The Georgian house period started and got its name due to the 4 successive kings being named George.

Regency – 1811 – 1820

regency house

The Regency housing style was common among the upper and middle classes from 1811 to 1820 the houses were typically built in brick and then covered in painted plaster. The plaster was carefully moulded to produce elegant decorative touches to give the exterior of the house more elegance.

Victorian – 1837 – 1910

victorian house

Very common even today especially in London. A Victorian house in general refers to any house build during the reign of Queen Victoria. The main features of a Victoria house are roofs made of slate with sash windows and patters in the brick work that are made using different colour bricks. Stained Glass windows and doors were also a common feature as were bay windows

Edwardian – 1901 -1910

edwardian house

Edwardian architecture got its name during the reign of King Edward from 1901 – 1910. These types of houses were generally built in a straight line with red brick. Edwardian houses typically had wooden frame porches and wide hallways. The rooms inside were wider and brighter moving away from the older style houses that were more gothic. Parquet wood floors and simple internal decoration was common also.

Johannes Brahms

When Brahms was 20 years old, Robert Schumann described him in a journal as: “a young composer quite outside the Wagner-Liszt circle…hailed as something of a musical Messiah” (qtd. in Plantinga 411)

Musical scholars have many differing views of Romantic composer Johannes Brahms. We see him as a classical figure of 19th-century Germany adhering to past musical traditions, as well as a “progressive” individualist (Musgrave 1). Although highly successful as a musician, Brahms wasn’t happy or satisfied with his achievements. A withdrawn person, he “would retreat into himself, revealing less and less, placing the finely wrought mask of his music between himself and the world” (Swafford x). Perhaps this conception of the man as a “lonely artist” grew out of his early childhood experiences. At a tender young age, Brahms was forced to play in pubs and brothels due to his family’s financial problems. Later claiming this affected him for the rest of his life, Brahms admitted a craving for prostitutes as well as misogynist tendencies. “In his mind the women he loved must be talented, and must be eternal virgins. And he must not soil them with his lust” (30).


Johannes Brahms was born in Hamburg on May 7, 1833, to Johann Jacob Brahms and Christiane Nissen. His father belonged to a military band and also played double-bass in an orchestra. Though the talented child was taught by his father to play the violin, cello, and valveless horn, Brahms’s main desire was learning the piano. In 1840, Johannes began taking music lessons from Otto Friedrich Willibald Cossel. In addition to mastering the keyboard instrument, Brahms announced he wanted to compose. Only seven years old, the child still proceeded to accomplish and learn a great deal. As he advanced in musical skill, Brahms studied piano and composition with Eduard Marxsen (1806-1887). Johannes performed his first public concert in November 1847, in Hamburg. The following year he made a solo piano debut. In order to fund his future education, Brahms gave a private subscription concert (Musgrave 293). By the mere age of eight, “this little boy from the slums had acquired the aura of the extraordinary that would surround him for the rest of his life” (Swafford 21).


Throughout Brahms’s musical career, he had difficulties holding jobs. For instance, his position as artistic director of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde lasted only three years. But through giving concerts and writing music, he always managed financial stability. In 1853, Brahms went on a concert tour with Hungarian violinist Edvard Reményi (1828-1898). Spending some time in Weimar, he became acquainted with Franz Liszt (1811-1886). In Düsseldorf, Johannes met the Schumanns, who would become the most influential friends in the composer’s life. Robert Schumann (1810-1856) later made Brahms famous with an essay entitled “New Paths” in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik.

Introduced to lifelong companion and famous violinist Joseph Joachim (1831-1907) in April of 1853, Brahms started studying counterpoint with the musician in 1856. In 1855, Brahms played his first piano performance with orchestra. During November of the same year was his first concert in America — in New York City (Musgrave 295). However, Johannes was forced to return to Düsseldorf and help with Robert Schumann’s affairs, as his close friend was becoming increasingly mentally ill.

From 1859-62, Brahms conducted a women’s chorus in Hamburg. A female piano student had requested that he write a vocal folksong setting for performance with the young woman’s friends. This created the forty-voice choir called the Hamburger Frauenchor. In this city, the musician was also highly active as a piano teacher as well as a choral conductor. Despite Brahms’s efforts to stay in Hamburg due to his close-knit relationship with family members, he moved to the musical center of Vienna in 1862. Obtaining stable professional music positions, he remained in this city for the rest of his life. Brahms was offered the position Director of the Hamburg Philharmonic Concerts, but instead accepted a job with the Wiener Singakademie (1863-4), a vocal ensemble performing music mostly from previous eras. Later he was appointed Director of the concerts at the Musikverein, where he conducted a choir and orchestra from 1872-75. During this time, Brahms also taught and played his own concerts, but these opportunities came along infrequently.

Johannes Brahms was offered a Doctorate by the University of Cambridge through Stanford and McFarren, but graciously refused the honor (Musgrave 304). In 1879, the University of Breslau gave him an honorary doctorate bearing the title “Now the first among contemporary masters in Germany of music in the strict style” (Plantinga 434). Indeed, the composer was most interested in old music, folk music, autograph scores of the Viennese masters, as well as previously issued theory treatises. Involved in editing music of older composers, Brahms became familiar with important works of C.P.E. Bach (1714-1788), Couperin (1668-1733), Handel (1685-1759), and Schubert (1797-1828). Typically conducting dated choral music, he prepared for performance some great works of J.S. Bach (1685-1750) and Handel, as well as Renaissance composer Heinrich Isaac (1450-1517).

An interest in nonmusical activities pervaded all aspects of Brahms’s life. Though never formally part of a church, he was deeply interested in religion and extensively read the Bible. Also intrigued with German literature and drama, foreign works, art and travel, current events, and culture and politics, Brahms developed an extensive library in his home on both musical and nonmusical subjects. In all venues, Johannes was infatuated with the past and with musicology. Intensely studying earlier compositional eras, he particularly collected autograph manuscripts of W.A. Mozart (1756-1791) and Robert Schumann.

Particularly independent and stubborn, the composer wrote primarily for himself. Second in importance and priority were his friends and the public. In many compositions, Brahms cultivated what the Viennese Classic masters had left behind: the genres of chamber sonata, concerto, lieder, and the symphony. Marked by the completion of the First Symphony in 1876, his works can be divided into compositional halves (Musgrave 8). Brahms began to write and publish in 1851. Marked by the Chorale Preludes for organ that were published posthumously in 1902, 1896 has been recorded as his last compositional year. Romantic musical scholar Rey Longyear suggests that Brahms’s first works in any given genre are experimental. Second pieces are generally “the best or most ‘Romantic’” such as the A-Major Violin Sonata, Op. 100. Characteristically, the third composition in each category is either the most “Classical” in nature, or the most abstract (196-7).


While composers like Hector Berlioz (1803-1869), Franz Liszt (1811-1886), and Richard Wagner (1813-1883) looked toward new and innovative styles, Brahms stayed within the Classical traditions of the 18th century. In fact, sources note that he opposed the “New German School,” (Plantinga 411) and that he practically worshipped Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven (1770-1827). In addition, he made no effort to cultivate the trend of programmatic music associated with the Romantic period. “Brahms was a Janus-like figure who looked backward, seeking inspiration from the older Baroque and Classical traditions, while at the same time he looked forward and seemed the embodiment of modernism” (Oswald in Frisch 23). Interested also in nationalism, Brahms created German folk arrangements, children’s songs, and nationalist art songs that made the composer “truly German,” in his own words (Machlis & Forney 326). Brahms dedicated fourteen German folksongs from 1858 to Robert’s and Clara’s children.

Though he followed the footsteps of the Viennese masters, both Classic and Romantic styles are recognized in his own counterpoint, large compositional forms, coloring sensitivity, creative harmonies (chromaticism and voice-leading), and the development of motifs. Broken chords, full textures, note doubling in the melodies, and use of cross-rhythms and appoggiaturas characterize the composer’s piano style. Yet there is a simple and lyrical quality in the lieder, as well as imaginative ideas in rhythm, meter, and phrasing. Also very patriotic in nature, Brahms wrote the Triumphlied for chorus and orchestra, Op. 55, which referred to the Franco-Prussian War.

