All About Ludwig van Beethoven

Information on Beethoven, his life, his music and classical sheet music

Best 5 Beethoven Books on Amazon

1.Beethoven: The Universal Composer by Edmund Morris

2.Beethoven by Maynard Solomon

3.Beethoven: The Music and the Life by Lewis Lockwood

4.Late Beethoven: Music, Thought, Imagination by Maynard Solomon

5.Beethoven as I Knew Him by Anton Felix Schindler

Classical Sheet Music Downloads at Virtual Sheet Music

Beethoven's Opera Fidelio, Act II

The end of act I – the prisoners’ choir – is a page of great depth and human affection, presenting the stroll of the prisoners enjoying the sunrays with the excitement of children.

Act II

Act II has two scenes, the first taking place in the dungeon and the second one in the public square in front of the prison. The first scene is preceded by an orchestral introduction revealing the emotional state of the prisoner and it is followed by Florestan’s aria which deepens this state even more.

The music in the second scene is joyful because the people sing the bliss and beauty of conjugal love. In the scene where Leonora unshackles Florestan, Beethoven introduced in the chorus text lyrics from Schiller’s Ode of Joy: "If you found a tender lover, join us in our joyful ring dance."

Influences on future works

Fidelio had a very powerful influence on the romantic German opera of the 19th century, especially concerning the symphony and the treatment of the voice in an instrumental style. Anton Rubinstein compared the role of the orchestra in Wagner’s works and in Fidelio: "The orchestra in Wagner’s works is extraordinarily interesting, but it diminishes the role of the vocal parts… you feel like telling them to keep silent in order to also hear the singers on the stage. It’s hard to find a more interesting orchestra than that of Beethoven’s Fidelio. For me, Fidelio is a genuine musical drama from all points of view; regardless of its authenticity in musical characterization, it still has the most beautiful melodic sound, and, regardless of the interest the orchestra shows, it is not the one expressing something on behalf of the characters, but it is the one giving them the opportunity to express themselves. In this opera, every sound emerges from the depth of soul and in depth of soul it must find its echo with the hearer."

The premiere of the Opera Fidelio took place on November 20th 1805 at the Viennese Theatre at a completely inopportune moment, considering that just seven days earlier the French troupes triumphantly marched in Vienna, under the command of Murat and Lannes. At all three representations Beethoven personally conducted the orchestra and the chorus from the piano, but the public’s indifference troubled him deeply. That is perhaps why, little before he died, giving the opera to Schindler, he said: “This infant of my spirit was born in far more agonizing torment than others, and also, it brought me the greatest bitterness. That is why it is dearer to me and, more than any other, it deserves to be preserved and used for the learning of the arts.”

Read more about Beethoven's music

  • Beethoven Symphonies - Each of the nine Beethoven symphonies analyzed.
  • The piano sonatas - Analysis of the sonata form and the most important Beethoven Piano Sonatas.
  • Sonatas for Cello and Piano - Discussion about Beethoven's five cello and piano sonatas.
  • Trios - General discussion regarding Beethoven's trios for various instruments and ensembles.
  • Sonatas for Violin and Piano - Overview of Beethoven's ten sonatas for violin and piano.
  • String Quartets - Brief analysis of Beethoven's seventeen string quartets.
  • The Concertos - Beethoven's five piano concertos, his violin concerto and triple concerto analyzed.
  • The Overtures - Brief overview of some of the most important Beethoven overtures.