Project Beethoven: Symphony No. 7
When listening to Beethoven’s works, I often feel I’m transported through portals into surreal lands. Focusing on that feeling of movement, I incorporated the playful yet overall dark tone of Symphony No. 7 with dancing trees and anchored some of the instruments throughout the piece.
In this drawing I wanted to describe an uncomfortableness with line work integrated with an elegant instrument. If this drawing was a sound it would be very detailed and unique. I drew hands because they display a distinct intense emotion being somewhat distorted indicating emotionally moving music.
I felt that there was an element of triumph in the music that was a more loathsome brand of misery, which resulted in the historical reference to the 1813 Burning of Moscow. There were enough of these feelings resonating for me that i was able to translate the plight of these people and shape it into the stumbling depression that is this collection of figures.
My piece aims to capture the power and turbulence of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony. I found that the best way to emulate this was to create a scene on the ocean, which is as forceful and tempestuous as the orchestral score. The inclusion of the violin-ship blends the two concepts, the ocean and the symphony, in one subject.
For this piece, I aimed to capture three things that struck me most about the 7th symphony. First was the power of the symphony. The triumphant roar of all instruments combined. Next, was the imaginative quality of the piece. I wanted to give hint of a story within my response. And Last I wanted to portray the light-heartedness that I connected with within Beethoven’s piece. In all it was interesting to combine both music and art to create a work that really challenged my senses
The mood of Beethoven’s 7th seemed to change a lot throughout the piece. I wanted to depict this with a sort of whirlwind around him with the sheet music. Like the changing emotions in the piece the sheet music being blown around all comes together to form a finished piece of music.
After reading about the premiere of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, I became interested in the idea of playing a very upbeat song for soldiers wounded in the recent battle of Hanau. I also felt that this contrast fit with the switches through out the symphony between upbeat dancing and pensive repetition. To convey this idea, I chose a combination of traditional vine charcoal with digital color.
“Inner Ear” (February 2013)
11″ x 14″ 2 color screen print on textured Masonite.
As a visual artist, I could not imagine living and working without the ability to see. In this piece, I wanted to draw attention to the fact that Beethoven composed some of the most groundbreaking pieces of Classical music without his sense of hearing. The beauty and triumph of the Seventh Symphony is all the more moving when one stops to realize that the person who composed it would never hear it as we would.
While listening to the 2nd movement of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, I couldn’t help but think about the letters he wrote to his “Immortal Beloved”. Though she never received the letters, I hoped to capture the moment she would have had if she were able to read them. I wanted to push the emotions a little further by having her sitting underneath a weeping willow tree with the trunk of a Cello; an instrument which I feel is able to capture feelings that words cannot, just as Beethoven had written “There are moments when I feel that language is nothing at all.”
Knowing Beethoven took much of his inspiration from forms in nature and in particular in bird songs, I decided to base my piece off of these concepts. I mainly kept the second movement of the Seventh Symphony in mind (Allegretto), and found inspiration in the dancing quality of the movement. I therefore created a courting ritual based in nature inspired by Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony.
My artwork illustrating Beethoven’s 7th Symphony is meant to symbolize rebirth. Because this piece of music was created to be a source of encouragement and inspiration for the Viennese people after being under the rule of Napoleon, I wanted to really showcase themes of beauty and growth. While I was inspired by the overwhelming sound of joy, I also recognized the undertones of grief in the music, which I represented with the black details around the eyes of the woman in my piece- yet the flowers still bloom from her grief.
Beethoven’s seventh is often described as a dance symphony, and I thought dance was a wonderful vehicle to express my feelings about the music. Dancing is both timeless and universal, qualities that struck me about the symphony itself. I created an image of different points of time and space connecting through dance.
The inspiration for my interpretation of Beethoven’s seventh Symphony came from a quote by Thomas Beecham on the third movement of the Symphony: “What can you do with it? It’s like a lot of yaks jumping about.” After reading this I could not get the idea of yaks out of my head, so I decided to use it as a starting point for my piece.
When listening to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, I was moved by the piece’s fluid movement and rapid ups and downs. The second movement reminded me of the ocean. While listening, images of smooth rolling tides and giant crashing waves filled my mind. Its unpredictability was that of a storm. In the midst of my research on Beethoven himself, I found a quote that inspired my image further: “Tones sound, and roar, and storm about me until I have to set them down into notes.”
“Cavalry at the Battle of Hanau”
Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony premiered at a charity benefit for Bavarian soldiers wounded in the Battle of Hanau in 1813. The Battle of Hanau was a minor victory for Napoleon, giving him breathing room enough to retreat back to France. This painting is my way of doing what Beethoven did: commemorating the battle of Hanau.
Medium: watercolour, coloured pencil, acrylic
Description: The 7th symphony is uniquely mysterious, presented with little context and no provided information on the intended meaning. Ultimately, after considering the historical context and the possibility of a biographical element, it seemed most appropriate to let the piece speak for itself and let the imagery come to me organically. This is my personal interpretation of the first movement.
Listening to the 7th Symphony, a lot of things come to mind, but a feeling of war, climax, overcoming, and serenity are all present. This piece was one that was not so much to do a “portrait” of Beethoven, but I wanted to capture three things in one piece: a historical backing to the piece, as well as a side that appealed to both Pagans and Christians (for the Easter season). I know there’s always quarreling between what the Easter Bunny has to do with Easter. Well, now everyone can rejoice as Jesus conducts his orchestra full of Easter bunnies!