Despite the conception of Brahms as a conservative figure, 20th-century composer Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) wrote in 1947 that “Brahms, the classicist, the academician, was a great innovator in the realm of musical language, that, in fact, he was a great progressive” (qtd. in Musgrave 2). But he is truly understood as a musician of continuity, who had considerable knowledge of earlier music, and as a figure who kept tradition.


Robert Schumann has called Johannes Brahms the savior of German music. “Brahms spent the rest of his days trying to live up to that prophecy, ever fearful of proving unworthy of his musical inheritance” (qtd. in Swafford). First works include three Piano Sonatas, Opp. 1, 2, and 5. Written from 1852-3, one can already see some of his late style characteristics. Dense textures, often-changing meters, and related themes are always present in this early music (Plantinga 412).

Adhering to the “Classical” style, Brahms made lasting contributions in orchestral and chamber music genres. “To a greater degree than any of his contemporaries Brahms captured the tone of intimacy that is the essence of chamber music style” (Plantinga 412). Extremely prolific in other areas, too, he made extensive use of antique forms in the motets, chorale preludes, fugues, and variations. Brahms also musically responded sensitively to the lyric poetry of Rückert, Eichendorff, Tieck, and Ossian, among other minor poets. Succeeding Beethoven in orchestral music, Brahms wrote 24 pieces. His first published chamber music work — which happened to be the longest of these in length — was the Piano Trio in B, Op. 8, from 1854. Some of the most well-known chamber pieces feature the keyboard instrument, such as the Trios for horn, violin, and piano, Op. 40, and the Trio for clarinet, cello, and piano, Op. 114. Writing mostly in this genre from 1860-65, Brahms also produced two String Sextets, two Piano Quartets, the Piano Quintet, and a Cello Sonata. Characteristically, Brahms’s chamber music is concentrated and somewhat gloomy, yet there are light-hearted and upbeat examples.

Most recognized compositions include four Symphonies (not begun until after he was forty); the Haydn Variations; two Overtures (Academic Festival and Tragic); four Concertos (two for piano, one for violin, and one for violin and cello); string quartets, quintets, and sextets; piano trios, quartets, and Quintet; one Clarinet Quintet; and various sonatas. Writing the piano sonatas while still very young, Brahms also composed about 35 character pieces, dances, and variations for the keyboard instrument. Premiering the two-piano Variations on a Theme of Joseph Haydn with Johannes was pianist Clara Schumann (1819-1896). Some of the most popular piano duet music includes the Hungarian Dances and the 16 Waltzes, Op. 39. Other two-piano duets based on large chamber and orchestral compositions include Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann (which Brahms dedicated to Clara), and the Liebeslieder Waltzes, later a vocal genre. In duo sonatas, the piano seems to take precedence, causing an unequal balance at times (Longyear 198).

Early solo piano works, such as the three Sonatas, Variations on themes of Handel, Paganini, and Schumann, as well as the four Ballades, Op. 10, were finished by 1864. “All of these pieces show virtuoso keyboard writing appropriate for the ambitious young pianist” (Plantinga 429). After the first keyboard compositions, Brahms wrote short pieces for the piano. Opp. 116-119 are at the peak of his pianistic accomplishments as a composer, called capriccio, rhapsody, and intermezzo (Longyear 196). Other mature compositions highlight two Clarinet Sonatas, Op. 129 (1894), the Clarinet Quintet, and the organ Chorale Preludes. Ranging in mood and style, Brahms’s keyboard music spans the passionate and concentrated to the restrained, contemplative, and warm (197).

Generally considered the greatest choral composer of the 19th century, Brahms wrote many more vocal works than instrumental music throughout his career. Over 200 solo songs remain in the repertoire, with almost as many for small vocal ensembles and duets. Franz Schubert was Brahms’s main source for the lied. From 1866-72, the composer devoted himself to writing vocal music almost exclusively. Writing in folksong style was Brahms’s ideal, and German folksong highly affected his lieder. More than fifty songs, many works for chorus, Twelve Songs and Romances, Op. 44, and the cantata Rinaldo serve as examples of his output. “Four Serious Songs” were composed during Clara Schumann’s illness, but perhaps the most famous example of this literature is found in the German Requiem from 1868. With love, nature, and death as the composer’s main song topics of interest, this vocal work accepts death in its most serious biblical tone, appropriate for Brahms’s German Protestant religion.

A seven-movement work for soprano and baritone soloists, chorus, and orchestra, the famous German Requiem consists of texts from the Old and New Testaments put together by Brahms himself. “Skillfully combining various older techniques with Brahms’s evolving personal style, this composition served more than any other to establish him in this period as one of the leading composers of Europe” (Plantinga 419). Each movement was written at a different time, with style characteristics from previous eras. Many times heard by itself, the fourth section is set to the text “How lovely are thy dwelling places.” Requiem’s first performance in the composer’s native city was in April 1882.

After years of devotion to composing vocal and choral music, Brahms broke this trend in 1873 with the Variations on a Theme of Joseph Haydn, Op. 56b. This piece was scored for two pianos, and Brahms created an orchestral version of the same work. Based on the St. Anthony chorale theme, this great work helped develop his mature style. Two great String Quartets, Op. 51, also mark the return to large instrumental forms. With the assistance of Joseph Joachim, Brahms’s Violin Concerto in D (Op. 77) was composed in 1878. First performed in Leipzig on New Year’s Day, 1879, the work was premiered with Joachim as violinist and Brahms conducting.

For about twenty years, Brahms worked on the first Symphony in C minor, Op. 68. By 1877, he had completed the Op. 60 Piano Quartet, the last String Quintet, Op. 67, and the first two Symphonies. Composing in the symphonic genre was difficult in the aftermath of Beethoven’s shadow. Supposedly Brahms stated, “I will never finish a symphony. You have no idea how it affects one’s spirits to hear continually the marching of a giant behind him” (qtd. in Plantinga 421). Looking back to the Baroque and Classical periods, Brahms’s eleven Organ Preludes use J.S. Bach (1685-1750) as a model. Throughout his compositional career, Brahms made endless revisions to his works and was unrelenting in self-criticism.


The Rondo movements of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor (Op. 37) and Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor (Op. 15) are often compared as almost exact in musical structure. Each labeled a typical classical rondo, “the two finales may be described and analyzed to a great extent as if they were the same piece” (qtd. of Charles Rosen in Swafford 171). Brahms was known to have written works based on other compositions and has been called a “master of allusion.” When this was recognized, the composer cattily remarked, “Any ass can see that” (qtd. of Charles Rosen in 19th-Century Music 4.2 (1980), 3). The first Piano Concerto of Brahms stems from complicated beginnings. Originally, this piece was to be a sonata for two pianos, begun in March 1854 as a musical response to Robert Schumann’s suicide attempt. As Schumann became immersed in mental illness and Brahms became closer to Clara Schumann, this composition served to represent all that was personal in Brahms’s life at the time. Unsuccessful as a sonata, the piece next evolved into a four-movement symphony. This revision was “doubtless intended to fulfill Schumann’s hopes that Brahms would take over for him the mantle of leading German symphonist” (McDonald 99). Throughout the process, musician Joseph Joachim was directly involved and advised Brahms on orchestration, as always.

After the first two phases of the work as sonata and symphony, Johannes began to conceive it as a concerto. Reworking the first movement, he also added a second and third. Finally the full score was published in 1874, only after the individual printings of a piano part in 1861 and the issuing of an orchestral version in 1862. First completed as a piano concerto in March 1858, the piece was premiered at Hanover in January 1859. Joachim was conducting and Brahms played the solo pianist’s role. Listeners thought the Concerto was too complex, so it wasn’t received well. Perhaps this is why Brahms went through more than one musical genre until he was able to complete the piece. Unfortunately, at the end of the Leipzig premiere, Brahms was “hissed by a public who, expecting a virtuoso showpiece, found themselves having to endure a grim, uncompromising work far more intellectually demanding than the average symphony. No concerto of such ambitions had been heard since Beethoven” (McDonald 53). First in a series of works, this Piano Concerto was followed by the Piano Quartet in C minor and the Piano Quintet in F minor. Employing many versions and changes, Brahms made these revisions especially evident in the piano instrumentation.


