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You're not going to learn this in any Music Appreciation 101 class (because it isn't accurate) but Beethoven to me is the personification of the paradigm shift from not just the classical era to the romantic, but from an artist's way of conceptualizing music from Platonic Idealism to vulgar popular. Mozart, the poster boy of the classical period, wrote music to reach Longinus's Sublime. Beethoven, however, had a more Aristotelian approach striving for both cathartic release and toe-tapping melody.
I think this brought about the downfall of art. Going from an intellectually-satisfying abstraction to a crude, middling populace-satisfying product, music (and art (though the semantic meaning of "art" itself changed from an individualized orchestration of that great, rarefied articulation called genuis to "art" the pallid mass-marketed and homogenized substance to reap capital) as a whole) has been denegraded as "the stuff with which to sell other stuff."
Now, even the conscious professional entertainer (as opposed to artist) can openly say their desire is not in the creation itself, but in the money, fame, or fans.
OF COURSE Beethoven was the best post-classical musician (with Chopin closely behind him), and I would never take that away from him (though I feel he owes me for Fidelio). But still, I lament the day he unleashed the mediocre dogs of bore. Ha! Bore!
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