Ludwig van Beethoven  
Ludwig van Beethoven

Portrait by Joseph Karl Stieler, 1820
Ludwig van Beethoven, (baptized December 17, 1770, Bonn, archbishopric of Cologne [Germany]—died March 26, 1827, Vienna, Austria), German composer, the predominant musical figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras.

Widely regarded as the greatest composer who ever lived, Ludwig van Beethoven dominates a period of musical history as no one else before or since. Rooted in the Classical traditions of Joseph Haydn and Mozart, his art reaches out to encompass the new spirit of humanism and incipient nationalism expressed in the works of Goethe and Friedrich von Schiller, his elder contemporaries in the world of literature; the stringently redefined moral imperatives of Kant; and the ideals of the French Revolution, with its passionate concern for the freedom and dignity of the individual. He revealed more vividly than any of his predecessors the power of music to convey a philosophy of life without the aid of a spoken text; and in certain of his compositions is to be found the strongest assertion of the human will in all music, if not in all art. Though not himself a Romantic, he became the fountainhead of much that characterized the work of the Romantics who followed him, especially in his ideal of program or illustrative music, which he defined in connection with his Sixth (Pastoral) Symphony as “more an expression of emotion than painting.” In musical form he was a considerable innovator, widening the scope of sonata, symphony, concerto, and quartet; while in the Ninth Symphony he combined the worlds of vocal and instrumental music in a manner never before attempted. His personal life was marked by a heroic struggle against encroaching deafness, and some of his most important works were composed during the last 10 years of his life when he was quite unable to hear. In an age that saw the decline of court and church patronage, he not only maintained himself from the sale and publication of his works but also was the first musician to receive a salary with no duties other than to compose how and when he felt inclined.

A portrait of the 13-year-old Beethoven by an unknown Bonn master (c. 1783)


Life and work
The early years

Beethoven was the eldest surviving child of Johann and Maria Magdalena van Beethoven. The family was Flemish in origin and can be traced back to Malines. It was Beethoven’s grandfather who had first settled in Bonn when he became a singer in the choir of the archbishop-elector of Cologne; he eventually rose to become Kappellmeister. His son Johann was also a singer in the electoral choir; thus, like most 18th-century musicians, Beethoven was born into the profession. Though at first quite prosperous, the Beethoven family became steadily poorer with the death of his grandfather in 1773 and the decline of his father into alcoholism. By age 11 Beethoven had to leave school; at 18 he was the breadwinner of the family.

Having observed in his eldest son the signs of a talent for the piano, Johann tried to make Ludwig a child prodigy like Mozart but did not succeed. It was not until his adolescence that Beethoven began to attract mild attention.

When in 1780 Joseph II became sole ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, he appointed his brother Maximilian Francis as adjutant and successor-designate to the archbishop-elector of Cologne. Under Maximilian’s rule, Bonn was transformed from a minor provincial town into a thriving and cultured capital city. A liberal Roman Catholic, he endowed Bonn with a university, limited the power of his own clergy, and opened the city to the full tide of the German literary renaissance associated with Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock, and the young Goethe and Schiller. A sign of the times was the nomination as court organist of Christian Gottlob Neefe, a Protestant from Saxony, who became Beethoven’s teacher. Although somewhat limited as a musician, Neefe was nonetheless a man of high ideals and wide culture, a man of letters as well as a composer of songs and light theatrical pieces; and it was to be through Neefe that Beethoven in 1783 would have his first extant composition (Nine Variations on a March by Dressler) published at Mannheim. By June 1782 Beethoven had become Neefe’s assistant as court organist.

In 1783 he was also appointed continuo player to the Bonn opera. By 1787 he had made such progress that Maximilian Francis, archbishop-elector since 1784, was persuaded to send him to Vienna to study with Mozart. The visit was cut short when, after a short time, Beethoven received the news of his mother’s death. According to tradition, Mozart was highly impressed with Beethoven’s powers of improvisation and told some friends that “this young man will make a great name for himself in the world”; no reliable account of Beethoven’s first trip to Vienna survives, however.

For the next five years, Beethoven remained at Bonn. To his other court duties was added that of playing viola in the theatre orchestra; and, although the archbishop for the time being showed him no further mark of special favour, he was beginning to make valuable acquaintances. Sometime previously he had come to know the widow of the chancellor, Joseph von Breuning, and she engaged him as music teacher to two of her four children. From then on, the Breunings’ house became for him a second home, far more congenial than his own. Through Mme von Breuning, Beethoven acquired a number of wealthy pupils. His most useful social contact came in 1788 with the arrival in Bonn of Ferdinand, Graf (count) von Waldstein, a member of the highest Viennese aristocracy and a music lover. Waldstein became a member of the Breuning circle, where he heard Beethoven play and at once became his devoted admirer. At a fancy dress ball given in 1790, the ballet music, according to the Almanach de Gotha (a journal chronicling the social activities of the aristocracy), had been composed by the count, but it was generally known that Beethoven had written it for him. The same year saw the death of the emperor Joseph II. Through Waldstein again, Beethoven was invited to compose a funeral ode for soloists, chorus, and orchestra, but the scheduled performance was canceled because the wind players found certain passages too difficult. He then added to it a complementary piece celebrating the accession of Joseph’s brother Leopold II. There is no record that either was ever performed until the end of the 19th century, when the manuscripts were rediscovered in Vienna and pronounced authentic by Johannes Brahms. But in 1790 another great composer had seen and admired them: that year Haydn, passing through Bonn on his way to London, was feted by the elector and his musical establishment; when shown Beethoven’s score, he was sufficiently impressed by it to offer to take Beethoven as a pupil when he returned from London. Beethoven accepted Haydn’s offer and in the autumn of 1792, while the armies of the French Revolution were storming into the Rhineland provinces, Beethoven left Bonn, never to return. The album that he took with him (preserved in the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn) indicates the wide circle of his acquaintances and friends in Bonn. The most prophetic of the entries, written shortly after Mozart’s death, runs:

The spirit of Mozart is mourning and weeping over the death of her beloved. With the inexhaustible Haydn she found repose but no occupation. With the help of unremitting labour you shall receive Mozart’s spirit from Haydn’s hands. (Waldstein)

The compositions belonging to the years at Bonn—excluding those probably begun at Bonn but revised and completed in Vienna—are of more interest to the Beethoven student than to the ordinary music lover. They show the influences in which his art was rooted as well as the natural difficulties that he had to overcome and that his early training was inadequate to remedy. Three piano sonatas written in 1783 demonstrate that, musically, Bonn was an outpost of Mannheim, the cradle of the modern orchestra in Germany, and the nursery of a musical style that was to make a vital contribution to the classical symphony. But, at the time of Beethoven’s childhood, the Mannheim school was already in decline. The once famous orchestra was, in effect, dissolved after the war of 1778 between Austria and Prussia. The Mannheim style had degenerated into mannerism; this particular influence is reflected in a preoccupation with extremes of piano (soft) and forte (loud), often deployed in contradiction to the musical phrasing, that may be found in Beethoven’s early sonatas and in much else written by him at that time—which is not surprising, since the symphonies of later Mannheim composers formed the staple fare of the Bonn court orchestra. But what was only an occasional effect for Mozart and others influenced by the Mannheim composers was to remain a fundamental element for Beethoven. The sudden pianos, the unexpected outbursts, the wide leaping arpeggio figures with concluding explosive effects (known as “Mannheim rockets”)—all these are central to Beethoven’s musical personality and were to help him toward the liberation of instrumental music from its dependence on vocal style. Beethoven may indeed be described as the last and finest flower on the Mannheim tree.

Portrait of Beethoven as a young man by Carl Traugott Riedel


Early influences
Like other composers of his generation, Beethoven was subject to the influence of popular music and of folk music, influences particularly strong in the Waldstein ballet music of 1790 and in several of his early songs and unison choruses. Heavy Rhineland dance rhythms can be found in many of his mature compositions; but he could assimilate other local idioms as well—Italian, French, Slavic, and even Celtic. Although never a nationalist or folk composer in the 20th-century sense, he often allowed the unusual contours of folk melody to lead him away from traditional harmonic procedure; moreover, that he resorts to a folklike idiom in setting Schiller’s covertly nationalist text in the Ninth Symphony accords well with nationalist practices of the later 19th century.

French music impinged on him from two main directions: from Mannheim, whose artistic links with Paris had always been strong, and from the Bonn Nationaltheater, which relied for its repertory mainly on comic operas translated from the French. In fashionable Bonn society, sympathy with the French Revolution was very strong, and the flavour of the French Revolutionary march is present in many of Beethoven’s symphonic allegros. The jigging rhythms to be found in several of his scherzos are also clearly of French provenance.

Like all pianists of the late 18th century, Beethoven was raised on the sonatas and teachings of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, the chief exponent of “expressive” music at a time when music was regarded as the art of pleasing sounds. These sonatas, with their quirks of rhythms and harmony and their occasional wordless recitative, were equally familiar to Haydn and Mozart; but in Beethoven they evoked a much readier response, not only for reasons of temperament but also because of the intellectual climate in which he himself was reared. The favourite literary fare of the Breunings and their friends was associated with the Sturm und Drang, a reaction against the rationalism of the early 18th century, an exaltation of feeling and instinct over reason. Its gospel was enshrined in Goethe’s early novel The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774), the language of which finds an echo in certain of Beethoven’s letters and especially in the “Heiligenstadt Testament”.

In such a movement music took on a new importance as an art of feeling. The sharp conflicts of mood that characterize the sonatas of C.P.E. Bach appear much more powerfully again in Beethoven; to Beethoven, “feeling” was as important in practice as it was in theory to his master Neefe, who proclaimed it the only condition of artistic value (moreover, for those who claim Beethoven as a Romantic, this emphasis on feeling is paramount). His literary world—he read widely and voraciously despite a formal education that in arithmetic had not carried him as far as the multiplication table—was rooted in the German classics, above all Goethe and Schiller.

The Bonn compositions of most enduring interest date, as might be expected, from the last years: a Rondino and an Octet, for wind instruments, composed in 1792, probably for the elector’s harmonie (wind band); a Trio in G Major for Flute, Bassoon, and Piano (1791); and the two cantatas. The songs, which were doubtless written under Neefe’s inspiration, show no great feeling for the solo voice. This is strange in one whose father and grandfather both had been singers, but it remained a limitation that pursued Beethoven throughout his career. Of particular interest are 24 variations on a theme by Vincenzo Righini, an Italian composer, which, like the String Trio in E-flat Major, Opus 3, Beethoven revised and then published at a much later date. These variations, representing a compendium of Beethoven’s piano technique, for a long time were to serve as the mainstay of his repertory in the salons of Vienna.

Beethoven in 1803, painted by Christian Horneman



Before Beethoven left Bonn, he had acquired a very considerable reputation in northwest Germany as a piano virtuoso, with a particular talent for extemporization. Mozart had been one of the finest improvisers of his age; by all accounts Beethoven surpassed him. In the age of sensibility he could move an audience to tears more easily than any other pianist of the time. For this reason especially he was taken up by the Viennese aristocracy almost from the moment he set foot in Vienna. Waldstein had, of course, prepared the way with his talk of a successor to Mozart; and it is significant that Beethoven’s earliest patrons in Vienna were Gottfried, Baron van Swieten and Karl, Fürst (prince) von Lichnowsky, who alone among the aristocracy had remained Mozart’s supporters until his death. Perhaps, as well, Beethoven traded on the “van” in his name—which was widely if wrongly understood to denote noble lineage—to gain easier access to aristocratic circles. In the Vienna of the 1790s, music had become more and more the favourite pastime of a cultured aristocracy, for whom politics under the reactionary emperor Francis II were now discreditable and dangerous and who had, moreover, never shown a like appreciation of any of the other fine arts. Many played instruments themselves well enough to be able to take their place beside professionals. Probably at no other time and in no other city was there such a high standard of amateur and semiprofessional music-making as in the Vienna of Beethoven’s day.

