2021-12-16 Reposting one of the Beethoven’s Birthday posts from last year (when it was his 250th). There were two parts last year, with Part 1 collecting the Peanuts strips over the years dealing with the birthday — we’re not restoring that one right now, but it is in the archive if you need to look it up.
New comments are absolutely welcome!
A bonus posting for Beethoven’s birthday (baptismal record).
Part 1, yesterday, dipped into the history of the Peanuts strip taking note, in various ways in different years, of the occasion. But they weren’t the only ones in the world of cartooning to take note!
But Peanuts does cast a long shadow:
Sent by Andréa.
From Kilby, an on-point musical panel:
The funnies can reference Beethoven without centering on his birthday, of course, as these selections contributed by Olivier illustrate:
Which musical works get into the comics?
As seen above, the Fifth Symphony has long been a source for drinking jokes because of that peculiar fluid volume measure, one fifth (of a gallon, ICYMI). The opening three-and-one is pretty ubiquitous, though probably by now it is pure geezer to connect that with V-for-Victory.
And of course the symphonies can be referenced by number without going into anything about content. Nicknames help — plenty of “The Erotica Symphony”, not too many from “Pastoral”. The Ninth as a whole comes up sometimes, but the Ode To Joy on its own is a beloved perennial for jokes, adaptations, parodies, Flash Mobs, what you will.
I did see a reference (in a Peanuts?) to “Beethoven’s Seven Concertos” which was a rather interesting take, I thought, to make them a group despite the different solo instruments. But it turns out this was probably an allusion to a book, The Seven Concertos of Beethoven by Antony Hopkins (not the actor Anthony) whose choice of that title is less surprising after seeing he also wrote The Nine Symphonies of Beethoven.
The Sonatas come up some, particularly the Moonlight — though did you notice yesterday in the 1957 Peanuts there was even a bit of the score and a reference to the very early F Minor Sonata? This 1952 Peanuts features an excerpt from what may be the Hammerklavier:
and the NYT A&D article by April Dembosky which gave me that strip also gives some context:
In a strip from 1953 Schroeder embarks on an intensive workout. He does push-ups, jumps rope, lifts weights, touches his toes, does sit-ups (“Puff, Puff”), boxes, runs (“Pant, Pant”) and finally eats (“Chomp! Chomp!”). In the last two panels he walks to his piano with determination and begins playing furiously, sweat springing from his brow.
I was wondering at the absence of the quartets, but then this image of a Thong Quartet came in:
The perhaps surprising high-frequency champ seems to me to be that wonderful Bagatelle “Für Elise”! (And this first example even elevates its significance. Despite being really lovely, it is after all, a mere bagatelle.)
And how about second-order references — cartoons about other treatments of Beethoven in popular culture? I was expecting, and saw a good many, references to the use of “Für Elise” as a ringtone. But I was quite unprepared for the allusions to a movie (and sequels!) called Beethoven and featuring a dog who bears that name!
Contributed by Olivier (who may be able to clarify if that apparently nonstandard French is a particular identified variant or just what a kid might spell.)
Some interest in his general history and biography:
And it’s good to see, in cartoon format, a genuine educational interest in serious history and biographical fact!
(Several uncredited individual images above contributed by Olivier.)
How confusing! It seems the prompt “If Beethoven were alive today, he’d probably be a jazz fan” and the picture would be coming from a fan of both LvB and Miles Davis. But then the take-it-back line about being old seems to be a put-down of both Beethoven and jazz as a genre.
But it should be no surprise that jazz musicians are fans of Beethoven. There are at least two albums of jazz variations on one movement of Beethoven’s, the Allegretto from Symphony No. 7.
Possible Part 3 tomorrow? : Let’s see what contemporary cartoon series had to say on the big 250th birthday date!
Nope, nothing of note! But feel free to comment with relevant comics that were overlooked!