Symbols are found in Brahms’s early music that represent the composer’s personal life. Clara Schumann wrote of one example: “This piece seems to me neither more nor less than the expression of his own heart’s anguish. If only he would for once speak as tenderly!” (qtd. in Swafford xv). Though considered rude in his treatment of others, Brahms was very connected emotionally to his family and close friends. Highly self-condemning, and despite his desperate attempts to hide himself from the world, Brahms never wrote critically about anyone else. Personal friend Max Kalbeck and piano student Florence May published biographies shortly after the composer’s death (Swafford xii). “Loneliness and stoic reflectiveness have long been part of the Brahmsian picture. That he thought deeply and needed his solitude is true: but that was a part of his nature with which he came to terms. There were many other sides . . .” (Musgrave 5). Excessively self-critical, Brahms felt he was a musical failure. Perhaps because of this misconception, he never married or had any children. Feeling like he couldn’t offer a woman what she needed or wanted, he wrote in a letter: “If at such moments I had had to face a wife’s anxiously questioning eyes . . . And if she had tried to console me — a wife’s commiseration for her husband’s failure — bah, I can’t think what a hell on earth that would have been” (qtd. in Musgrave 3).


Infatuated with many women, Brahms was never extensively committed. Perhaps the ones most important to him were Agathe von Siebold from Göttingen, to whom he was engaged, and Clara Schumann. When Brahms was twenty-one, he wrote about her in a letter to Joachim: “I believe I do not respect and admire her so much as I love her and am under her spell” (qtd. in Musgrave 4). He was also somewhat attached to a couple of Clara’s daughters, as well as to Elizabeth von Herzogenberg for a while, who was the daughter of a Leipzig professor. Of being in love with Clara Brahms wrote, “I think I can no longer love an unmarried girl — at least, I have completely forgotten them; they only promise the skies, whereas Clara shows it to us open” (qtd. by Oswald in Frisch 30).

After Schumann’s death in 1856, Brahms stayed with Clara for three months. From the years 1854 to 1859, Clara Schumann was Brahms’s main confidant. Traveling among Düsseldorf, Hamburg, the court of Detmold, and cities where they were performing, Johannes made every effort to be with her. Composing very little during this time, Brahms produced only two Orchestral Serenades, Opp. 11 and 16, but started working on a piano concerto. Perhaps Brahms loved the unattainable ideal in Clara Schumann, later writing: “I love you more than myself and more than anybody and anything on earth” (qtd. in Machlis & Forney 325).

With her help, Brahms published an edition of Robert Schumann’s works. As the last composer to combine elements of both Classical and Romantic periods, he made an edition of the Mozart Requiem. Brahms’s final appearance as a conductor was at a Vienna concert in March 1895, with a program performed by his students in the Vienna Conservatoire. Conducting at Berlin in January 1896, this was Brahms’s last public appearance. After Clara died in the spring of 1896, his health declined, despite a lifelong record of physical well-being. In May 1897, the Fourth Symphony was played in Vienna, the last concert Brahms was able to attend.


Similar to his father, Johannes Brahms died of liver cancer in 1897. He was buried in Vienna, close to Beethoven and Schubert. “There existed another side to Brahms: the desire for escape, for freedom, for complete creative independence with no responsibility save to himself and his muse” (Musgrave 3). An obviously secretive and personal man, Brahms wanted people to know only about his music. Called “remote” and “unfathomable,” (Oswald in Frisch 24) he tried to erase any biographical knowledge with fire and water. Basically we have no idea of his personal thoughts, as he made every effort to keep them hidden. “Brahms was a man with many friends and no intimates, who experienced triumphs few artists achieve in their lifetime. Yet he lived with a relentless loneliness and a growing fatalism about the future of music and the world” (Swafford).

Musical scholars cite the observations of Johannes Brahms: “obstinately depressive . . . sexually inhibited, immature,” “schizoid personality,” and “marriage inhibition” and “ambivalent” (Oswald in Frisch 24. Stated by Geiringer at the 1983 Library of Congress Brahms Conference). Perhaps his self-confidence was in obvious lack. Despite his shortcomings, Brahms’s music stands both as classical and modern unsurpassed masterpieces. He assisted in publishing Antonin Dvorák’s music, and influenced such notable composers as Edvard Grieg (1843-1907), Moritz Moszkowski (1854-1925), and Henry Gilbert (1868-1928). At a concert hall inauguration in Zürich, Brahms’s figure was placed on the ceiling with the images of Bach and Beethoven. Since the time of his First Symphony, these composers have been known as “the three great B’s of music” (ix).

Combining the 18th- and 19th-centuries’ styles, and influencing the musical culture today, Brahms “remains both a monument to a past age and a poignant dramatization of the continuing melancholy that haunts our own” (qtd. of Edward Rothstein in Ratliff, program notes on Brahms).

Ludwig Van Beethoven

The composer once wrote: “I live entirely in my music”
(qtd. in Solomon 149)

Revolutionary composer Ludwig van Beethoven’s life embraced many compositional genres and typically divides into three periods. The first includes all works written up to approximately 1802, the second continues until around 1812, and the last starts around 1813. In his first period, Beethoven mastered the Viennese style, using the Classical examples of Haydn (1732-1809) and Mozart (1756-1791). Called “Heroic,” the middle anticipates 19th-century Romanticism, with its many creative innovations — contrasts and movements that expanded in drama and length. Beethoven’s third and final period introduced a new way of composing. Described as unconventional, most of these works anticipate a future musical era in style. The New Grove Beethoven biography explains that “the late period is in every way the most complex” (91).

Described as a “tough, ugly, angry genius forcing out one deeply expressive masterpiece after another in the teeth of adversity,” Beethoven used many innovative ideas and made extensive revisions in his compositions (Kerman 190). A summary of his famous, most important works include: nine symphonies, 16 string quartets, 32 piano sonatas, five piano concertos, nine piano trios, ten violin sonatas, five cello sonatas, a violin concerto, two Masses, an opera, and an oratorio (Grout 534). “The sense of heroic striving and inner conquest is what emerges so magnificently in Beethoven’s most famous compositions” (Kerman 191).

Beethoven is the bridge between the Classical and Romantic periods in music, and “he reigned as the undisputed master of the symphony, the sonata, and the string quartet” (Downs 553). Since he is a transitional figure, one might question to which of these periods he belongs, if not possibly to both. For many in the 19th century, Beethoven was considered the man who changed formal musical constraints and accepted rules. A composer whose works transcend time and change, Beethoven’s “symphonies, concertos, overtures and the more famous of his piano sonatas at once became central to the musical culture of the nineteenth century, and have remained so to the present” (Tyson and Kerman 149).


Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany, to a Catholic family of court musicians in 1827. His grandfather was a singer and kapellmeister; Ludwig’s father, Johann, was a singer and music teacher. They worked for the Elector Max Friedrich at the court of Bonn. The young Ludwig later dedicated three piano sonatas, WoO 47 (work without opus), to the Elector. Before Beethoven was born, Johann and his wife, Maria Magdalena Leym, had a son named Ludwig Maria. This child died as a newborn, creating doubts in Beethoven’s mind as to his own correct birthdate. The composer’s birth certificate reads 1770, but Ludwig believed himself to have been confused with his brother and actually born in December 1772. This skepticism, along with circulating rumors, led him to think that he was the illegitimate son of the King of Prussia (Frederick the Great). Beethoven’s first song reflects this belief, entitled “To an Infant.” Musical scholar and psychoanalyst Maynard Solomon asks: “What were the forces and events in Beethoven’s life that caused him thus to deny his father and to dishonor his mother’s memory? . . . In later years, Beethoven shrouded his first decade in a veil of silence. He rarely spoke of family, his school years, his early experiences” (Solomon 6 and 24).