As a composer, however, Beethoven still had many technical problems to overcome, and it soon became clear that Haydn was not the best person to help him. Outwardly their relations remained cordial; but Beethoven soon began taking extra lessons in secret. One of his teachers was the organist of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Johann Georg Albrechtsberger, a learned contrapuntist of the old school who equipped him with the comprehensive technique that he needed. He also studied vocal composition with Antonio Salieri, the imperial Kappellmeister. By 1794, when Haydn had left for his second visit to London, there was no longer any question of Beethoven’s returning to Bonn, which was then in French hands. The elector himself had left, and consequently Beethoven’s subsidy came to an end. But he had no need to worry for, apart from what he was able to earn by teaching and playing, he received free board and lodgings from Prince Lichnowsky. The year 1795 marked Beethoven’s first public appearance as a pianist in Vienna. He played a concerto (No. 2, Opus 19) of his own and one by Mozart and also took part in a benefit concert for Haydn. More important still, his Three Trios for Piano, Violin, and Cello, Opus 1, were published with a long list of aristocratic subscribers. In the next three years he undertook concert tours in Berlin and Prague and might have traveled more widely still had the international situation permitted. In 1800 he launched a public concert on the grand scale, in which one of his own piano concerti, the Septet (Opus 20), and the First Symphony were given, together with works by Haydn and Mozart. The event contributed a great deal to the spread of Beethoven’s fame abroad.

The turn of the century concluded what is generally referred to as Beethoven’s first period, although some usefully extend it to the summer of 1802, when he wrote the “Heilgenstadt Testament” (see below); during this period his art stayed mainly within the bounds of 18th-century technique and ideas. Most of his published works during that time are for the piano, alone or with other instruments, important exceptions being the String Trio in E-flat Major, Opus 3; the Three String Trios, Opus 9; the Six String Quartets, Opus 18; and the First Symphony. Beethoven extended his range slowly and methodically, but he was still a piano composer par excellence.

Ludwig van Beethoven: detail of an 1804 portrait by Joseph Willibrord Mähler.


Approaching deafness

A change in direction occurred with Beethoven’s gradual realization that he was becoming deaf. The first symptoms had appeared even before 1800, yet for a few years his life continued unchanged: he still played in the houses of the nobility, in rivalry with other pianists, and performed in public with such visiting virtuosos as violinist George Bridgetower (to whom the Kreutzer Sonata was originally dedicated). But by 1802 he could no longer be in doubt that his malady was both permanent and progressive. During a summer spent at the (then) country village of Heiligenstadt he wrote the “Heiligenstadt Testament.” Ostensibly intended for his two brothers, the document begins:

O ye men who think or say that I am malevolent, stubborn or misanthropic, how greatly do you wrong me. You do not know the cause of my seeming so. From childhood my heart and mind was disposed to the gentle feeling of good will. I was ever eager to accomplish great deeds, but reflect now that for six years I have been in a hopeless case, made worse by ignorant doctors, yearly betrayed in the hope of getting better, finally forced to face the prospect of a permanent malady whose cure will take years or even prove impossible.

He was tempted to take his own life,

But only Art held back; for, ah, it seemed unthinkable for me to leave the world forever before I had produced all that I felt called upon to produce.…

There is a Werther-like postscript:

As the leaves of autumn wither and fall, so has my own life become barren: almost as I came, so I go hence. Even that high courage that inspired me in the fair days of summer has now vanished.

More significant, perhaps, are his words in a letter to his friend Franz Wegeler: “I will seize fate by the throat.…” Elsewhere he remarks, “If only I were rid of my affliction I would embrace the whole world.” He was to do both, though the condition he hoped for was not fulfilled.

From then on his days as a virtuoso were numbered. Although it was not until about 1819 that his deafness became total, making necessary the use of those conversation books in which friends wrote down their questions while he replied orally, his playing degenerated as he became able to hear less and less. He continued to appear in public from time to time, but most of his energies were absorbed in composing. He would spend the months from May to October in one or another of the little villages near Vienna. Many of his musical ideas came to him on long country walks and were noted in sketchbooks.

These sketchbooks, many of which have been preserved, reveal much about Beethoven’s working methods. The man who could improvise the most intricate fantasies on the spur of the moment took infinite pains in the shaping of a considered composition. In the sketchbooks such famous melodies as the adagio of the Emperor Concerto or the andante of the Kreutzer Sonata can be seen emerging from trivial and characterless beginnings into their final forms. It seems, too, that Beethoven worked on more than one composition at a time and that he was rarely in a hurry to finish anything that he had on hand. Early sketches for the Fifth Symphony, for instance, date originally from 1804, although the finished work did not appear until 1808. Sometimes the sketches are accompanied by verbal comments as a kind of aide-mémoire. Sometimes, as in the sketching of the Third Symphony (Eroica), he would leave several bars blank, making it clear that the rhythmic scheme had preceded the melodic in his mind. Many of the sketches consist merely of a melody line and a bass—enough, in fact, to establish a continuity. But in many works, especially the later ones, the sketching process is very elaborate indeed, with revisions and alterations continuing up to the date of publication. If, in general, it is only the primitive sketches and jottings that have survived, this is because Beethoven kept them beside him as potential sources of material for later compositions.

Beethoven in 1814. Portrait by Louis-René Létronne.


Beethoven and the theatre

The next few years were those of Beethoven’s short-lived connection with the theatre. In 1801 he had provided the score for the ballet Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus (The Creatures of Prometheus). Two years later he was offered a contract for an opera on a classical subject with a libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder, who had achieved fame and wealth as the librettist of Mozart’s The Magic Flute and who was then impresario of the Theater an der Wien. Two or three completed numbers show that Beethoven had already begun work on it before Schikaneder himself was ousted from the management and the contract annulled—somewhat to Beethoven’s relief, as he had found Schikaneder’s verses “such as could only have proceeded from the mouths of our Viennese applewomen.” When the new management reengaged Beethoven the following year, it was largely on the strength of his now almost-forgotten oratorio, Christus am Ölberg (Christ on the Mount of Olives), which had been given in an all-Beethoven benefit concert, together with the first two symphonies and the Third Piano Concerto.

The year 1804 was to see the completion of the Third Symphony, regarded by most biographers as a landmark in Beethoven’s development. It is the answer to the “Heiligenstadt Testament”: a symphony on an unprecedented scale and at the same time a prodigious assertion of the human will. The work was to have been dedicated to Napoleon, intermittently one of Beethoven’s heroes, but Beethoven struck out the dedication on hearing that Napoleon had taken the title of emperor. Outraged in his republican principles, he changed the title to Eroica and added the words “for the memory of a great man.” From then on the masterworks followed hard on one another’s heels: the Waldstein Piano Sonata, Opus 53; Piano Sonata in F Minor, Opus 57, known as the Appassionata; the Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Opus 58; the three Razumovsky Quartets, Opus 59; the Fourth Symphony, Opus 60; the Violin Concerto, Opus 61.

To this period also belongs his one opera, Fidelio, commissioned for the winter season of 1805. The play concerns a wife who disguises herself as a boy in order to rescue her husband, imprisoned for political reasons; in setting this to music, Beethoven was influenced by Ferdinando Paer and by Luigi Cherubini, composer of similar “rescue” operas and a musician whom he greatly admired. Fidelio enjoyed no great success at first, partly because the presence of French troops, who had occupied Vienna after the Battle of Austerlitz, kept most of the Viennese away. With great difficulty Beethoven was persuaded to make certain changes for a revival in the following spring, with modified libretto. This time the opera survived two performances and would have run longer but for a quarrel between Beethoven and the management, after which the composer in a fury withdrew his score. It was not until eight years later that Fidelio, heavily revised by Beethoven himself and a new librettist, returned to the Vienna stage, to become one of the classics of the German theatre. Beethoven later turned over many other operatic projects in his mind but without bringing any to fruition.

Beethoven in 1815 portrait by Joseph Willibrord Mähler


The established composer

During all this time, Beethoven, like Mozart, had maintained himself without the benefit of an official position—but with far greater success insofar as he had no family to support. His reputation as a composer was steadily soaring both in Austria and abroad. The critics of the Leipzig Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, the most authoritative music journal in Europe, had long since passed from carping impertinence to unqualified praise, so that, although there were as yet no copyright laws to ensure a system of royalties, Beethoven was able to drive far more-favourable bargains with the publishing firms than Haydn and Mozart before him or Franz Schubert after him. Despite the restrictions on Viennese musical life imposed by the war with France, Beethoven had no difficulty in getting his most ambitious works performed, largely because of the generosity of such patrons as Prince Lichnowsky, who at one point made him a regular allowance of 600 florins a year. Others would pay handsomely for a dedication—e.g., the Graf (count) von Oppersdorf, for the Fourth Symphony. Also, Beethoven’s pupils included the archduke Rudolf, youngest brother of the emperor. Consequently, poverty was never a serious threat. But, doubtless because of increasing deafness combined with a habitual readiness to take offense, Beethoven’s relations with the Viennese musicians, on whose cooperation he depended, became steadily worse; and in 1808, at a benefit concert where the Fourth Piano Concerto, the Fifth and Sixth symphonies, and the Choral Fantasia, Opus 80, were first performed publicly, there occurred a quarrel so serious that Beethoven thought of leaving Vienna altogether. But the threat of his departure was sufficient to stir his patrons into action. The archduke Rudolf, Prince Lobkowitz, and Prince Kinsky banded together to provide him with an annuity of 4,000 florins, requiring only that he should remain in Vienna and compose. The agreement remained in force until Beethoven’s death, though it was to be affected by circumstances, one of which was the devaluation of 1811; although the archduke increased his contribution accordingly, it was some time before his partners could do the same. Nevertheless, from 1809 onward Beethoven remained adequately provided for, although his habits of life often gave visitors the impression that he was miserably poor. Inevitably, his public appearances became less frequent.

Tereza Brunsvik


Beethoven and women

In this period too, he considered more seriously than before the idea of marriage. As early as 1801, letters to his friend Wegeler refer to “a dear sweet girl who loves me and whom I love.” This is thought to have been the countess Giulietta Guicciardi, a piano pupil and the cousin of two other pupils, Therese and Josephine, daughters of the Graf von Brunsvik. It was to Giulietta that he dedicated the Piano Sonata in C-sharp Minor, Opus 27, No. 2, known as the Moonlight Sonata. But the countess married the Graf von Gallenberg in 1803, and in later years Beethoven seems to have remembered her only with mild contempt. It seems clear, however, that he did propose marriage to her cousin Josephine, whose elderly husband, the Graf von Deym, died in 1804; and the understanding appears to have continued for about three years, until it was brought to an end partly by Beethoven’s own indecisiveness and partly by pressure from Josephine’s family. The prospective bride of 1810 is thought to have been Therese Malfatti, daughter of one of Beethoven’s doctors, but, like the other marriage projects, this too lapsed, and Beethoven remained a bachelor.

Giulietta Guicciardi

A curious item, however, was found among his effects, locked away in a drawer, at the time of his death: three letters, written but apparently never sent (they may have been sent but returned to him), to the “Immortal Beloved.” The content, which varies from high-flown poetic sentiments to banal complaints about his health and discomfort, makes it clear that this is no literary exercise but was intended for a real person. The month and day of the week are given, but not the year. The periods 1801–02, 1806–07, and 1811–12 have been proposed, but the last is the most probable. The most cogent arguments regarding the identity of the person addressed, those by Maynard Solomon, point to Antonie Brentano, a native Viennese, who was the wife of a Frankfurt merchant and sister-in-law to Beethoven familiar Bettina Brentano.

Life mask made in 1812


Wider recognition

In 1810 E.T.A. Hoffmann in Berlin produced an appreciation of the Fifth Symphony, which undoubtedly did much to launch that work on its triumphant career throughout the world and, above all, to interest the Romantics in its composer. The same year, Beethoven made the acquaintance of the writer Bettina Brentano, the sister of the German poet and novelist Clemens Brentano and, later, wife of Achim von Arnim, the two compilers of the famous collection of German folk poetry, Des Knaben Wunderhorn. Of the letters that Bettina gave out as having been written to her by Beethoven, only one can be accepted as genuine; at least one of the others, in which the composer is made to philosophize on music in the most uncharacteristically romantic terms, must be dismissed as spurious. Bettina also performed the questionable service of bringing together Beethoven and Goethe at Teplitz in 1812 (coincidentally, the likely setting for the “Immortal Beloved” letters as well). The admiration had been all on Beethoven’s side; to Goethe, Beethoven was little more than a famous name. The meeting was not a success. “Goethe is too fond of the atmosphere of the courts,” Beethoven wrote to Breitkopf and Härtel, the music publishers, “more so than is becoming to a poet.” Goethe considered Beethoven to be “an utterly untamed personality, who is not altogether in the wrong in holding the world to be detestable, but surely does not make it any the more enjoyable either for himself or for others by his attitude.” He showed a certain interest in the incidental music written in 1810 for Egmont “out of pure love for the subject.”

