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The classical period occurred between 1775 and 1825, and the term ‘classical' was adopted due to the keen interest in the literary and artistic heritage of Rome and Greece during the period (Churgin 228). The musical scene during the classical period demonstrated the various changes taking place in the society in which the music was getting composed (Churgin 229). The classical era’s choral music got dominated by Franz Haydn (1732-1809), Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), and Wolfgang Mozart (1756-1791). Vienna became the central point for classical music, and all the three composers (Haydn, Beethoven, and Mozart) worked in Vienna for extended periods in their music careers (Rushton and Downs 269).
Haydn’s music career lasted for about three decades, and he spent much of his career years creating, practicing and performing melodious and high-quality music for his followers. Haydn produced several symphonies and developed musical procedures that merged to form a type of music known as sonata-allegro. The sonata-allegro music had various sections, including themes’ exposition, development, recapitulation, and coda sections, with each section having a different key (Rushton and Downs 269). Haydn’s application of sonata-allegro principle revolutionized the classical music by setting the number of movements in the music (symphony) at four, including a fast, a moderately slow, a minuet, and finale movements respectively. Haydn is also remembered for normalizing or standardizing the string quartet, which consists of a viola, a cello, and two violins (Churgin 230).
Mozart merged several of his talents into a moving, popular, and high-quality musical style. Mozart’s greatest contributions to the classical music came in opera music, although he also made significant contributions to the chamber music, symphony, choral music, and keyboard music. The reputation of Mozart did not depend on the types of formal innovations introduced by Haydn. Instead, Mozart's reputation was entirely based on the effectiveness, mastery, and the sheer quality of his work (Rushton and Downs 270).
Beethoven relocated to Vienna from Bonn in the year 1792, and it did not take long before he established himself as the natural successor to both the aging Haydn and Mozart. However, by the end of that decade, Beethoven was already breaking down the Classical forms' boundaries (Churgin 234). In the year 1803 when Beethoven’s a fifty-minute “Eroica” Symphony got premiered, most people thought he had lost his mind, including fellow composers and his critics. The scope and intensity of Beethoven’s works (both short and long) appeared to be at odds with the Classical music style, despite maintaining the Classical logic (Churgin 235). Nevertheless, Beethoven’s works led to the redefinition of the piano sonata as a vital and powerful means or form of individual expression. Besides, Beethoven composed or wrote unparalleled, complex string quartets and transformed the concerto into a virtuoso composition using the theme of the crowd versus the individual. Using his group of works called “A die Ferne Geliebte,” Beethoven established a music genre and a song cycle that was of great importance to emotional subjectivity (Rushton and Downs 272).
Therefore, from the career paths of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, I would choose Beethoven's career path. That is because Beethoven's musical career led to the unification of the Classical ideals of balance and abstract form with the various concerns that later dominated the Romantic century, such as the social experience, human nature, and experience, as well as the power or influence of the natural world.
Churgin, Bathia. "Music of The Classical Era." The Musical Quarterly LXVIII.2 (1982): 228-237. Web.
Rushton, Julian, and Philip G. Downs. "Classical Music: The Era of Haydn, Mozart, And Beethoven." The Musical Times 134.1803 (1993): 269-272. Web.
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