Conflicts in Beethoven’s dysfunctional family affected him greatly as a child and later in his adult life. In the important collection of articles entitled Beethoven Essays, Solomon also suggests that some of the composer’s dreams may be interpreted as Beethoven’s subconscious expression of an unfulfilled paternal relationship. His father sought to exploit him as a child prodigy (like Mozart), and “Johann naturally viewed the boy’s talents both as a potentially significant source of extra income and as a means of self-glorification” (Solomon 23). Along with his father, Beethoven was taught by local musician Tobias Pfeiffer, who also treated him harshly. As a child, Ludwig was often seen by neighbors crying in front of the piano. Despite these odds, the young boy developed an intense appreciation for music. Although enrolled at the university in Bonn, Beethoven preferred self-education throughout his life. His father drank heavily and gradually became an alcoholic; eventually he was dismissed from the court choir for this reason. At the time of his death, the Elector wrote that “the revenues from the liquor excise have suffered a loss” (qtd. in Solomon 16).

Despite the severe treatment he received as a child, “the center of Beethoven’s fantasy life . . . was his music, which occupied virtually all waking hours” (Solomon 27). Possessing incredible improvisational skills at the keyboard, he began to develop as a serious musician during his teenage years. As a young composer and performer, he first traveled to Vienna in 1787, but didn’t have much success. Supposedly playing for Mozart during this time, Beethoven received encouraging comments from the older composer: “Keep an eye on him — he will make a noise in the world some day” (qtd. in Machlis & Forney 258). Beethoven returned home within two weeks of this trip, as his mother became ill and died. After her death, he became the guardian of and assumed responsibility for his two younger brothers.

While living in his native Bonn, Beethoven’s musical ability greatly developed through the help of his teacher, organist Christian Gottlob Neefe (1748-1798). Neefe taught Beethoven composition and, in 1783, gave him the position of harpsichordist in the court orchestra. Beethoven was only twelve years old at the time. Neefe also assisted in seeing that Ludwig’s early works were published. In 1784, Archduke Maximilian Franz became the new Elector and Archbishop of Cologne. He created an orchestra in which Beethoven played the viola, an opportunity that connected the young composer with many important musicians. In 1788, Count Ferdinand von Waldstein came to Bonn and also encouraged Beethoven’s musical efforts. Waldstein was later dedicated the Piano Sonata, Op. 53, which bears his name. The Count wrote to the young composer on his last trip to Vienna: “you shall receive Mozart’s spirit from Haydn’s hands” (qtd. in Downs 558). This early period in Bonn was the beginning of Beethoven’s first compositional era, and the place where he adopted the ideals of the Enlightenment.

“A youthful exuberance pervades the first decade of his career [during the years up to 1800 in Vienna], an almost arrogant consciousness of his strength” (Machlis & Forney 258). Composing in the typical genres, Beethoven absorbed what others had to teach and adhered to the traditional Classical styles of Gluck (1714-1787), Mozart, and Haydn, as well as Baroque composers J.S. Bach (1685-1750) and Handel (1685-1759). He wrote piano music, chamber music, variations, and pieces for court entertainment. Important works from the early years in Bonn include sets of three piano sonatas and three piano quartets, variations for piano, and lieder. About half of Beethoven’s output from this time were vocal compositions. Two of these anticipating his middle, more heroic style, are the Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II, WoO 87, and the Cantata on the Elevation of Leopold II to the Imperial Dignity, WoO 88. Also exploring his natural ability at the piano, Beethoven played private concerts in Bonn, both at the court and salons. Some of the money he received as gifts for performing he used to support the family.


Though Beethoven’s career began in Bonn, his first period came to flourish in Vienna. As he became well known, Beethoven was recognized among the nobility and was assisted financially by many musical advocates. This was also a time for the rise of the middle class, which allowed for more exposure by way of public concerts and published music. Significant early works include Six String Quartets, Op. 18, dedicated to Prince Lobkowitz; the first ten Piano Sonatas; the first three Piano Concertos; and the first two Symphonies.

Arriving in Vienna in November, 1792, Beethoven studied with Franz Joseph Haydn until 1793 or 1794. A financial account remains of Beethoven’s expenses reading “coffee for Haidn and me” (qtd. in Grout 533). But they did not get along, and Beethoven sought help secretly from Johann Schenk (1753-1836). Solomon suggests that “there may have been some simple jealousies on Haydn’s part toward the pianist-composer who was so quickly accepted and adored by many among the Viennese nobility” (93). Later, Beethoven reluctantly admitted learning from Haydn’s example. Next he studied counterpoint from composer Johann Georg Albrechtsburger (1736-1809) and vocal composition from Antonio Salieri (1750-1825), an expert in opera. “All three thought very highly of Beethoven but were of one opinion of him as a student. Each said Beethoven was so stubborn and so bent on having his own way that he had to learn many things through hard experience which he refused earlier to accept through instruction” (qtd. by Ferdinand Ries in Solomon 98).

First works with opus number include the Three Trios for piano, violin, and cello, Op. 1, from 1795. By 1799, Beethoven’s compositions were being published by several different companies. Many generous patrons also supported him, such as musical advocates Prince Karl Lichnowsky and his wife, Princess Christiane. In fact, Ludwig later shared dwellings with the Lichnowskys. His student, pianist and composer Carl Czerny (1791-1857), claimed that the Prince regarded Beethoven “as a friend and brother, and induced the entire nobility to support him” (qtd. in Solomon 82). Lichnowsky received the dedication of many of Beethoven’s important early Vienna works, including the famous Op. 13 “Pathétique” Piano Sonata. Another important patron, Archduke Rudolph (Emperor Franz’s brother), was also a favorite piano student of Beethoven’s and received many compositional dedications in return from the composer. As a teacher, “we are told that wrong notes hardly excited comment from him but any failure to observe marks of expression would make him angry” (Downs 568).


Central to Beethoven’s musical development as both composer and pianist was the keyboard instrument, which grew to be more expressive as it evolved. Offering more possibilities to the performer, some pianos had greater range, bigger tone, and more flexible pedals than earlier piano models. Before taken seriously as a composer, Beethoven was thought to be primarily a piano teacher and virtuoso performer. “Beethoven was a remarkable pianist; his historic importance is that he bridged the Classic and emergent Romantic styles of performance” (Solomon 78). Participating in many piano competitions, he also gave public performances as well as appeared in salons. Although giving charity and benefit concerts (sometimes for himself), after the onset of his deafness, “his aversion to playing for an audience had become so strong that every time he was urged to play he would fly into a rage” (Solomon 85).

Beethoven wrote a total of 32 piano sonatas, the first 20 composed between 1794 and 1802. Possessing the Sturm und Drang sentiment of heroism, drama, and intense emotion, they also contain abrupt changes in key areas, harmonies, rhythm, and dynamics. Well-known sonatas include the “Pathétique,” Op. 13, and the Op. 27, No. 2 “Moonlight” from the early period; the “Waldstein,” Op. 53, and the Op. 57 “Appassionata,” from the middle period; and the Hammerklavier, Op. 106, which helped to define the last era. The importance of the piano is also realized in the composer’s five piano concertos. Called “Emperor,” the last of these was premiered in Vienna by Beethoven’s piano student Carl Czerny. It has often been said that “some of Beethoven’s most enchanting melodies appear in his piano concertos and his violin concerto . . .” (Grout 554).

In 1817, the composer received a six-octave fortepiano by the English manufacturer Broadwood, a modern instrument that allowed for more expressive and dramatic possibilities. Carl Ludwig Junker noted that Beethoven’s “way of handling his instrument is so different from the usual that he gives the impression of having attained his present supremacy through a path that he discovered himself” (quoted in Grout 542).


“Within a dozen years after coming to Vienna, Beethoven was acknowledged throughout Europe as the foremost pianist and composer for piano of his time and as a symphonist on a par with Haydn and Mozart” (Grout 541).

In 1800, Beethoven completed the first Symphony in C Major, Op. 21. “It is the year in which, cutting loose from the pianoforte, he asserted his claims . . . in the higher forms of chamber and orchestral composition — the quartet and the symphony” (Alexander Thayer qtd. in Solomon 99). After mastering the piano sonata, Beethoven now began composing in the symphony and quartet genres. Finished in 1802, the Second Symphony (Op. 36) employed conventional techniques as well as looking forward to the next period. “Beethoven had gained the high ground of the Viennese tradition; he was now faced with . . . casting out in an uncharted direction” (Solomon 141).