The chief compositions of 1811–12 were the Seventh and Eighth symphonies, the first of which had its premiere in 1813. Another novelty at the same concert was the so-called Battle Symphony, written to celebrate the decisive victory of Arthur Wellesley (later duke of Wellington) over Joseph Bonaparte at Vitoria. Composed originally for a mechanical musical instrument, the Panharmonicon, invented by J.N. Maelzel, Beethoven later scored the work for orchestra. He frankly admitted it was program music of the worst kind, vastly different from the ideals of “mehr Ausdruck der Empfindung als Malerei” (“more as an expression of feeling than painting”) expressed in his own Pastoral Symphony; but in view of its success he was ready enough to score it for orchestra and even to send a copy of the score to the English prince regent, who, much to Beethoven’s annoyance, made no acknowledgment. The concert, profitable as it was for the composer, led to a bitter quarrel with Maelzel, from which Beethoven emerged with little credit.

Despite the difficulties over the annuity caused by the devaluation of 1811, the years 1813–14 were profitable ones for Beethoven, although nearly bereft of significant new works, for Beethoven’s creativity had fallen precipitously after the romantic crisis of 1812. The first performance of the Seventh Symphony was a huge success, and the audience insisted on the funereal allegretto being repeated. When the Congress of Vienna assembled in 1814, Beethoven’s music was universally known, and he himself was courted by the crowned heads of Europe. Fidelio was revived with tumultuous success, and Beethoven celebrated the fall of France with a grand patriotic cantata, Der glorreiche Augenblick (The Glorious Moment). In 1814, after years of war, Vienna was to enjoy a brief hour of glory before the Austrian economy collapsed and the city sank into a state of dowdy provincialism that lasted for nearly 40 years.

Beethoven in 1818 by August Klöber


The last years

With the start of the long reign of Klemens, Fürst (prince) von Metternich, and the so-called Biedermeier period, which was marked by simplicity and homeliness in art and design, Beethoven’s creative life entered its third and final phase. Because of his deafness he became more of a recluse than ever. His rate of composition, too, began to decrease. The works written between 1815 and 1827 comprise a mere fraction of his output after 1792; but they have a density of musical thought far surpassing anything that he had composed before. Though he now went less into society, he concerned himself more and more with business matters, not always with happy results.

At about this time he was brought in touch with the Philharmonic Society of London. Earlier, in 1803, he had been approached by the Edinburgh publisher George Thomson with a proposal that he should write sonatas based on Scottish folk tunes. Although nothing came of this, Thomson somewhat later succeeded in contracting him to arrange national folk melodies for voice, violin, cello, and piano, each with an introduction and coda. These remained an easy and profitable source of income to Beethoven for many years. It was in 1815, however, when Beethoven’s pupil Ferdinand Ries settled in London and became one of the founder-members of the Philharmonic Society, that English music lovers began to take an active interest in the promotion of Beethoven’s works. Another society member, Charles Neate, visited Beethoven in Vienna and later brought about the commission of three new overtures to be performed by the society. The overtures König Stephan (“King Stephan”), Namensfeier (“Name Day”), and Die Ruinen von Athen (“The Ruins of Athens”) were, however, late in arriving, and the discovery that they were not new after all caused considerable bad feeling; for a time, relations became strained on both sides. Ries did much to effect a reconciliation, but a visit to London, planned as early as 1813, never materialized, though Beethoven continued to hope that it would. The Philharmonic Society never ceased to interest itself in Beethoven’s music and it undoubtedly played an important part in the genesis of the Ninth Symphony, which in a sense it commissioned. The society’s archives contain an autograph of the first movement with a dedication by the composer. The first performance of the work, however, was given not in London but in Vienna, and the printed edition was dedicated to Frederick William III, king of Prussia. Beethoven, on his deathbed, received from the society a gift of £100, which moved him profoundly.

In 1815 all prospects of foreign travel were cut short for Beethoven by the death of his brother Caspar Anton Carl, who left a widow, Johanna, and a son, Karl, aged nine. The will, which appointed Beethoven and the widow as joint guardians, was contested by Beethoven on the grounds of the widow’s immorality; and after three years of litigation he won his case. But, for all the affection that he lavished on young Karl, Beethoven was far from being an ideal guardian. Quarrels between uncle and nephew were frequent and bitter and came to a head in 1826 when, just before sitting for his university examination, Karl attempted suicide. He recovered in a hospital, and Beethoven, on the advice of friends, agreed reluctantly that the boy should be launched on an army career. Once away from his uncle, Karl seems to have led a successful, law-abiding life. But the events of 1826 upset Beethoven profoundly and almost certainly hastened his death.

The important compositions of the final period begin with the modest but groundbreaking song cycle An die ferne Geliebte (“To the Distant Beloved”; this work may have been intended to commemorate his failed romance with the “Immortal Beloved”), the Two Sonatas for Piano and Cello, Opus 102, the Piano Sonata in A Major, Opus 101, and the Piano Sonata in B-flat Major, Opus 106, the latter known as the Hammerklavier. Beethoven then reverted to sketches he had begun for the Ninth Symphony. This was broken off when the news came that the archduke Rudolf was to be appointed archbishop of Olmütz, and Beethoven decided to write a large-scale solemn mass for the installation ceremony. Work on this progressed slowly, and, like the early cantata for Joseph II, it was not completed in time for the intended occasion. Not until 1823, three years after the enthronement, was Beethoven able to send to the new archbishop the completed manuscript of the Missa Solemnis.

In the meantime, Beethoven had written the three final piano sonatas (1820–22) and had worked desultorily on the symphonic sketches. The mass was followed by his last important piano work (completed 1823), variations on a theme that the publisher and composer Anton Diabelli had sent to a number of composers, Beethoven among them. Most of them, including Schubert and the archduke Rudolf himself, obliged; Beethoven at first declined, then changed his mind and decided to write a complete set of 33 variations himself.

The Ninth Symphony had begun to take shape; by the following year (1824) it was finished and was performed, together with movements from the Missa Solemnis and the overture from Opus 124, with great success at the Kärntnertor Theatre. The composer, who ostensibly supervised the symphony’s premiere, remained unaware of the applause until one of the soloists made him turn to face the audience. The Ninth Symphony was Beethoven’s last work for large-scale forces.

His final commission came in 1823 from Knyaz (prince) Nikolas Golitsyn, who offered 50 ducats each for three string quartets. Beethoven accepted with alacrity, though only in 1825 was the first of the three, the String Quartet in E-flat Major, Opus 127, completed. Not two but four more followed, including an extra movement, which was substituted for the original fugal finale (Grosse Fuge) of the String Quartet in B-flat Major, Opus 130. The last of these quartets, the String Quartet in C-sharp Minor, was finished in 1826, about the time of Karl’s attempted suicide; the greatest of these , Opus 131, was dedicated to Joseph, Freiherr (baron) von Stutterheim, the military officer who had, in a sense, taken Karl under his wing in the aftermath of that sad event.

Beethoven spent that summer on the estate belonging to his surviving brother, Nikolaus Johann. On his return to Vienna he contracted pneumonia, from which he never fully recovered. He remained bedridden and died from cirrhosis of the liver in Vienna on March 26, 1827. The funeral three days later was attended by 20,000 people. Pallbearers included the famous pianist Johann Nepomuk Hummel; Schubert was among the torchbearers; Franz Grillparzer, Austria’s greatest living dramatist, wrote the sometimes nationalistic funeral oration.

Death mask by Josef Danhauser
Copy of Ludwig van Beethoven's death mask. Original mask created by the artist Joseph Dannhauser on March 28, 1827, two days after Beethoven's death. "The master's appearance had changed greatly," wrote Ernst Benkard. The dying Beethoven was "more like a skeleton than a living man."


Reputation and influence

Beethoven’s achievement

Beethoven’s greatest achievement was to raise instrumental music, hitherto considered inferior to vocal, to the highest plane of art. During the 18th century, music, being fundamentally nonimitative, was ranked below literature and painting. Its highest manifestations were held to be those in which it served a text—that is, cantata, opera, and oratorio—the sonata and the suite being relegated to a lower sphere. A number of factors combined to bring about a gradual change of outlook: the instrumental prowess of the Mannheim Orchestra, which made possible the development of the symphony; the reaction on the part of writers against pure rationalism in favour of feeling; and the works of Haydn and Mozart. But, above all, it was the example of Beethoven that made possible the late-Romantic dictum of the English essayist and critic Walter Pater: “All arts aspire to the condition of music.”

After Beethoven it was no longer possible to speak of music merely as “the art of pleasing sounds.” His instrumental works combine a forceful intensity of feeling with a hitherto unimagined perfection of design. He carried to a further point of development than his predecessors all the inherited forms of music (with the exception of opera and song), but particularly the symphony and the quartet. In this he was the heir of Haydn rather than of Mozart, whose most striking achievements lie more in opera and concerto.

A bust by Hugo Hagen based upon Beethoven's life mask


Three periods of work

It was his biographer Wilhelm von Lenz who first divided Beethoven’s output into three periods, omitting the years of his apprenticeship in Bonn. The first period begins with the completion of the Three Trios for Piano, Violin, and Cello, Opus 1, in 1794, and ends about 1800, the year of the first public performance of the First Symphony and the Septet. The second period extends from 1801 to 1814, from the Piano Sonata in C-sharp Minor (Moonlight Sonata) to the Piano Sonata in E Minor, Opus 90. The last period runs from 1814 to 1827, the year of his death. Though the division is a useful one, it cannot be applied rigidly. A composition begun in one period may often have been completed in another, hence the existence of such transitional works as the Third Piano Concerto, which belongs partly to the first period and partly to the second. Again, the tide of Beethoven’s maturity advanced at a rate that varied according to his familiarity with the medium in which he happened to be writing. The piano was his home ground; therefore, it is in the piano sonatas that the middle-period characteristics first make their appearance, even before 1800. The mass, on the other hand, was unfamiliar territory, so that the Mass in C Major, written during the same period as the Fourth Piano Concerto and the Razumovsky string quartets, sounds in many ways like an early work.

The works of the first period, apart from the first two piano concerti, the Creatures of Prometheus, and the First Symphony (some accountings include the Second Symphony as a first-period work as well), consist almost entirely of chamber music, most of it based on Beethoven’s own instrument, the piano. All show a preoccupation with craftsmanship in the 18th-century manner. The material, for the most part, has a family likeness to that of Haydn and Mozart but, in keeping with the contemporary style, is slightly coarser and more blunt. Beethoven’s treatment of the forms in current use is usually expansive, schematically somewhat closer to Mozart than to Haydn; thus, the expositions are long and polythematic, while the developments are relatively short. Slow movements are long and lyrical with copious decoration. The third movement, though sometimes called a scherzo, remains true to its minuet origins, though its surface is often disturbed by un-minuet-like accents and its tempo is at times quite brisk. Finales are at once high-spirited and elegant. Two characteristics, however, mark Beethoven out strongly from other composers of the time: one is an individual use of contrasted dynamics and especially the device of crescendo leading to a sudden piano; the other, most noticeable in the piano sonatas, is the gradual infiltration of techniques derived from improvisation—unexpected accents, rhythmic ambiguities designed to keep the audience guessing, and especially the use of apparently trivial, almost senseless material from which to generate a cogent musical argument.


The second period may be said to begin in the piano music with two sonatas “quasi una fantasia,” Opus 27, of 1801, but in the symphony and concerto it is not fully apparent before the Eroica (1804) and the Fourth Piano Concerto (1806). Here the use of improvisatory material is more and more marked; but, whereas in the earlier period Beethoven was more concerned to show how it could fit naturally into a traditional 18th-century framework, here he explores in greater detail the logical implication of every departure from the norm. His harmony remains basically simple—much simpler, for instance, than much of Mozart’s. What is new is the way it is used in relation to the basic pulse. From this Beethoven creates in his main themes an infinite variety of stress and accent, out of which the form of each movement is generated. The result is that, of all composers, Beethoven is the least inclined to repeat himself; all his works, but especially those of the middle and late period, inhabit their own individual formal world. Other characteristics of the middle period include shorter expositions and longer developments and codas; slow movements too become much shorter, sometimes vanishing altogether. The third movement is now always a scherzo (although not always so named), not a minuet, with frequent use of unexpected accents and syncopation. Finales tend to take on much more weight than before and in certain cases become the principal movement. Decoration begins to disappear as each note becomes more functional, melodically and harmonically. Another feature of these works is their immediacy. Here Beethoven’s power is most evident; and the majority of the repertory works belong to this period.

