These two ‘books’ respond directly to Immanuel Kant’s ‘Analytic of the Beautiful’ and his ‘Analytic of the Sublime’. In order to clearly allude to these important works of philosophical debate, the third exquisite and highly poignant movement of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in Major, Op 109, becomes more than a skeletal framework for the compositions. In Book 1, and within the spirit of the ‘theme and variations’ design as used by Beethoven, the music evolves from a stark presentation of ideas, gradually exploring these in a series of diverse and occasionally terse ways, yet always with a keen eye to aspects of symmetry and grace of pattern that ultimately reveal their beauty as opposed to their sublimity. Book 2 goes further and uses Beethoven’s melody as a starting point to an exploration of its line via use of harmonic and sub-harmonic series. Beethoven’s music makes this music, though it would be impossible to perceive without prior knowledge. The complex series of lines that make up the first of two movements in Book 2 are delineated by the use of colour. The second movement is utterly serene and hopes to finally respond to the sublime due to its understanding of what makes things ‘beautiful’ and that nature and natural process is what takes things to the ultimate point at which we may feel a sense of ‘sublimity’.
© Paul Max Edlin 2002
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