During his late twenties and early thirties, Beethoven began to notice a loss in hearing ability. A progressive deafness of debatable causes, his symptoms began around 1796-1799. Writing in a letter, “my most prized possession, my hearing, has greatly deteriorated,” (qtd. in Solomon 148) Beethoven became depressed from his handicap due to overwhelming frustration expressed as “an infirmity in the one sense that should have been more perfect in me than in others” (qtd. in Machlis & Forney 258-259). At the urging of doctors, Beethoven went to Heiligenstadt outside Vienna for a rest in 1802. A product of this brief period of time, the Heiligenstadt Testament was written to his brothers that fall. After writing the Testament, Beethoven returned to Vienna in October 1802 and launched into his second, “Heroic” period with renewed energy. “Beethoven slowly realized that art must give him the happiness that life withheld. . . . The remainder of his career was spent in ceaseless effort to achieve his artistic goals” (Machlis & Forney 259). Eventually, however, Beethoven had to stop performing in public. Though still conducting at times, it was not easy to communicate with the players and audiences. By 1820, Beethoven was almost completely deaf.


In 1801 or 1802, Beethoven spoke to his friend Krumpholz (according to Czerny, writing many years later) about dissatisfaction with his previous compositional efforts and a forthcoming “new way” in his written approach. Direct results of this “new way” were most likely the Piano Sonatas of Op. 31, the Variations of Op. 34 and Op. 35, and the Eroica, with sketches begun on the Third Symphony at the end of 1802. Stylistically, the “Heroic” period is recognized for Beethoven’s use of greater contrasts in pitch, dynamics, accents, expression, tension, climax, and his expansion of compositional length and the size of the orchestra. Moods vary from gentle and lyrical to strong and heroic, and Beethoven often brought back previously heard material in later movements. Middle, slow movements progressed to a greater lyricism, such as the 1809 “Harp” String Quartet, the “Archduke” Trio from 1810-11, and the Fifth Piano Concerto of 1809.

Significant compositions from this era include Symphonies Nos. 3-8; Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio (originally named Leonore); four concertos, including the Violin Concerto; the Piano Sonatas up through Op. 90; the Sonata, Op. 47, for violin and piano (dedicated to French violinist Rodolphe Kreutzer); the “Rasumovsky” String Quartets, Op. 59, dedicated to the Russian ambassador to Vienna; the Overture to “Egmont” by Goethe; and finally an oratorio, a Mass, and some lieder. Beethoven was greatly influenced by the French Revolution, which affected his works throughout this period: “The Revolution introduced an explicit ideological and ethical function into music, which was later to become one of the characteristics of Beethoven’s ‘public’ compositions” (Solomon 71). French music of revolutionary elements is seen in the rescue opera Fidelio.


“The forcefulness, expanded range and evident radical intent of these works sets them apart from symphonies in the eighteenth-century tradition . . .” (Tyson and Kerman 107). Symphonic style grew to include transcending themes, repeated themes, and extramusical ideas. Adjusting sonata form in this genre, Beethoven made the first movement’s middle, development section more important. The slow movement sometimes became “the essence of Beethovenian pathos,” the scherzo had driving motion, and the final movement was like the first in size and grandness (Machlis & Forney 260). Expanding the symphony influenced other genres, making piano sonatas and string quartets more technically challenging.

“His nine symphonies are spiritual dramas of universal appeal” (Machlis & Forney 260). Most well known, the Fifth Symphony’s theme depicts “fate knocking at the door” (qtd. in Kamien 277). Both the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies were performed for the first time in 1808 at the same concert. No. 6, “Pastoral,” portrays Beethoven’s memories of nature and the country, and the Ninth represents the culmination of his last period and the climax of his total output. The Third Symphony, Eroica, is an example of Beethoven’s mature style: “it expresses in music the ideal of heroic greatness” (Grout 542). In the style of a funeral march, the second movement represents the French Revolution. Initially dedicated to Napoleon, it is commonly thought that Beethoven renamed the work “Heroic Symphony to celebrate the memory of a great man” after he heard that Napoleon had declared himself Emperor. The title Eroica was probably not given until later. In essence, the work “was conceived as a tribute not to the idea of revolution but to the revolutionary hero, Napoleon, and really to Beethoven himself” (Tyson and Kerman 109). Musical scholar Scott Burnham in Beethoven Hero analyzes the Symphony as the battle of Napoleon and the psychology inside the hero’s mind. When Duke Wellington defeated Napoleon’s armies in 1813, Beethoven composed the “Battle” Symphony.


“More and more his compositions came to have a meditative character; the urgent sense of communication was replaced by a feeling of assured tranquillity, passionate outpouring by calm affirmation” (Grout 554-5). The composer’s final compositional period is represented by many imposing, prominent works transcending the history of music. They characteristically possess a new style and sound quality as well as increased attention on melody. Beethoven also made use of folksong material. Variations became more like a transformation of material, such as in the Hammerklavier Piano Sonata and the last Diabelli variation. Often described as sublime in nature, Beethoven’s compositions from the late period include landmark, tour-de-force works like the last five Piano Sonatas (1816-1822), the Diabelli Variations, Op. 120 (mostly written in 1823), the Missa solemnis (solemn Mass) completed in 1822, the Ninth Symphony (1824), and the String Quartets from 1825-6. “In all of this Beethoven appears to have been reaching for a more direct and intimate mode of communication” (Tyson and Kerman 122).

Of the last period, the most imposing works are the Mass in D (known as the Missa solemnis), and the Ninth Symphony. “Beethoven regarded this Mass as his greatest work. It is a deeply personal yet universal confession of faith” (Grout 558). Musical scholars Tyson and Kerman agree that in the composer’s religious testimony “Mass and Symphony stand together as the crowning statement about nonmusical ideas in Beethoven’s later life” (129). The premiere of this final Symphony occurred in the spring of 1824. Beethoven set the last movement to Schiller’s famous “Ode to Joy” with themes of joy and brotherhood, making innovative use of both vocal soloists and chorus with an orchestra. Coinciding with his religious ideals, he chose stanzas that emphasiz joyful fellowship and a heavenly Father.

In 1824, Beethoven began to write only string quartets. Producing five total, three were commissioned by the Russian Prince Galitzin. Some of the late pieces had more than the traditional three or four movements, and Beethoven wrote a total of 16 quartets for strings in his lifetime. Particularly, “the string quartet for two violins, viola, and cello lies at the center of Beethoven’s musical legacy, and this inheritance comes to us from each period in his life” (Downs 587).


What remains of Beethoven’s physical appearance are pictures, drawings, and a life mask. He was a short man, heavy set, and looked shabby. However, it is known that “Beethoven’s character and personality were a mass of contradictions. A certain immaturity deprived him of tact and too often countered his basic kindheartedness, and his good intentions were frequently belied by his uncontrollable temper” (Cooper 104). Beethoven’s social skills were also insufficient, leading him to withdraw from society (Solomon 26).

Regarding Beethoven’s relations with women, Franz Gerhard Wegeler noted: “Beethoven was never out of love and was normally involved to a high degree” (qtd. in Cooper 106). Ferdinand Ries has also written that Beethoven “very much enjoyed looking at women; he was very frequently in love, but usually only for a short time” (qtd. in Cooper 106). Never married, the composer only had relations with women of higher class. Particularly of interest is Beethoven’s letter written to “my Immortal Beloved,” his “Angel.” “It is a passionate outpouring to a woman who evidently returned his love unequivocally” (Cooper 107). This document was supposedly written in 1812, found in a drawer of papers after his death, and addressed to a woman of questionable identity. Analysts have suggested that the Immortal Beloved may have been a married noblewoman named Antonie Brentano. Along with the Heiligenstadt Testament, “both these documents represent milestones in Beethoven’s life and both are testimony to his constant battle to find and accept the realities of his own character and of his own existence” (Downs 574).