The third period is marked by a growing concentration of musical thought combined with an increasingly wider range of harmony and texture. Beethoven’s enthusiasm for the work of George Frideric Handel began to bear fruit in a much more-thoroughgoing use of counterpoint, especially notable in his frequent recourse to fugue and fugal passages. But he never lost touch with the simplicity of his earliest manner, so that the range of expression and mood in these last works is something that has never been surpassed. Indeed, an interest in folklike material seems, as in the Ninth Symphony, to offer redemption to the growing complexities of his art, much as his beloved Schiller found an incipient nationalistic redemption in Arcadia. A form to which he gave increasingly more attention at this time was that of the variation. As an improviser, he had always found it congenial, and, though some of the sets he had published in earlier years are merely decorative, he had created such outstanding examples of the genre as the finale of the Eroica and the Prometheus variations, both on the same theme. It is this type of variation that Beethoven began to pursue in his final period. A unique feature of the sets that occur in his last string quartets and sonatas is the sense of cumulative growth, not merely from variation to variation but within each variation itself. In the quartets, everything in the composer’s musical equipment is deployed—fugue, variation, dance, sonata movement, march, even modal and pentatonic (five-tone) melody.


Structural innovations

Beethoven remains the supreme exponent of what may be called the architectonic use of tonality. In his greatest sonata movements, such as the first allegro of the Eroica, the listener’s subconscious mind remains oriented to E-flat major even in the most distant keys, so that when, long before the recapitulation, the music touches on the dominant (B-flat), this is immediately recognizable as being the dominant. Of his innovations in the symphony and quartet, the most notable is the replacement of the minuet by the more dynamic scherzo; he enriched both the orchestra and the quartet with a new range of sonority and variety of texture, and their forms are often greatly expanded. The same is true of the concerto, in which he introduced formal innovations that, though relatively few in number, would prove equally influential. In particular, the entry of a solo instrument before an orchestral ritornello in the Fourth and Fifth piano concerti (a device anticipated by Mozart but to quite different effect) reinforces the sense of the soloist as a protagonist, even a romantic hero, an effect later composers would struggle to reproduce.

Although, in the finale of the Ninth Symphony and the Missa Solemnis, Beethoven shows himself a master of choral effects, the solo human voice gave him difficulty to the end. His many songs form perhaps the least important part of his output, although his song cycle An die ferne Geliebte would prove an important influence on later composers, especially Robert Schumann. His one opera, Fidelio, owes its preeminence to the excellence of the music rather than to any real understanding of the operatic medium. But even this lack of vocal sense could be made to bear fruit, in that it set his mind free in other directions. A composer such as Mozart or Haydn, whose conception of melody remained rooted in what could be sung, could never have written anything like the opening of the Fifth Symphony, in which the melody takes shape from three instrumental strands each giving way to the other. Richard Wagner was not far wrong when he hailed Beethoven as the discoverer of instrumental melody, even if his claim was based more narrowly on Beethoven’s avoidance of cadential formulas.

Beethoven holds an important place in the history of the piano. In his day, the piano sonata was the most intimate form of chamber music that existed—far more so than the string quartet, which was often performed in public. For Beethoven, the piano sonata was the vehicle for his boldest and most-inward thoughts. He did not anticipate the technical devices of such later composers as Frédéric Chopin and Franz Liszt, which were designed to counteract the percussiveness of the piano, partly because he himself had a pianistic ability that could make the most simply laid-out melody sing; partly, too, because the piano itself was still in a fairly early stage of development; and partly because he himself valued its percussive quality and could turn it to good account. Piano tone, caused by a hammer’s striking a string, cannot move forward, as can the sustained, bowed tone of the violin, although careful phrasing on the player’s part can make it seem to do so. Beethoven, however, is almost alone in writing melodies that accept this limitation, melodies of utter stillness in which each chord is like a stone dropped into a calm pool. And it is above all in the piano sonata that the most striking use of improvisatory techniques as an element of construction is found. Among composers of the next generation, it was chiefly Liszt who extended Beethoven’s principle of transferring structural weight from the first movement to the finale, making it the basis of his symphonic poems as well as of his two concerti. Nearly all later composers of concerti had to reckon with the innovations of Beethoven’s Fourth and Fifth concerti.

The works of Beethoven that undoubtedly had the most influence over succeeding generations were the Fifth and Ninth symphonies, with their progression from storm and stress to triumph; the Sixth Symphony, too, greatly influenced composers with a programmatic bent. Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, Brahms’s Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Tchaikovsky’s Fourth and Fifth symphonies, César Franck’s Symphony in D Minor, and all of Mahler’s first four symphonies are striking examples of Beethoven’s spiritual progeny, though few will grant that they equal, let alone surpass, their model.

Julian Medforth Budden
Raymond L. Knapp

Encyclopædia Britannica


Beethoven Funerals
Orchestral Music

No. 1 in C Major, op. 21 (1800); No. 2 in D Major, op. 36 (1802); No. 3 in E-flat Major, op. 55 (Eroica; 1804); No. 4 in B-flat Major, op. 60 (1806); No. 5 in C Minor, op. 67 (1808); No. 6 in F Major, op. 68 (Pastoral; 1808); No. 7 in A Major, op. 92 (1812); No. 8 in F Major, op. 93 (1812); No. 9 in D Minor, op. 125 (Choral; 1824). Wellington’s Victory, op. 91 (also known as The Battle of Vitoria and the Battle Symphony; 1813).

(piano): “No. 1” in C Major, op. 15 (1798), “No. 2” in B-flat Major, op. 19 (in fact composed first 1795, revised 1798); No. 3 in C Minor, op. 37 (1803, perhaps earlier); No. 4 in G Major, op. 58 (1806); No. 5 in E-flat Major, op. 73 (Emperor; 1809). (violin): Violin Concerto in D Major, op. 61 (1806); Triple Concerto in C Major, op. 56 (violin, cello, piano; 1804).

Other Orchestral Compositions
Two romances for violin and orchestra; various overtures, including Coriolan, op. 62 (1807); Leonore No. 1, op. 138; 2, op. 72A; and 3, op. 72B; see also Theatre music.

Chamber Music
String Quartets

No. 1–6, op. 18 (1798–1800); No. 1–3, op. 59 (Razumovsky; 1806); op. 74 (Harp 1809); op. 95 (1810); and the late quartets (1824–26); op. 127, 130, 131, 132, 133 (Grosse Fuge, originally the finale to op. 130) and op. 135.

Other Chamber Works
Octet, op. 103 (winds; 1792); Septet (strings and wind; 1800); Sextet for Horns and String Quartet, op. 81B (1795); Quintet for Piano and Winds, op. 16 (1796); String Quintet in C Major, op. 29 (1801); 7 piano trios; 5 string trios; 10 sonatas for violin and piano, including Sonata in A Major (Kreutzer; 1803); 5 sonatas for cello and piano; sonata for horn and piano.

Piano Music
32 sonatas, including Sonata in C-sharp Minor, op. 27, no. 2 (Moonlight; 1801); and Sonata in F Minor, op. 57 (Appassionata; 1804); 3 sets of Bagatelles; 20 sets of variations; 4 rondos.

Vocal Music
Missa Solemnis (mass in D major; 1823); Mass in C Major, op. 86 (1807); Christus am Ölberg (oratorio 1803); various smaller works for chorus and orchestra including Choral Fantasia, op. 80 for piano, chorus, and orchestra (1808); songs, including the cycle An die ferne Geliebte, op. 98 (1816), and Goethe and Gellert settings; Scottish, Irish, and Welsh folk-song settings.

Theatre Music
One opera, Fidelio (1805; revised versions, 1806, 1814—the final version is the one usually heard today); one ballet, Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus (1801); incidental music to four plays; Egmont, op. 84 (1810), Die Ruinen von Athen, op. 113 (1811), König Stephan, op. 117 (1811), Die Weihe des Hauses, op. 124 (1822).



Beethoven was born in Bonn in Germany, the son of a singer in the service of die Elector of Cologne. His father was weak-spirited and drank excessively, but he recognized the boy's talent and was disappointed when the young Beethoven failed to emulate Mozart as a child prodigy. Nevertheless, Beethoven soon held positions as harpsichordist in the court theatre and assistant organist in the Electoral chapel, where he obtained his first lessons in composition from the court organist.

During his first visit to Vienna in 1787 Beethoven impressed Mozart with his improvisations at the keyboard. Before any formal tuition could take place, however, news that Beethoven's mother was dying took him back to Bonn. By the time he returned to Vienna in 1792, Mozart too was dead. He went instead to Haydn for composition lessons, but the two men were temperamental opposites, and the instruction he received from Johann Albrechtsberger proved more valuable.

Meanwhile, Beethoven's career as a pianist made a promising start. His passion and dynamism at the keyboard more than compensated for a lack of polish. He made his first appearance in Vienna in 1795 playing his Piano concerto Л'о. 2 m В flat, and was soon established as the city's leading pianist. Other compositions from the 1790s include piano sonatas, cello sonatas, and violin sonatas. The two forms that were to have special significance for Beethoven were still to come: he completed his first symphony in 1800 and his first set of string quartets in 1801. Beethoven was Vienna's first successful freelance musician: he never again held a court position after leaving Bonn. Instead he had wealthy aristocratic friends, patrons and perhaps lovers, to whom he dedicated his early compositions in return for payment. His success in such circles, despite notoriously awkward manners, an unpredictable temper, and a refusal to defer to superior social rank, can be attributed to his genius and personal magnetism. Beginning in 1798, Beethoven experienced a continual humming and whistling m his ears that gradually grew stronger, eventually prompting the agonizing realization that he was going deaf. In 1802, in a state of desperation in which he contemplated suicide, Beethoven retired to the secluded village of Heiligenstadt and addressed to his brothers a statement expressing his anguish. The ''Heiligenstadt Testament", as it is known, marks the start of a new period in Beethoven's output; the next ten years saw one of the most prodigious outpourings of masterpieces in the history of music. By 1812 he had completed Symphonies 2—8, Piano concertos 4 and 5, the Violin concerto, his opera Fidelio, the three Rasumovsky string quartets and a wealth of piano sonatas and other works.

Haydn and Mozart had demonstrated that melody alone, no matter how beautiful, could not hold an audience's attention for more than a minute or two and had mastered the principle of using harmonic tension to sustain large-scale structures. But Beethoven went further; with the first movement or the Eroica symphony (1803) he created a single span of uninterrupted music of unprecedented length. He also widened the scope of the piano sonata to symphonic proportions with his Waldstein sonata (1803) - dedicated to his old friend Count Waldstein — and even more with the Appassionata (1804—5). In this he introduces new dynamic extremes, shattering the thoughtful calm of the opening with sudden fortissimo chords. This music was revolutionary, and not only in technique. Beethoven's expanded forms broadened the scope for emotional expression, giving voice to the revolutionary spirit of the age. He was a passionate democrat and greatly admired the young Napoleon, whose name in fact originally appeared on the title page of the Eroica symphony. When Beethoven heard that Napoleon had declared himself Emperor, however, he tore the page out and substituted "In Memory of a Great Man."
What raises Beethoven's genius in music to the level of Shakespeare's in literature is his supreme master)' of musical form. He was able to create vast and complex musical structures stemming from the fundamental building blocks of music itself. For him a simple musical figure had manifold implications that could generate an entire symphony. So, for example, the opening four notes of his Fifth symphony (1807), supposedly depicting Fate knocking at the door, are especially portentous, since some derivation of them is heard in nearly every bar of the first movement.

After 1812 Beethoven's output dropped drastically. He became involved in a number of lawsuits, including one over royalties for his only truly programmatic and probably his worst published work - Wellington's victory. In 1820 he won custody of his nephew Karl, following the death in 1815 of Beethoven's brother. Although there is no doubting his good intentions and love for the boy the arrangement was not a success. Beethoven had never married and wanted to treat Karl as his own son, but deepening poverty and a frenetic resumption of composition meant that his nephew was neglected. The year before Beethoven's death the boy attempted suicide.

Beethoven began composing intensively again in 1817. Most of 1818 was taken up with his colossal Hammerklavier sonata, and the years until 1824 were divided between the last three Piano sonatas, the Diabelli variations, the Missa Solemnis -a Mass commissioned by Beethoven's patron Archduke Rudolph, delivered three years late owing to the complexities of its composition — and the Ninth symphony. This work, whose final movement is a triumphant setting of Schiller's Ode to joy, again broke new ground in terms of scale and introduced choral forces into the symphony for the first time. After the first performance Beethoven stood stone deaf on the stage, oblivious of everything, until one of the soloists turned him around to see the thunderous applause.

In his final years Beethoven turned once again to the string quartet. In 1 825 and 1826 he produced five works, at once profoundly complex and serene, for this intimate medium. He had become preoccupied with fugal techniques, just as in later life Bach had done, and the Grossc fuge — originally the finale to his Quartet in В flat - is one of the most extended and elaborate examples of the form.