After brother Caspar Carl’s death, Beethoven went through the process to get custody as coguardian of his nephew Karl. Eager to be a father, the composer smothered the boy to an extreme: “Beethoven’s love was tempered by possessiveness and jealousy which made him overstrict and suspicious. . . . He sought to limit Karl’s freedom in every way possible, and not surprisingly bitter quarrels occurred” (Cooper 109). Due to conflicting wills, Karl made a failed suicide attempt for which Beethoven never forgave himself.


“At his death in 1827 he had plans for a tenth symphony and many other new works” (Grout 554). Beethoven died of cirrhosis of the liver on March 26, 1827. It has been speculated that his sister-in-law, whom he publicly had not liked, was in the room. 20,000 people attended Beethoven’s funeral, mourning a composer who had “created the music of a heroic age and, in accents never to be forgotten, proclaimed its faith in the power of man to shape his destiny” (Machlis & Forney 258).

Beethoven influenced such significant Romantic composers as Franz Schubert, Hector Berlioz (1803-1869), and Robert Schumann (1810-1856). His most well-known biographer was Anton Schindler (1795-1864), who is often criticized for trying to create a certain picture of Beethoven that was not always accurate. As described by St. Julius Benedict, Beethoven possessed “an expression which no painter could render. It was a feeling of sublimity and melancholy combined” (qtd. in Grout 534). Musical critic E.T.A. Hoffmann (1776-1822) also wrote: “Beethoven’s music sets in motion the lover of fear, of awe, of horror, of suffering, and awakens just that infinite longing which is the essence of romanticism” (560).

Ludwig van Beethoven retained many elements of Classicism, anticipated the Romantic style, and invented a new, awe-inspiring way of composition. The combination of these qualities paradoxically has produced perhaps the most sublime creations and disruptive forces in the history of music.

Johann Sebastian Bach

Today the music of Johann Sebastian Bach is regarded as essential to the classical music repertoire, but the composer and his works were not especially significant during the time in which he lived. A local composer from Eisenach, Bach was not well known outside Germany until many years after his death. Regarded as too complex, J.S. Bach’s music was easily forgotten and was left unpublished for some time. It was with the interest and help of German Romantic composer Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion that his music was revived and his prominence established.

Most of his music was written for the voice, and J.S. Bach composed in every musical genre but opera. As he wrote countless pieces for the Lutheran church that were based on hymns, generating vocal music went along with his professional positions. A master of harmony and counterpoint, or the combination of voices each having an independent line, his music was technically challenging and dissonant. Perhaps this is the reason why his complex works were ignored for so long — no one knew quite how to interpret them in listening or in performance. Using counterpoint, Bach wrote many fugues. These are works that have a single theme called a fugue subject, which are completed with an answer to the subject. This subject is stated in all the voices and/or instruments, then combined in varying ways throughout the work. Stylistically, Bach fused German church music, the Italian concerto, and French dances. In all these genres, it was common for Bach to texturally build the voices one on top of another, and employ a compelling sense of motion all the way through to the end.

Born in 1685 at Eisenach, Germany, in the same year as Baroque composer George Frideric Handel (1685-1759), Johann Sebastian Bach came from a family of generations of musicians. Most were church organists or town performers in Germany. In fact, the last name “Bach” was specifically associated with the title “town musician.” Thus, Johann Sebastian’s early musical education came from his father. Both parents, however, died when he was nine, and Bach went to live with his older brother who was an organist in another town. Because his brother didn’t support Bach’s musicianship, the young boy left at age fifteen and went to live by himself in yet a different German town. Here, he went to school, sang in a church choir, and earned extra money by playing both the organ and violin. This led to the position of church organist at Arnstadt. But church leaders were suspicious because his music was so complicated. Understandably, Bach left at age 23 and traveled to Mülhausen, where again he was given the responsibilities as church organist. It was in this town that he met and married his first wife, his cousin Maria Barbara. The couple had seven children together.

J.S. Bach’s Weimar period chronologically came after his two church positions. Moving from the church to the court, he became court organist and concertmaster of the court orchestra in 1708. Bach established himself here for nine years and rose in popularity as an organ virtuoso and composer of numerous organ works. But relations with the duke went awry when Bach was denied a promotion. The duke was annoyed and jailed Bach for a month when the composer decided to resign! His time behind bars was productive, nevertheless; he wrote a well-known collection of chorale preludes entitled Little Organ Book, popular with students today.

Becoming court conductor for the prince of Cöthen, Bach’s most highly regarded position followed his time of employment in Weimar. From 1717-1723 he directed and composed for the prince’s small orchestra, which was during the same years that he produced the important Brandenburg Concertos. As it didn’t include church or organ music in its duties, this well-paid job at Cöthen was different. Providing him, then, the opportunity to explore other musical genres, it was at this court that Bach wrote many suites, concertos, keyboard music, and the sixteen sonatas for unaccompanied violin. In 1720, Bach’s wife died, and he remarried a young singer involved with the court. Starting over, his second marriage produced thirteen children. From his 20 children in all came four important Classical period composers: Wilhelm Friedemann (1710-1784), Carl Philip Emmanuel (1714-1788), Johann Christoph Friedrich (1732-1795), and Johann Christian (1735-1782). Though happy at Cöthen, Prince Leopold married a woman who was indifferent toward music, and Bach began to look for yet another job.

The composer’s final position as director of music at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig came in 1723 and was offered to him only after Baroque composer Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767) declined. This particular town had educational appeal, as Bach wanted his children to have solid Lutheran schooling and, later, attend the university. In this job, Bach dealt with responsibilities for four local churches and composed and directed for each Sunday and holiday of the church year. In addition, he taught music major students in organ and composition at the St. Thomas School and directed the Leipzig Collegium Musicum, a group of students who gave weekly concerts. A devoted teacher and diligent worker, Bach even lived in a school room next to a classroom!

J.S. Bach’s main works highlight the popular Well-Tempered Clavier, two volumes of 24 total keyboard works which exploit new baroque tuning systems and key schemes, with a piece written in each major and minor key. Others well known in western music are the six Brandenburg Concertos, the St. Matthew Passion, the Mass in B minor, over 200 church cantatas, chorale preludes, and organ fugues. This last category includes the Art of the Fugue, seventeen different canons and fugues derived from the same theme and left unfinished at his death.

At the end of his life, Bach’s eyesight began to fail. In spite of surgeries to remove cataracts, he became blind during his last year. Buried at St. John’s Church in Leipzig, the composer died of a brain hemorrhage in 1750. Extremely spiritual and a devout Lutheran, Bach wrote at the start of every composition “Jesus help,” and at the end, “to God alone the glory” (qtd. in Kamien 173). This truly powerful Baroque composer believed that “the aim and final reason of all music should be nothing else but the Glory of God and the refreshment of the spirit” (qtd. in Machlis & Forney 164).

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

A German composer of the 18th century, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was born the second son of Baroque composer J.S. Bach (1685-1750). Emanuel’s influential and legendary father was, among many things, a music educator, passing the passion for music on to his sons. A Classical music scholar has said: “There is a kind of perverse obstinacy in Emanuel Bach, which his father and older brother also had in large measure and which caused all of them great trouble. In Emanuel this trait shows itself in his determination to go his own compositional way” (Downs 357). J.S. Bach had a total of four children who later became composers: Johann Christoph (1732-1795), Carl Philipp Emanuel (1714-1788), Johann Christian (1735-1782), and Wilhelm Friedemann (1710-1784). Along with brother Johann Christian, Emanuel became a well-known figure for the Classical period in music. C.P.E. Bach was educated as a child at the Thomasschule in Leipzig, then went on to study law at the University at Frankfurt on the Oder.

Centered around two locations of employment, C.P.E. Bach’s musical career developed first in Berlin at the court of Frederick the Great (King of Prussia from 1740-1786). Bach remained there for 28 years, then left to become Director of Music at the five main churches in Hamburg. He was court harpsichordist and accompanist for King Frederick. While the king played the flute, Emanuel was expected to accompany him on the continuo, an instrument that provides a foundation for the other instruments or voices. Frederick the Great was strict with regard to Bach’s musical freedoms, and the composer became unhappy with many aspects of his job. However, his wife and family were Prussian and therefore subordinate to the king, who prevented them from leaving when Emanuel was not satisfied. “In order to further his career, Bach had to choose between forsaking his family or submitting to the king’s pleasure” (Downs 21). In 1767, the composer left Prussia and went to Hamburg, succeeding his godfather Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767) as a church music director. It was during these years (the 1760s and 1770s) that “Emanuel Bach demonstrated most fully the two sides of his musical character: the fantastic eccentric and the conformist” (Downs 138).