These last works were far ahead of their time and still challenge scholars and listeners. Beethoven did not live to complete sketches he had made for further works. At his funeral in 1827 he was mourned by a huge crowd, including fellow artists and aristocratic friends. His tombstone bore a single word: "Beethoven."


Kaila Rochelle
Sonata No. 1 

Sonata No. 2

Stefano Micheletti
Sonata No. 3 in C major
Allegro con brio 
Allegro assai


Serg van Gennip
Sonata in f Op. 2, no. 1

M. McCarthy
Sonata no.5 in C minor op.10 no.1 

Molto allegro e con brio
Adagio molto

Sonata no.7 in D major op.10 no.3 
Largo e mesto
Menuetto, Allegro
Rondo, Allegro


Sonata No.8 "Patetique"
Adagio catabile

J. Lebenstedt
Sonata no.9 in E major Op.14 no.1

H. Shields
Sonata no.10 in G major Op.14 no.2 
Scherzo. Allegro assai

Richard Pohl
Sonata no.12 in A-flat major Op.26

Hotaik Sung
Sonata no.13 in Eb major Op.27 No.1 
Allegro molto vivace
Adagio con espressione - Allegro vivace

Sonata No. 14 "Moonlight"
Adagio sostenuto

Presto agitato


Christof Paal
Sonata No. 15  "Pastorale"

Serg van Gennip
Sonate  No.17 in D minor op. 31  "Tempest"

N. Morin-Paul
Sonata no.20 in G major Op.49 No.2 

Boris Giltburg
Sonata No. 21 

Allegro con brio
Introduzione (Adagio molto)
Rondo (Allegrett moderato - Prestissimo)

Serg van Gennip
Sonata  No.23 "Appassionata"

H. Underwood
Sonata no.25 in G major - Op.79
Presto alla tedesca

R. Pohl
Sonata no.27 in E minor - Op.90 
Mit Lebhaftigkeit und durchaus mit Empfindung und Ausdruck
Nicht zu geschwind und sehr singbar vorzutragen

J. Kingma
Sonata no.30 in E major - Op.109 
Vivace, ma no troppo
Gesangvoll, mit innigster Empfindung

J. Froschhammer
Sonata no.31 in A-flat major - Op.110 
Moderato cantabile, molto espressivo
Allegro molto
Adagio ma non troppo - Fuga

Sonata No. 32
Allegro molto
Arietta molto semplice e cantabile

Stefano Micheletti, Orchestra Sinfonica di Perugia, Giuliano Silveri - conductor
Concert no. 4 for piano and orchestra
Allegro Moderato 
Andante con moto 
Rondo vivace

Concert no. 5 for piano and orchestra "Emperor"
Allegro Alessio Benvenuti
Rondo (Allegro) Willem Mengelberg

Corey Cerovsek, violin, Paavali Jumppanen, piano 
Sonata No. 9 for violin with piano "Kreutzer"

Corey Cerovsek, violin
Violin Sonata No. 3

Corey Cerovsek, violin
Violin Sonata No. 4

Corey Cerovsek, violin
Violin Sonata No. 5 in F Major, Op. 24 "Spring"

Violin concerto in D major Op.61

Violin Romance in G major Op.40


Violin Romance in F major Op.40


Moonling Sonata in C sharp minor Op.27 No.2
Adagio sostenuto
Presto agitato


Waldstein Sonata in C minor Op.13
Allegro con brio
Adagio molto
Allegro moderato


Kaila Rochelle
Fur Elise


Serg van Gennip
Rondo in C Op. 51, no. 1


Symphony Nr. 3 in E flat major op. 55 "Eroica"


Symphony Nr. 4 in B flat major op. 60


Symphony Nr. 5 in c minor op. 67


Symphony Nr. 6 in F major op. 68 "Pastorale"


Symphony Nr. 7 in A major op. 92


Symphony Nr. 8 in F major op. 93


Symphony Nr. 9 in D minor op. 125
Choir finale of Friedrich Schiller's "An die Freude"


Overture op. 84 "Egmond"


Overture op. 62  "Coriolan"


The Best of Beethoven 1
1. Abertura "Egmont" op. 84
Sinfonia n. 6 em fá maior op. 68 "Pastoral"
2. Erwachen heiterer Empfindungen bei der Ankunft auf dem Lande
3. Szene am Bach (Andante molto mosso)
4. Lustiges Zusammensein der Landleute (Allegro)
5. Gewitter, Sturm (Allegro)
6. Hirtengesang: Frohe und dankbare Gefühle nach dem Sturm (Allegretto)
7. Allegro Ma Non Troppo-Un Poco Maestoso
8. Molto Vivace-Presto-Molto Vivace
9. Adagio Molto e Cantabile- Andante Moderato
10. Presto
11. Allegro Assai.Allegro Assai Vivace-Alla Marcia.Andante Maestoso-Allegro Energico-Prestissimo
The Best of Beethoven 2
1. Symphony No. 5 in C minor ('Fate') Op. 67: Allegro con brio
2. Ruins of Athens, incidental music, Op. 113: Turkish March
3. Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor ('Moonlight'), Op. 27/2: Adagio sostenuto
4. Bagatelle for piano in A minor ('Für Elise'), WoO 59
5. Symphony No. 9 in D minor ('Choral') Op. 125: Molto vivace
6. Symphony No. 9 in D minor ('Choral') Op. 125: Presto; Allegro assai
7. Symphony No. 3 in E flat major ('Eroica'), Op. 55: Allegro vivace
8. Fantasia for piano, chorus, and orchestra ('Choral Fantasy'), Op. 80: Conclusion
Symphony No. 1 in С major - 1801
Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21 (Composition Year 1799-1800), was dedicated to Baron Gottfried van Swieten, an early patron of the composer. The piece was published in 1801 by Hoffmeister & Kühnel of Leipzig. It is unknown exactly when Beethoven finished writing this work, but sketches of the finale were found from 1795.

Historical background
The symphony is clearly indebted to Beethoven's predecessors, particularly his teacher Joseph Haydn as well as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, but nonetheless has characteristics that mark it uniquely as Beethoven's work, notably the frequent use of sforzandi and the prominent, more independent use of wind instruments. Sketches for the finale are found among the exercises Beethoven wrote while studying counterpoint under Johann Georg Albrechtsberger in the spring of 1797.

The premiere took place on 2 April 1800 at the K.K. Hoftheater nächst der Burg in Vienna. The concert program also included his Septet and Piano Concerto No. 2, as well as a symphony by Mozart, and an aria and a duet from Haydn's oratorio The Creation. This concert effectively served to announce Beethoven's talents to Vienna.

The symphony is scored for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in C, 2 bassoons, 2 horns in C and F, 2 trumpets in C, timpani and strings.

The clarinet parts are commonly played on B♭ clarinet, as C and D clarinets are no longer widely used. However, there is some controversy over whether they should be played on E♭ instruments instead. The E♭ clarinet's timbre is much closer to that of the C and D clarinets than that of the warmer-sounding B♭ clarinet.

There are 4 movements:

Adagio molto – Allegro con brio, 4/4 – 2/2
Andante cantabile con moto, 3/8 in F major
Menuetto: Allegro molto e vivace, 3/4
Adagio – Allegro molto e vivace, 2/4
A typical performance lasts between 22 and 29 minutes.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Beethoven - Symphony No 1 in C major, Op 21 - Thielemann
Symphony No 1 in C major, Op 21

1 Adagio molto -- Allegro con brio
2 Andante cantabile con moto
3 Menuetto. Allegro molto e vivace
4 Adagio -- Allegro molto e vivace

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Christian Thielemann, conductor

Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36 - 1802
The Symphony No. 2 in D major (Op. 36) is a symphony in four movements written by Ludwig van Beethoven between 1801 and 1802. The work is dedicated to Karl Alois, Prince Lichnowsky.
Beethoven's Second Symphony was mostly written during Beethoven's stay at Heiligenstadt in 1802, at a time when his deafness was becoming more pronounced and he began to realize that it might be incurable. The work was premiered in the Theater an der Wien in Vienna on 5 April 1803, and was conducted by the composer. During that same concert, the Third Piano Concerto and the oratorio Christ on the Mount of Olives were also debuted. It is one of the last works of Beethoven's so-called "early period".

Beethoven wrote the Second Symphony without a standard minuet; instead, a scherzo took its place, giving the composition even greater scope and energy. The scherzo and the finale are filled with Beethovenian musical jokes, which shocked the sensibilities of many contemporary critics. One Viennese critic for the Zeitung fuer die elegante Welt (Newspaper for the Elegant World) famously wrote of the Symphony that it was "a hideously writhing, wounded dragon that refuses to die, but writhing in its last agonies and, in the fourth movement, bleeding to death."

The symphony is scored for two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets in A, two bassoons, two horns in D and E, two trumpets in D, timpani and strings. The composer also made a transcription of the entire symphony for piano trio which bears the same opus number.

This symphony consists of four movements:

Adagio molto, 3/4 – Allegro con brio, 4/4
Larghetto, 3/8 in A major
Scherzo: Allegro, 3/4
Allegro molto, 2/2
A typical performance runs 33 to 36 minutes.

First movement
The Introduction, Adagio molto, begins in D major, changing to B♭ major in measure 11. In measures 26–28, it briefly modulates to A major and immediately back to D. The exposition (Allegro con brio) begins in D major with the A theme lasting until measure 57. A transition towards the B theme lasts until measure 72, modulating to A minor at measure 61. The B theme begins in A major at 73, moving to A minor again at 113 with a codetta from measure 117–136 (moving to D major in measure 120). The development uses material from the A theme, going through several modulations throughout and making use of the main idea from Theme A in sequence. At measure 216, the A theme returns in the recapitulation, lasting until measure 228. There is a retransition from 229–244, bringing back the B theme at measure 245, this time in the tonic key. At 327, B♭ major returns briefly, moving back to D in 334 with a Coda from measures 340–360.

Second movement
This movement, Larghetto, is in the dominant key of A major and is one of Beethoven's longest symphonic slow movements. There are clear indications of the influence of folk music and the pastoral, presaging his Symphony No. 6 ("Pastoral").

Third movement
This movement, Scherzo: Allegro, encloses a melodious oboe and bassoon quartet within typical-sounding Austrian side-slapping dance.

Fourth movement
The fourth movement, Allegro molto, is composed of very rapid string passages. Musicologist Robert Greenberg of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music describes the highly unusual opening motif as a hiccup, belch or flatulence followed by a groan of pain. According to Greenberg:

Beethoven's gastric problems, particularly in times of great stress – like the fall of 1802 – were legendary. ... It has been understood almost since the day of its premiere that that is what this music is all about. Beethoven never refuted it; in fact, he must have encouraged it. Otherwise, how could such an interpretation become common coin? And common coin it is.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Beethoven - Symphony No. 2 (Proms 2012)
Beethoven - Symphony No. 2 in D major
1 - Adagio molto -- Allegro con brio
2 - Larghetto
3 - Scherzo: Allegro
4 - Allegro molto

West--Eastern Divan Orchestra
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Royal Albert Hall, 20 July 2012

Symphony No. 3 ("Eroica") - 1804
Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, Opus 55 (also Italian Sinfonia Eroica, Heroic Symphony) is a structurally rigorous composition of great emotional depth, which marked the beginning of the creative middle-period of the composer Beethoven Ludwig.

Beethoven began composing the third symphony soon after Symphony No. 2 in D major, Opus 36; he completed the composition in early 1804, and the first public performance of Symphony No. 3 was on 7 April 1805 in Vienna.


Symphony No. 3 is scored for two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets in B-flat, two bassoons, three horns (the 1st in E-flat, C, and F; the 2nd in E-flat and C; and the 3rd in E-flat), two trumpets in E-flat and C, timpani in E-flat and B-flat (in the 1st, 3rd, and 4th movements) and in C and G (in the 2nd movement), and strings.

The work is in four movements:

1. Allegro con brio (12 – 18 min.)
2. Marcia funebre: Adagio assai in C minor (14 – 18 min.)
3. Scherzo: Allegro vivace (5 – 6 min.)
4. Finale: Allegro molto (10 – 14 min.)
Depending upon the conductor's style, the performance time is between forty-one and fifty-six minutes.

First movement: Allegro con brio
The first movement, in 3/4 time, is in sonata form. The movement opens with two large E-flat major chords played, by the whole orchestra, thus firmly establishing the tonality of the movement. The first theme is introduced by the cellos, and, by the fifth bar of the melody, a chromatic note (C♯) is introduced, thus establishing the harmonic tension of the composition. The melody is finished by the first violins, with a syncopated series of Gs (which forms a tritone with C♯ of the cellos). After the first theme is played, by the various instruments, the movement transits to a calmer, second theme that leads to the development section.

Like the rest of the movement, the development is characterized by remarkable harmonic and rhythmic tension, from dissonant chords and long passages of syncopated rhythm. Most remarkable, Beethoven introduces a new theme in the development section, thus breaking with the tradition of classical composition – that the development section works only with existing material.

Thematically, the development section leads back to the recapitulation; notably, the horns appear to come in early with the tonic melody, while the strings continue playing the dominant chord; and concludes in a long coda that reintroduces the new theme first presented in the development section; the first movement is between 12 and 18 minutes long.

Second movement: Marcia Funebre – Adagio assai

The second movement is a funeral march in C minor with a trio in C major, and comprises multiple fugatos. Musically, the thematic solemnity of the second movement lends it use as a funeral march proper; the movement is between 14 and 18 minutes long.

Third movement: Allegro vivace
The third movement is a lively scherzo that features hunting calls from the three horns; it is between 5 and 6 minutes long.

Fourth movement: Allegro molto
The fourth movement is a set of variations on a theme, which Beethoven had used in earlier compositions; as the finale of the ballet The Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43 (1801); then as the theme of the Variations and Fugue for Piano in E♭ major, Op. 35 (1802), also called the Eroica Variations.

The theme of the fourth movement, and its bass line

The subtitle Eroica Variations of Opus 35 derives from the occurrence of the themes in the fourth movement of this symphony. In the symphony proper, the thematic variations are structured like the piano variations of Opus 35; the bass line of the theme first appears and then is subjected to a series of strophic variations that lead to the full appearance of the theme proper; the fourth movement is between 10 and 14 minutes long.

Dedication and premiere performance

Ludwig van Beethoven originally dedicated the third symphony to Napoleon Buonaparte, whom he believed embodied the democratic and anti-monarchical ideals (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity) of the French Revolution (1789–1799). In autumn of 1804, Beethoven withdrew his dedication of the third symphony to Napoleon, lest it cost the composer's fee paid him by a royal patron; so, Beethoven re-dedicated his third symphony to Prince Joseph Franz Maximilian Lobkowitz – nonetheless, despite such a bread-and-butter consideration, the politically idealistic Beethoven titled the work "Buonaparte". Later, about the composer's response to Napoleon having proclaimed himself Emperor of the French (14 May 1804), Beethoven's secretary, Ferdinand Ries said that:

In writing this symphony, Beethoven had been thinking of Buonaparte, but Buonaparte while he was First Consul. At that time Beethoven had the highest esteem for him, and compared him to the greatest consuls of Ancient Rome. Not only I, but many of Beethoven's closer friends, saw this symphony on his table, beautifully copied in manuscript, with the word "Buonaparte" inscribed at the very top of the title-page and "Ludwig van Beethoven" at the very bottom ...

I was the first to tell him the news that Buonaparte had declared himself Emperor, whereupon he broke into a rage and exclaimed, "So he is no more than a common mortal! Now, too, he will tread under foot all the rights of Man, indulge only his ambition; now he will think himself superior to all men, become a tyrant!" Beethoven went to the table, seized the top of the title-page, tore it in half and threw it on the floor. The page had to be recopied, and it was only now that the symphony received the title Sinfonia eroica.

An extant copy of the score bears two scratched-out, hand-written sub-titles; initially, the Italian phrase Intitolata Bonaparte ("Titled Bonaparte"), secondly, the German phrase Geschriben auf Bonaparte ("Written for Bonaparte"), four lines below the Italian sub-title. Three months after retracting his initial Napoleonic dedication of the symphony, the Beethoven informed his music publisher that "The title of the symphony is really Bonaparte". In 1806, the score was published under the Italian title Sinfonia Eroica ... composta per festeggiare il sovvenire di un grande Uomo ("Heroic Symphony, Composed to celebrate the memory of a great man").

When informed of the death of Napoleon (5 May 1821), Beethoven said, "I wrote the music for this sad event seventeen years ago", referring to the funereal second movement. Composed from the autumn of 1803 until the spring of 1804, the premiere performance of the third symphony was private – for Beethoven's royal patron, Prince Lobkowitz, at the castle Eisenberg (Jezeří) in Bohemia. The first public performance was on 7 April 1805, at the Theater an der Wien, Vienna; for which concert the announced (theoretical) key for the symphony was Dis (D-sharp major, 9 sharps).

Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, Op. 55 ("Eroica"):
The title page shows Beethoven's erasure of his
dedication of the work to Napoleon Bonaparte.


Horn-solo anecdote
During the initial rehearsal, in the first movement the solo horn entered with the main theme four bars before the true recapitulation; about which, Beethoven's secretary, Ferdinand Ries said that:

The first rehearsal of the symphony was terrible, but the hornist did, in fact, come in on cue. I was standing next to Beethoven and, believing that he had made a wrong entrance, I said, "That damned hornist! Can't he count? It sounds frightfully wrong." I believe I was in danger of getting my ears boxed. Beethoven did not forgive me for a long time.

Musical characteristics
The work is a milestone work of classical-style composition; it is twice as long as the symphonies of Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – the first movement is almost as long as a typical Classical symphony (with repetition of the exposition). Thematically, it covers more emotional ground than had Beethoven's earlier symphonies, and thus marks the beginning of the Romantic period in classical music.

The second movement especially displays a great emotional range, from the misery of the funeral march theme, to the relative solace of happier, major-key episodes. The finale displays a similar emotional range, and is given a thematic importance then unheard of. In earlier symphonies, the finale was a quick and breezy conclusion; here, the finale is a lengthy set of variations and fugue on a theme from Beethoven's music for the ballet The Creatures of Prometheus (1801).

Compositionally, the opening theme of Sinfonia Eroica resembles that of the overture to the comic opera Bastien und Bastienne (1768), composed by twelve-year-old W. A. Mozart. It was unlikely that Beethoven knew of that unpublished composition. A possible explanation is that Mozart and Beethoven each coincidentally heard and learned the theme from elswhere.

Critical opinion
In the Treatise on Instrumentation and Orchestration (1844, 1855), Hector Berlioz discussed Beethoven's orchestral use and applications of the horn and of the oboe in this symphony.
In Metamorphosen, Study for 23 Solo Strings (1945), Richard Strauss presents themes similar to the funeral march of the Sinfonia Eroica; near the conclusion of the Metamorphoses, the bass quotes the funeral march proper fom the Sinfonia Eroica. Academics speculate that Strauss's sub-title "In Memoriam" refers to Ludwig van Beethoven.
The music critic Harold C. Schonberg said that “Musical Vienna was divided on the merits of the Eroica. Some called it Beethoven's masterpiece. Others said that the work merely illustrated a striving for originality that did not come off.” Moreover, included to the same program of the concert featuring the Sinfonia Eroica, there was the premiere performance of a Symphony in E-flat major by Anton Eberl (1765–1807), that received better reviews than did Beethoven's symphony.
The critic J. W. N. Sullivan said that the first movement expresses Beethoven's courage in confronting deafness, the scond movement, slow and dirge-like, communicates his despair, the third movement, the scherzo, is an "indomitable uprising of creative energy", and the fourth movement is an exuberant outpouring of energy.
In the article, "Beethoven's Cry of Freedom" (2003), the Marxist critic Gareth Jenkins said that in the Sinfonia Eroica "Beethoven was doing for music what Napoleon was doing for society – turning tradition upside down", and so embodied the "sense of human potential and freedom" that first appeared during the French Revolution.
In the recording Eroica (1953) and in the book The Infinite Variety of Music (1966), the conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein said that the first and second movements are "perhaps the greatest two movements in all symphonic music".

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Beethoven - Symphony No. 3 - Eroica - (Proms 2012)
Beethoven - Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, 'Eroica'
1 - Allegro con brio
2 - Marcia funebre: Adagio assai
3 - Scherzo: Allegro vivace
4 - Finale: Allegro molto

West--Eastern Divan Orchestra
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Royal Albert Hall, 21 July 2012

L.v. Beethoven Symphony No.3 Op.55 in E flat major Eroica
I. Allegro con brio 0:00
II. Marcia funebre. Adagio assai 17:00
III. Scherzo. Allegro vivace -- Trio 32:17
IV. Finale. Allegro molto 38:26

New York Philharmonic Orchestra
Leonard Bernstein Conductor

Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major, Op. 60 - 1806
The Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major, Op. 60, is a symphony in four movements composed by Ludwig van Beethoven in the summer of 1806. It was premièred in March 1807 at a private concert of the home of Prince Franz Joseph von Lobkowitz.


The work was dedicated to Count Franz von Oppersdorff, a relative of Beethoven's patron, Prince Lichnowsky. The Count met Beethoven when he traveled to Lichnowsky's summer home where Beethoven was staying. Von Oppersdorff listened to Beethoven's Symphony No. 2 in D Major, and liked it so much that he offered a great amount of money for Beethoven to compose a new symphony for him. Beethoven undertook the new work during the summer of 1806 and completed it in roughly a month, while working on the Fourth Piano Concerto and revising his opera Fidelio, then still known as Leonore. The dedication was made to "the Silesian nobleman Count Franz von Oppersdorf". Hector Berlioz was so enamoured of the symphony's 2nd movement that he claimed it was the work of the Archangel Michael, and not that of a human.

The symphony is scored for flute, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in B-flat, 2 bassoons, 2 horns in B-flat and E-flat, 2 trumpets in B-flat and E-flat, timpani and strings.

The work is in four movements:

Adagio – Allegro vivace, 2/2
Adagio, 3/4 in E-flat major
Menuetto; Allegro vivace, 3/4
Allegro ma non troppo, 2/4
The work takes about 33 minutes to perform.

In general the symphony is sunny and cheerful, with light instrumentation in a manner that recalls the symphonies of Joseph Haydn, with whom Beethoven had studied a decade before. The Fourth Symphony contrasts with the swooping changes of Beethoven's composition style in the previous Third Symphony, and is often overshadowed by both its predecessor and following work, the celebrated Fifth Symphony which Beethoven had set aside to complete the Fourth. Despite being written in a style more akin to that of Beethoven's first two symphonies, the Fourth contains many aspects that show his growing strength as a composer, most notably the B-flat minor Adagio introduction to the first movement, which Leonard Bernstein described as a "mysterious introduction which hovers around minor modes, tip-toeing its tenuous weight through ambiguous unrelated keys [with reluctance] to settle down into its final B-flat major."

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Beethoven: Symphony No 4 in B flat major - BBC Proms 2012
Daniel Barenboim conducts the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra - Beethoven's Symphony No.4 in B flat, Op.60 - BBC PROMS 2012
Symphonies No. 5, Op. 67 - 1808
The Symphony No. 5 in C minor of Ludwig van Beethoven, Op. 67, was written in 1804–1808. It is one of the best-known compositions in classical music, and one of the most frequently played symphonies. First performed in Vienna's Theater an der Wien in 1808, the work achieved its prodigious reputation soon afterwards. E. T. A. Hoffmann described the symphony as "one of the most important works of the time".

It begins by stating a distinctive four-note "short-short-short-long" motif twice:

The symphony, and the four-note opening motif in particular, are well known worldwide, with the motif appearing frequently in popular culture, from disco to rock and roll, to appearances in film and television.

Since the Second World War it has sometimes been referred to as "The Victory Symphony". "V" is the Roman character for the number five; the phrase "V for Victory" became well known as a campaign of the Allies of World War II. That Beethoven's Victory Symphony happened to be his Fifth (or vice versa) is co-incidence. Some thirty years after this piece was written, the rhythm of the opening phrase – "dit-dit-dit-dah" – was used for the letter "V" in Morse Code, though this is probably also coincidental.

The BBC, during World War Two, prefaced its broadcasts to Europe with those four notes, played on drums.

The Fifth Symphony had a long gestation. The first sketches date from 1804 following the completion of the Third Symphony. However, Beethoven repeatedly interrupted his work on the Fifth to prepare other compositions, including the first version of Fidelio, the Appassionata piano sonata, the three Razumovsky string quartets, the Violin Concerto, the Fourth Piano Concerto, the Fourth Symphony, and the Mass in C. The final preparation of the Fifth Symphony, which took place in 1807–1808, was carried out in parallel with the Sixth Symphony, which premiered at the same concert.