C.P.E. Bach’s musical style manifests itself in both adherence to past elements and originality in compositional approach. In early works, he emphasized elegance and simplicity. In later compositions, however, Bach was drawn to an extensively expressive and expansive nature. The composer was a leader in theempfindsamer Stil, the main “singing” style associated with Classical music. An elegant style, this was characterized by an emphasis on subtleties and on the expression of numerous sentiments within one movement of a composition. Bach also stated about this style of emotional feeling that “the human voice was the model for any kind of melodic writing, which should always stress simple beauty without excessive embellishment” (Pauly 25). This lightness and simplicity are also featured in C.P.E. Bach’s keyboard works, which are the most significant genre of all his compositions.

An advocate of the empfindsamer Stil, C.P.E. Bach found the Baroque characteristics of music “dry and despicable pieces of pedantry” (Kamien 208). Therefore, his style held a lot of surprise with impulsive changes in dynamics, melody, and harmony. Within this context, Bach made use of ornamentation, the decorating and embellishing of notes, often in improvisation. Also possessing great improvisational skills in performance, “he grew so animated and possessed, that he not only played but looked like one inspired. His eyes were fixed, his under lip fell, and drops of effervescence distilled from his countenance” (Pauly 25).

Emanuel Bach wrote a great amount of keyboard music, including many sets of keyboard sonatas. The first of these were published in 1742 and called the “Prussian” Sonatas, named for the dedication to Frederick the Great. Coined the “Württemberg” Sonatas, the second set was dedicated to the Duke of Württemberg. These were published in 1744 and began to show the increase of musical contrasts inherent in Bach’s later, more creative style. Each of these two sets includes six keyboard sonatas. C.P.E. Bach began to write larger sonatas during the 1760s with the musical repetitions written out, which was very costly to print. In the “Sonatas with Varied Repeats,” Bach combined the empfindsamer Stil and galant (the representative modern) styles. He also wrote “Six Easy Keyboard Sonatas” in 1766. A seventh set of keyboard sonatas was also composed for the King’s sister, who honored Bach with the title of Honorary Court Kapellmeister upon his departure from the court of Frederick the Great. In 1799, C.P.E. Bach published the first of six collections of keyboard sonatas for “Conoisseurs and Amateurs,” but the pieces diminished into a smaller size and he intertwined other types of pieces among the sonatas as the collections advanced. This decrease of output was primarily because the public began to lose interest in the composer’s old style of writing as the keyboard sonata became more virtuosic and expanded at the hands of other composers. Bach also wrote approximately 50 keyboard concertos before 1760 and added woodwind instruments to the string orchestra.

Emanuel Bach also successfully composed in numerous other musical genres: songs, oratorios, and instrumental music (chamber music, concertos, and symphonies) as well as some sonatas for flute and harpsichord. Since compositions for the keyboard were most important to Bach’s repertoire, his favorite instrument was the clavichord. A historical type of piano, this instrument is very soft and offers much color in dynamics. However, it was gradually replaced by the fortepiano, the predecessor to our modern piano. This instrument was somewhat like the harpsichord, but offered more dynamic variety and color shades worthy of the empfindsamer Stil elegance. Bach’s last few keyboard sonatas were written for the fortepiano.

In addition to his important keyboard literature, C.P.E. Bach is most remembered for his treatise, the “Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments,” written from 1753-1762. In this essay, the composer discusses ornamentation and the musical view of the Classical period’s conventions. The treatise has become “invaluable source material for historically accurate performance of eighteenth-century music, in all its aspects” (qtd. Downs 29). Quoted from the essay is Bach’s thoughts on individual performances, “One must play from the soul, not like a trained animal” (Pauly 25).

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach had a great influence on Classical composer Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), especially through his treatise and “Prussian” keyboard sonatas. Haydn revealed: “Whoever knows me well must realize that I owe a great deal to Emanuel Bach” (qtd. Pauly 75). Bach was the most important composer to develop the sensitive empfindsamer Stil, but “like his father before him, Emanuel died still attached to a style that had fallen from favor” (Downs 361). Nevertheless, C.P.E. Bach was passionate about an elegant, emotional style: “I believe music must, first and foremost, stir the heart” (qtd. Downs 30).


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IRA Rollovers

The charitable IRA rollover, or qualified charitable distribution (QCD), is a special provision allowing donors ages 70 ½ and up to exclude from taxable income — and count toward their required minimum distribution — certain transfers of Individual Retirement Account (IRA) assets that are made directly to public charities, including the Fine Arts Society of Indianapolis, Inc.

A charitable IRA rollover makes it easier to use IRA assets, during lifetime, to make charitable gifts. Under current law, withdrawals from traditional IRAs and certain Roth IRAs are taxed as income, even if they are immediately directed to a charity. The donor receives a tax deduction for his or her donation, but various other federal, and sometimes state, tax rules can prevent the deduction from fully offsetting this taxable income. As a result, many donors have chosen not to use IRA assets for lifetime gifts. The charitable IRA rollover eliminates this problem for a limited time.

A gift that qualifies, technically termed a “qualified charitable distribution,” must be:

– Made by a donor age 70 1/2 or older
– Transferred from a traditional or Roth IRA directly to a permissible public charity, such as the Fine Arts Society
– Completed in calendar year 2013 for the 2013 tax year

If you made a retroactive 2012 charitable rollover gift in January 2013 that counted on your 2012 taxes, you can still make another rollover gift during calendar year 2013. As long as each gift qualifies for the tax year in which you are counting it, you can have charitable IRA rollover gifts for both 2012 and 2013.

Your 2013 gift can be made at any time during calendar year 2013. An individual taxpayer’s total charitable IRA rollover gifts cannot exceed $100,000 per tax year. If you have not already taken your required minimum distribution in a given year, a qualifying rollover gift can count toward satisfying this requirement. Also, the gift would be excluded from income, so providing a deduction in addition to that exclusion would create an inappropriate double tax benefit.

Roth IRAs are generally not included but there is an exception. Withdrawals from a Roth IRA may be tax-free only if the account has been open for longer than five years or if certain other conditions apply. Otherwise, withdrawals are taxed as if they came from a traditional IRA.

Retirement plans such as 401(k) and 403(b) accounts do not qualify however, it may be possible to make a tax-free transfer from such other accounts to an IRA, from which a charitable rollover can then be made.

Gifts must be made to qualified charities. Excluded are:

– Donor advised funds
– Supporting organizations
– Private foundations

Those donors who can benefit from using the charitable IRA rollover to make a gift include:

– persons with significant assets in an IRA
– persons making gifts that are large, relative to their income. (Because a charitable rollover is not included in taxable income, it does not count against the usual percentage limitations on using charitable deductions).
– persons having so few deductions that they choose not to itemize

A rollover gift cannot be used to fund a charitable remainder trust or charitable gift annuity because the donor can receive no benefits in return for the gift. This includes life income plans. The only permissible benefits from a charitable IRA rollover gift are those that would not reduce the tax deduction for which the donor would have otherwise qualified.

While this is a great option, other types of gifts may provide donors with more tax benefits. As with any gift planning question, donors should consult their tax professionals for specific advice.

And you can still make a gift with an IRA beneficiary designation. Whether or not you choose to make a charitable IRA rollover gift, you can still designate the Fine Arts Society as a beneficiary to receive IRA assets after your lifetime. The lifetime charitable IRA rollover is simply another option for donors who would like to see their philanthropy at work now.

Membership & Premiums

Our programming is made possible through the generous support of individuals, foundations,
corporate and non-profit program underwriters, and governmental agencies.

All Fine Arts Society members receive our quarterly Newsletter. Donors of $50 or more may select one additional membership premium. Among them are:

  • FAS logoed grocery tote, insulated lunch tote/mini-cooler, ceramic mug, insulated travel mug, cd’s, or a tabletop HD radio. See the reverse side of our Gift Form for details.