Beethoven was in his mid-thirties during this time; his personal life was troubled by increasing deafness. In the world at large, the period was marked by the Napoleonic Wars, political turmoil in Austria, and the occupation of Vienna by Napoleon's troops in 1805.

The coversheet to Beethoven's 5th Symphony.
The dedication to Prince J. F. M. Lobkowitz
and Count Rasumovsky is visible.


The Fifth Symphony was premiered on 22 December 1808 at a mammoth concert at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna consisting entirely of Beethoven premieres, and directed by Beethoven himself. The concert lasted for more than four hours. The two symphonies appeared on the program in reverse order: the Sixth was played first, and the Fifth appeared in the second half. The program was as follows:

1.The Sixth Symphony
2.Aria: "Ah, perfido", Op. 65
3.The Gloria movement of the Mass in C major
4.The Fourth Piano Concerto (played by Beethoven himself)
6.The Fifth Symphony
7.The Sanctus and Benedictus movements of the C major Mass
8.A solo piano improvisation played by Beethoven
9.The Choral Fantasy

Beethoven dedicated the Fifth Symphony to two of his patrons, Prince Franz Joseph von Lobkowitz and Count Razumovsky. The dedication appeared in the first printed edition of April 1809.

Reception and influence
There was little critical response to the premiere performance, which took place under adverse conditions. The orchestra did not play well—with only one rehearsal before the concert—and at one point, following a mistake by one of the performers in the Choral Fantasy, Beethoven had to stop the music and start again. The auditorium was extremely cold and the audience was exhausted by the length of the program. However, a year and a half later, publication of the score resulted in a rapturous unsigned review (actually by E. T. A. Hoffmann) in the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung. He described the music with dramatic imagery:

Radiant beams shoot through this region's deep night, and we become aware of gigantic shadows which, rocking back and forth, close in on us and destroy everything within us except the pain of endless longing—a longing in which every pleasure that rose up in jubilant tones sinks and succumbs, and only through this pain, which, while consuming but not destroying love, hope, and joy, tries to burst our breasts with full-voiced harmonies of all the passions, we live on and are captivated beholders of the spirits.

Apart from the extravagant praise, Hoffmann devoted far the largest part of his review to a detailed analysis of the symphony, in order to show his readers the devices Beethoven used to arouse particular affects in the listener. In an essay titled "Beethoven's Instrumental Music", compiled from this 1810 review and another one from 1813 on the op. 70 string trios, published in three instalments in December 1813, E.T.A. Hoffmann further praised the "indescribably profound, magnificent symphony in C minor":

How this wonderful composition, in a climax that climbs on and on, leads the listener imperiously forward into the spirit world of the infinite!... No doubt the whole rushes like an ingenious rhapsody past many a man, but the soul of each thoughtful listener is assuredly stirred, deeply and intimately, by a feeling that is none other than that unutterable portentous longing, and until the final chord—indeed, even in the moments that follow it—he will be powerless to step out of that wondrous spirit realm where grief and joy embrace him in the form of sound....

The symphony soon acquired its status as a central item in the repertoire. It was played in the inaugural concerts of the New York Philharmonic on 7 December 1842, and the [US] National Symphony Orchestra on 2 November 1931. It was first recorded by the Odeon Orchestra under Friedrich Kark in 1910. The First Movement (as performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra) was featured on the Voyager Golden Record, a phonograph record containing a broad sample of the images, common sounds, languages, and music of Earth, sent into outer space with the two Voyager probes. Groundbreaking in terms of both its technical and its emotional impact, the Fifth has had a large influence on composers and music critics, and inspired work by such composers as Brahms, Tchaikovsky (his 4th Symphony in particular), Bruckner, Mahler, and Berlioz.

The symphony is scored for piccolo (fourth movement only), two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets in B flat and C, two bassoons, contrabassoon or double bassoon (fourth movement only), two horns in E flat and C, two trumpets, three trombones (alto, tenor, and bass, fourth movement only), timpani (in G-C) and strings.

A typical performance usually lasts around 30–40 minutes. The work is in four movements:

First movement: Allegro con brio
The first movement opens with the four-note motif discussed above, one of the most famous in western music. There is considerable debate among conductors as to the manner of playing the four opening bars. Some conductors take it in strict allegro tempo; others take the liberty of a weighty treatment, playing the motif in a much slower and more stately tempo; yet others take the motif molto ritardando (a pronounced slowing through each four-note phrase), arguing that the fermata over the fourth note justifies this. Some critics consider it crucial to convey the spirit of and-two-and one, as written, and consider the more common one-two-three-four to be misleading.

The first movement is in the traditional sonata form that Beethoven inherited from his classical predecessors, Haydn and Mozart (in which the main ideas that are introduced in the first few pages undergo elaborate development through many keys, with a dramatic return to the opening section—the recapitulation—about three-quarters of the way through). It starts out with two dramatic fortissimo phrases, the famous motif, commanding the listener's attention. Following the first four bars, Beethoven uses imitations and sequences to expand the theme, these pithy imitations tumbling over each other with such rhythmic regularity that they appear to form a single, flowing melody. Shortly after, a very short fortissimo bridge, played by the horns, takes place before a second theme is introduced. This second theme is in E flat major, the relative major, and it is more lyrical, written piano and featuring the four-note motif in the string accompaniment. The codetta is again based on the four-note motif. The development section follows, including the bridge. During the recapitulation, there is a brief solo passage for oboe in quasi-improvisatory style, and the movement ends with a massive coda.

Second movement: Andante con moto
The second movement, in A flat major, is a lyrical work in double variation form, which means that two themes are presented and varied in alternation. Following the variations there is a long coda.

The movement opens with an announcement of its theme, a melody in unison by violas and cellos, with accompaniment by the double basses. A second theme soon follows, with a harmony provided by clarinets, bassoons, and violins, with a triplet arpeggio in the violas and bass. A variation of the first theme reasserts itself. This is followed up by a third theme, thirty-second notes in the violas and cellos with a counterphrase running in the flute, oboe, and bassoon. Following an interlude, the whole orchestra participates in a fortissimo, leading to a series of crescendos and a coda to close the movement.

Third movement: Scherzo. Allegro
The third movement is in ternary form, consisting of a scherzo and trio. It follows the traditional mold of Classical-era symphonic third movements, containing in sequence the main scherzo, a contrasting trio section, a return of the scherzo, and a coda. However, while the usual Classical symphonies employed a minuet and trio as their third movement, Beethoven chose to use the newer scherzo and trio form.

The movement returns to the opening key of C minor and begins with the following theme, played by the cellos and double basses:

The opening theme is answered by a contrasting theme played by the winds, and this sequence is repeated. Then the horns loudly announce the main theme of the movement, and the music proceeds from there.

The trio section is in C major and is written in a contrapuntal texture. When the scherzo returns for the final time, it is performed by the strings pizzicato and very quietly.

"The scherzo offers contrasts that are somewhat similar to those of the slow movement in that they derive from extreme difference in character between scherzo and trio ... The Scherzo then contrasts this figure with the famous 'motto' (3 + 1) from the first movement, which gradually takes command of the whole movement."

Fourth movement: Allegro
The triumphant and exhilarating finale begins without interruption after the scherzo. It is written in an unusual variant of sonata form: at the end of the development section, the music halts on a dominant cadence, played fortissimo, and the music continues after a pause with a quiet reprise of the "horn theme" of the scherzo movement. The recapitulation is then introduced by a crescendo coming out of the last bars of the interpolated scherzo section, just as the same music was introduced at the opening of the movement. The interruption of the finale with material from the third "dance" movement was pioneered by Haydn, who had done the same in his Symphony No. 46 in B, from 1772. It is not known whether Beethoven was familiar with this work.

The Fifth Symphony finale includes a very long coda, in which the main themes of the movement are played in temporally compressed form. Towards the end the tempo is increased to presto. The symphony ends with 29 bars of C major chords, played fortissimo. In The Classical Style, Charles Rosen suggests that this ending reflects Beethoven's sense of Classical proportions: the "unbelievably long" pure C major cadence is needed "to ground the extreme tension of [this] immense work."

It was shown recently that this long chord sequence was a pattern that Beethoven borrowed from the Italian composer Luigi Cherubini, whom Beethoven “esteemed the most” among his contemporary musicians. Spending much of his life in France, Cherubini employed this pattern consistently to close his overtures, which Beethoven knew well. The ending of his famous symphony repeats almost note by note and pause by pause the conclusion of Cherubini’s overture to his opera Eliza, composed in 1794 and presented in Vienna in 1803.

The 19th century musicologist Gustav Nottebohm first pointed out that the third movement's theme has the same sequence of intervals as the opening theme of the final movement of Mozart's famous Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550. Here is Mozart's theme:

While such resemblances sometimes occur by accident, this is unlikely to be so in the present case. Nottebohm discovered the resemblance when he examined a sketchbook used by Beethoven in composing the Fifth Symphony: here, 29 measures of Mozart's finale appear, copied out by Beethoven.

Much has been written about the Fifth Symphony in books, scholarly articles, and program notes for live and recorded performances. This section summarizes some themes that commonly appear in this material.

Fate motif
The initial motif of the symphony has sometimes been credited with symbolic significance as a representation of Fate knocking at the door. This idea comes from Beethoven's secretary and factotum Anton Schindler, who wrote, many years after Beethoven's death:

The composer himself provided the key to these depths when one day, in this author's presence, he pointed to the beginning of the first movement and expressed in these words the fundamental idea of his work: "Thus Fate knocks at the door!"

Schindler's testimony concerning any point of Beethoven's life is disparaged by experts (he is believed to have forged entries in Beethoven's conversation books). Moreover, it is often commented that Schindler offered a highly romanticized view of the composer.

There is another tale concerning the same motif; the version given here is from Antony Hopkins' description of the symphony. Carl Czerny (Beethoven's pupil, who premiered the "Emperor" Concerto in Vienna) claimed that "the little pattern of notes had come to [Beethoven] from a yellow-hammer's song, heard as he walked in the Prater-park in Vienna." Hopkins further remarks that "given the choice between a yellow-hammer and Fate-at-the-door, the public has preferred the more dramatic myth, though Czerny's account is too unlikely to have been invented."

In his Omnibus television lecture series in 1954, Leonard Bernstein has likened the Fate Motif to the four note coda common to classical symphonies. These notes would terminate the classical symphony as a musical coda, but for Beethoven they become a motif repeating throughout the work for a very different and dramatic effect, he says.

Evaluations of these interpretations tend to be skeptical. "The popular legend that Beethoven intended this grand exordium of the symphony to suggest 'Fate Knocking at the gate' is apocryphal; Beethoven's pupil, Ferdinand Ries, was really author of this would-be poetic exegesis, which Beethoven received very sarcastically when Ries imparted it to him." Elizabeth Schwarm Glesner remarks that "Beethoven had been known to say nearly anything to relieve himself of questioning pests"; this might be taken to impugn both tales.

Beethoven's choice of key
The key of the Fifth Symphony, C minor, is commonly regarded as a special key for Beethoven, specifically a "stormy, heroic tonality". Beethoven wrote a number of works in C minor whose character is broadly similar to that of the Fifth Symphony. Writer Charles Rosen says,

Beethoven in C minor has come to symbolize his artistic character. In every case, it reveals Beethoven as Hero. C minor does not show Beethoven at his most subtle, but it does give him to us in his most extroverted form, where he seems to be most impatient of any compromise.

Repetition of the opening motif throughout the symphony
It is commonly asserted that the opening four-note rhythmic motif (short-short-short-long; see above) is repeated throughout the symphony, unifying it. "It is a rhythmic pattern (dit-dit-dit-dot*) that makes its appearance in each of the other three movements and thus contributes to the overall unity of the symphony" (Doug Briscoe); "a single motif that unifies the entire work" (Peter Gutmann); "the key motif of the entire symphony"; "the rhythm of the famous opening figure ... recurs at crucial points in later movements" (Richard Bratby). The New Grove encyclopedia cautiously endorses this view, reporting that "[t]he famous opening motif is to be heard in almost every bar of the first movement—and, allowing for modifications, in the other movements."

Use of La Folia

Folia is a dance form with a distinctive rhythm and harmony, which was used by many composers from the Renaissance well into the 19th and even 20th century, often in the context of a theme and variations. It was used by Beethoven in his Fifth Symphony in the harmony midway through the slow movement (bar 166–177). Although some recent sources mention that the fragment of the Folia theme in Beethoven's symphony was detected only in the 90s of the last century, Reed J. Hoyt analyzed some Folia-aspects in the oeuvre of Beethoven already in 1982 in his "Letter to the Editor", in the journal College Music Symposium 21, where he draws attention to the existence of complex archetypal patterns and their relationship.