Please make a gift to support our broadcast programming!

Charge a gift safely and securely online
Charge by phone – call our offices, 317.788.3291, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET
Fill out and return our Gift Form with your check or charge card information. Mail it to: Fine Arts Society, P. O. Box 1706, Indianapolis, IN 46206-1706



Before 1961, there was little classical music on the radio in central Indiana. In that year, a group of research chemists at the Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company decided to pool their resources, form a corporation, and seek out a broadcast outlet for classical music on the air. They agreed to terms with WAIV-FM, Indianapolis, and on May 13th the group’s classical music offerings joined the station’s “Lively Arts” format. The station broadcast a variety of classical music, jazz, poetry, interviews, folk music, discussions of religion, and editorials from studios in and a tower on top of the 10-story Dearborn Hotel in the 3200 block of East Michigan Street.

WAIV struggled financially and only became profitable in 1967 when the program format became exclusively classical. Programs were chosen by station staff and were presented in their entirety without interruption. This was the first completely classical music format on radio in Indianapolis. The owners of WAIV decided to sell the station, which became WTLC (and now is WYXB), but Society co-founder Norbert Neuss was not going to give up. With the help of his friends, he purchased the 2,500 classical record library from WAIV’s new owners, packed them up, and stored them in the Lilly Pavilion of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. He hoped to use them on the air again soon.

Neuss’s friendship with Frank P. Thomas, founder and owner of the Burger Chef System of restaurants, turned out to be a decisive factor in fulfilling Norbert’s goal to revive classical music on the radio. Norbert, F. Bruce Peck, Frank P. Thomas and Willis K. Kunz collaborated early in 1968, and The Fine Arts Society of Indianapolis, Inc. was formed as a public charitable trust under the laws of the State of Indiana. The Society was granted exemption from taxes under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue code.

Upon hearing that the Indianapolis Public School System was constructing a new radio/television center, the Society approached school officials. After discussions between Norbert and the staff of the school’s broadcast center, the Board of School Commissioners and the Society arrived at an agreement whereby the Fine Arts Society would augment the instructional programs on the IPS station, WIAN-FM, with a “second programme” of classical music during prime evening hours.

The Society was to supply its own announcing and engineering staff and formulas were set so the Society would assume the increased operating costs resulting from the increased broadcast hours. The formal agreement was signed late in 1968 and the School Board announced a completion date of September, 1969. The partnership of The Fine Arts Society and the Indianapolis Public Schools’ WIAN, represented a totally unprecedented and unique approach in financing a radio program without any tax subsidies. WIAN was able to expand its broadcast hours by more than 100% at no cost to taxpayers.

In May, 1969, the Fine Arts Society mailed its first solicitation letter to 2,500 individuals known to be interested in the arts, explaining the origins of the Society and its intended broadcast service, and inviting contributions. More than 400 people immediately responded. On July 15, 1969, a special financial commitment from the Burger Chef System enabled the Society to hire an Executive Director, Kenneth Lawless, Jr., who began preparing for the initial programming. Lawless, a graduate of Eastman School of Music, served both as announcer and Program Director. He was also a host of the morning drive program, known as the “First Programme” and continued as Executive Director until 1988.

During these years, more than 20 different broadcast services provided the “Second Programme” with concert materials from the entire spectrum of worldwide musical activity. The Society was also able to bring to the Indianapolis radio audience selected student and faculty concerts from the School of Music of Indiana University in Bloomington.

The Society suffered a serious loss on November 5, 1973, when the “Grant Fire” also destroyed the Thomas Building to its west, in which were housed the the Society’s offices and its collection of hundreds of classical albums and recorded operas. Click here to read an account of the “Grant Fire.”

Due to the expansion of total program time on WIAN, thanks to the Fine Arts Society’s programming, WIAN was able to qualify for affiliation with National Public Radio and in the 1970′s began receiving grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. WIAN now had the financial resources to expand its own operations and programming originating from NPR, which resulted in increased restrictions on broadcast time for the Society. This prompted the Society to seek another outlet for its programming.

Fortunately, the University of Indianapolis was in the process of upgrading its campus radio facility both in signal strength and stereo broadcast mode. The contractual agreement between the Society and the University of Indianapolis was negotiated and went into effect on January 26, 1983, when the Society broadcast its First Program on WICR-FM, 88.7 MHz. The contractual agreement between the University and the Society continues to this day. The Society is WICR’s primary syndicated broadcast program producer and provider.

In 1986, to insure the Society’s permanence, the Vice President of the Board, American States Insurance Companies executive Paul Pitz led a drive to create the Norbert Neuss Endowment Trust. The drive’s initial goal of $125,000 dollars was realized in December, 1987 and was matched by a grant from the Krannert Charitable Trust. The Society now has more than $1 million dollars in its reserves. Only a small portion of the interest earned annually on the fund’s principal is put towards the Society’s annual operating needs, thus ensuring the perpetuity of the fund, and the Society for the long-term.

Certainly the most rewarding and significant event in the Society’s history happened in 1987, when the Society received the most coveted George Foster Peabody Award. The 1986 awards were given to only 28 of over 800 entries and the Society’s was only the fourth ever received by an Indiana broadcast entity in the then 48-year history of the award, administered by the University of Georgia School of Journalism and Mass Communication. What impressed the judges most was the manner in which the Fine Arts Society was able to finance its operations exclusively from private sources.

In 1989 the Society celebrated its 20th year of uninterrupted service. To give this anniversary special meaning, the Society inaugurated a special award for civic and corporate leadership known as the “Diploma of Honor”. This award is given occasionally to individuals who have made a significant contribution to the cultural life of Indianapolis and central Indiana.

In 1991 Meredith Granger signed on as the announcer/host of the Society’s “First Programme.” In 1993, the Society and WICR began broadcasting live Saturday matinees from the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, broadcasts that continue to this day (approximately November through May). 2001 saw the retirement of the President of the Board, Norbert Neuss, after 32 years of volunteer service to the organization. He was appointed President Emeritus. Laura Mendelsohn became the second Board President in 2002 and Dr. Michael F. Hunt became Executive Director, a position he held until 2008.

In the summer of 2005 a massive loss was felt throughout the Society when its co-founder and longtime treasurer, Dr. F. Bruce Peck, passed away. A year later President Emeritus Norbert Neuss passed away. The Fine Arts Society’s 8,500 audio cd library is now the the F. Bruce Peck Library and one of the production studios is the Norbert Neuss Production Studio in honor of their memory and contributions to the Society.

Megan McKinney served as Executive Director from 2008 to 2010. In October of 2008, Michael Toulouse was hired as Program Director. His position is now partially underwritten by a gift from our charter board member, P.E. MacAllister and his wife, Fran. Ms. P. Lynne Goodin became the Executive Director in 2010. Her title was changed in 2012 to President/CEO and the title of the head of the Board of Directors was changed from President to Chairman.

The Fine Arts Society continues as an independent, local, non-profit organization producing syndicated classical music radio programming for WICR-FM/HD 88.7. Our mission is “to inspire passion for classical music across central Indiana through broadcast programming and education outreach.”

Buy Our HD Radio

We now offer a nice but inexpensive tabletop HD radio as a donor premium. It is the new Best Buy Insignia brand tabletop HD radio. It has quite good reception and nice sound for a small radio. It features stereo speakers, a built-in antenna, an optional “pigtail” antenna for weak signal areas, a power cord, battery compartment, headphone jack, and more! It is only 8.5 inches wide, 2.25 inches deep, 4.75 inches high, and weighs just 18 ounces.

We are offering this new tabletop HD radio at the $150 Fine Arts Society membership level. To receive a new tabletop HD radio:

Charge a gift safely and securely online

Charge by phone – call our offices, 317.788.3291, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET
Fill out and return our Gift Form with your check or charge card information. Mail it to:
Fine Arts Society, P. O. Box 1706, Indianapolis, IN 46206-1706

  • When giving online, be sure to write “tabletop HD radio” in the comments box on the bottom of the secure online giving page so we know to ship a radio to you as soon as possible.