Trombones and piccolos
While it is commonly stated that the last movement of Beethoven's Fifth is the first time the trombone and the piccolo were used in a concert symphony, it is not true. The Swedish composer Joachim Nicolas Eggert specified trombones for his Symphony in E-flat major written in 1807, and examples of earlier symphonies with a part for piccolo abound, including Michael Haydn's Symphony No. 19 in C major, composed in August 1773.

Textual questions
Third movement repeat

In the autograph score (that is, the original version from Beethoven's hand), the third movement contains a repeat mark: when the scherzo and trio sections have both been played through, the performers are directed to return to the very beginning and play these two sections again. Then comes a third rendering of the scherzo, this time notated differently for pizzicato strings and transitioning directly to the finale (see description above). Most modern printed editions of the score do not render this repeat mark; and indeed most performances of the symphony render the movement as ABA' (where A = scherzo, B = trio, and A' = modified scherzo), in contrast to the ABABA' of the autograph score.

The repeat mark in the autograph is unlikely to be simply an error on the composer's part. The ABABA' scheme for scherzi appears elsewhere in Beethoven, in the Bagatelle for solo piano, Op. 33, No. 7 (1802), and in the Fourth, Sixth, and Seventh Symphonies. However, it is possible that for the Fifth Symphony, Beethoven originally preferred ABABA', but changed his mind in the course of publication in favor of ABA'.

Since Beethoven's day, published editions of the symphony have always printed ABA'. However, in 1978 an edition specifying ABABA' was prepared by Peter Gülke and published by Peters. In 1999, yet another edition by Jonathan Del Mar was published by Bärenreiter which advocates a return to ABA'. In the accompanying book of commentary, Del Mar defends in depth the view that ABA' represents Beethoven's final intention; in other words, that conventional wisdom was right all along.

In concert performances, ABA' prevailed until fairly recent times. However, since the appearance of the Gülke edition conductors have felt more free to exercise their own choice. The conductor Caroline Brown, in notes to her recorded ABABA' performance with the Hanover Band (Nimbus Records, #5007), writes:

Re-establishing the repeat certainly alters the structural emphasis normally apparent in this Symphony. It makes the scherzo less of a transitional make-weight, and, by allowing the listener more time to become involved with the main thematic motif of the scherzo, the side-ways step into the bridge passage leading to the finale seems all the more unexpected and extraordinary in its intensity.

Performances with ABABA' seem to be particularly favored by conductors who specialize in authentic performance (that is, using instruments of the kind employed in Beethoven's day). These include Brown, as well as Christopher Hogwood, John Eliot Gardiner, and Nikolaus Harnoncourt. ABABA' performances on modern instruments have also been recorded by the New Philharmonia Orchestra under Pierre Boulez, the Tonhalle Orchester Zurich under David Zinman, and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Claudio Abbado.

Reassigning bassoon notes to the horns
In the first movement, the passage that introduces the second subject of the exposition is assigned by Beethoven as a solo to the pair of horns.

At this location, the theme is played in the key of E flat major. When the same theme is repeated later on in the recapitulation section, it is given in the key of C major. Antony Hopkins wrote, "this ... presented a problem to Beethoven, for the horns [of his day], severely limited in the notes they could actually play before the invention of valves, were unable to play the phrase in the 'new' key of C major—at least not without stopping the bell with the hand and thus muffling the tone. Beethoven therefore had to give the theme to a pair of bassoons, who, high in their compass, were bound to seem a less than adequate substitute. In modern performances the heroic implications of the original thought are regarded as more worthy of preservation than the secondary matter of scoring; the phrase is invariably played by horns, to whose mechanical abilities it can now safely be trusted."

In fact, even before Hopkins wrote this passage (1981), some conductors had experimented with preserving Beethoven's original scoring for bassoons. This can be heard on many performances including those conducted by Caroline Brown mentioned in the preceding section as well as in a recent recording by Simon Rattle with the Vienna Philharmonic. Although horns capable of playing the passage in C major were developed not long after the premiere of the Fifth Symphony (according to this source, 1814), it is not known whether Beethoven would have wanted to substitute modern horns, or keep the bassoons, in the crucial passage.

There are strong arguments in favor of keeping the original scoring even when modern valve horns are available. The structure of the movement posits a programatic alteration of light and darkness, represented by major and minor. Within this framework, the topically heroic transitional theme dispels the darkness of the minor first theme group and ushers in the major second theme group. However, in the development section, Beethoven systematically fragments and dismembers this heroic theme in bars 180–210. Thus he may have rescored its return in the recapitulation for a weaker sound to foreshadow the essential expositional closure in minor. Moreover, the horns used in the fourth movement are natural horns in C, which can easily play this passage. If the instruments were on stage, Beethoven could perhaps have written "muta in c" in the first movement, similar to his "muta in f" instruction in measure 412 of the first movement of Symphony No. 3. However, the horns (in E flat) are playing immediately prior to this, so such a change would be rendered difficult if not impossible due to lack of time.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Beethoven - Symphony No. 5 (Proms 2012)
Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67
1 - Allegro con brio
2 - Andante con moto
3 - Scherzo. Allegro
4 - Allegro

West--Eastern Divan Orchestra
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Royal Albert Hall, 23 July 2012

Symphonies No. 6 ("Pastoral"), Op. 68  - 1808
The Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68, also known as the Pastoral Symphony (German Pastoral-Sinfonie), is a symphony composed by Ludwig van Beethoven, and completed in 1808. One of Beethoven's few works containing explicitly programmatic content, the symphony was first performed in the Theater an der Wien on 22 December 1808 in a four hour concert.


Beethoven was a lover of nature who spent a great deal of his time on walks in the country. He frequently left Vienna to work in rural locations.

The first sketches of the Pastoral Symphony appeared in 1802. It was composed simultaneously with Beethoven's more famous—and more fiery—Fifth Symphony. Both symphonies were premiered in a long and under-rehearsed concert in the Theater an der Wien in Vienna on 22 December 1808.

The composer said that the Sixth Symphony is "more the expression of feeling than painting", a point underlined by the title of the first movement.

The symphony is scored for piccolo (fourth movement only), 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in B flat, 2 bassoons, 2 horns in F and B flat, 2 trumpets in C and E flat (third, fourth, and fifth movements only), 2 trombones (alto and tenor, fourth and fifth movements only), timpani (fourth movement only), and strings.

The symphony has five movements, rather than the four typical of symphonies of the Classical era. Beethoven annotated the beginning of each movement as follows:

1. Erwachen heiterer Empfindungen bei der Ankunft auf dem Lande (Awakening of cheerful feelings upon arrival in the countryside): Allegro ma non troppo
2. Szene am Bach (Scene by the brook):
Andante molto mosso
3. Lustiges Zusammensein der Landleute (Merry gathering of country folk): Allegro
4. Gewitter, Sturm (Thunder. Storm): Allegro
5. Hirtengesang. Frohe und dankbare Gefühle nach dem Sturm (Shepherd's song; cheerful and thankful feelings after the storm): Allegretto

The third movement ends on an imperfect cadence that leads straight into the fourth; the fourth movement leads straight into the fifth without a pause. A performance of the work lasts about 40 minutes.

Description of movements
Beethoven wrote a short descriptive note at the head of each movement.

I. Allegro ma non troppo
'Awakening of cheerful feelings on arrival in the countryside.'

The symphony begins with a placid and cheerful movement depicting the composer's feelings as he arrives in the country. The work is in sonata form, and its motifs are extensively developed. At several points Beethoven builds up orchestral texture by multiple repetitions of very short motifs. Yvonne Frindle commented, "the infinite repetition of pattern in nature [is] conveyed through rhythmic cells, its immensity through sustained pure harmonies."

The cadenza of bird calls in the second movement; the intended species are labeled in German.

II. Andante molto mosso
'Scene by the brook.'

This movement, titled by Beethoven "By the brook," is in 12/8 meter; the key is B flat major, the subdominant of the main key of the work. The movement is in sonata form.

At the opening the strings play a motif that clearly imitates flowing water. The cello section is divided, with just two players playing the flowing-water notes on muted instruments, with the remaining cellos playing mostly pizzicato notes together with the double basses.

Toward the end of the movement there is a cadenza for woodwind instruments that imitates bird calls. Beethoven helpfully identified the bird species in the score: nightingale (flute), quail (oboe), and cuckoo (two clarinets).

III. Allegro
'Merry gathering of country folk.'

This is a scherzo, which depicts country folk dancing and reveling. It is in F major, returning to the main key of the symphony.

The form of the movement is an altered version of the usual form for scherzi, in that the trio appears twice rather than just once, and the third appearance of the scherzo theme is truncated. Perhaps to accommodate this rather spacious arrangement, Beethoven did not mark the usual internal repeats of the scherzo and the trio. Theodor Adorno identifies this scherzo as the model for the scherzos by Anton Bruckner.

The final return of the theme conveys a riotous atmosphere with a faster tempo. The movement ends abruptly, leading without a pause into the fourth movement.

IV. Allegro
'Thunder. Storm.'

The fourth movement, in F minor, depicts a violent thunderstorm with painstaking realism, building from just a few drops of rain to a great climax with thunder, lightning, high winds, and sheets of rain. The storm eventually passes, with an occasional peal of thunder still heard in the distance. There is a seamless transition into the final movement. This movement parallels Mozart's procedure in his String Quintet in G minor K. 516 of (1787), which likewise prefaces a serene final movement with a long, emotionally stormy introduction.

V. Allegretto
'Shepherd's song. Happy and thankful feelings after the storm.'

The finale is in F major and is in 6/8 time. The movement is written in sonata rondo form, meaning that the main theme appears in the tonic key at the beginning of the development as well as the exposition and the recapitulation. Like many classical finales, this movement emphasizes a symmetrical eight-bar theme, in this case representing the shepherds' song of thanksgiving.

The coda starts quietly and gradually builds to an ecstatic culmination for the full orchestra (minus "storm instruments"), with the first violins playing very rapid triplet tremolo on a high F. There follows a fervent passage suggestive of prayer, marked by Beethoven "pianissimo, sotto voce"; most conductors slow the tempo for this passage. After a brief period of afterglow, the work ends with two emphatic F major chords.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Part of a sketch by Beethoven for his Symphony No. 6
Beethoven - Symphony No. 6 - Pastoral - (Proms 2012)
Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68 (Pastoral)
1 - Allegro ma non troppo
2 - Andante molto mosso
3 - Allegro
4 - Allegro
5 - Allegretto

West--Eastern Divan Orchestra
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Royal Albert Hall, 23 July 2012

Symphonies No. 7 (Op. 92) - 1812
The Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92, is a symphony in four movements composed by Ludwig van Beethoven between 1811 and 1812, while improving his health in the Bohemian spa town of Teplice. The work is dedicated to Count Moritz von Fries.
At its première, Beethoven was noted as remarking that it was one of his best works. The second movement, Allegretto, was the most popular movement and had to be encored. The instant popularity of the Allegretto resulted in its frequent performance separate from the complete symphony.
The work was premiered with Beethoven himself conducting in Vienna on 8 December 1813 at a charity concert for soldiers wounded in the Battle of Hanau. In Beethoven's address to the participants, the motives are openly named: "We are moved by nothing but pure patriotism and the joyful sacrifice of our powers for those who have sacrificed so much for us."

The program also included the patriotic work Wellington's Victory exalting the victory of the British over Napoleon's France. The orchestra was led by Beethoven's friend Ignaz Schuppanzigh and included some of the finest musicians of the day: violinist Louis Spohr, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Antonio Salieri, bassoonist Anton Romberg, and the Italian double bass virtuoso Domenico Dragonetti, whom Beethoven himself described as playing "with great fire and expressive power". It is also said that the Italian guitar virtuoso Mauro Giuliani played cello at the premiere.

The piece was very well received, and the second movement, the Allegretto, had to be encored immediately. Spohr made particular mention of Beethoven's antics on the rostrum ("as a sforzando occurred, he tore his arms with a great vehemence asunder ... at the entrance of a forte he jumped in the air"), and the concert was repeated due to its immense success.

The symphony is scored for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in A, 2 bassoons, 2 horns in A (E and D in the inner movements), 2 trumpets in D, timpani, and strings.

The Seventh Symphony is in four movements:

Poco sostenuto – Vivace
Presto – Assai meno presto (trio)
Allegro con brio

Performance time lasts approximately 40 minutes. The work as a whole is known for its use of rhythmic devices suggestive of a dance, such as dotted rhythm and repeated rhythmic figures. It is also tonally subtle, making use of the tensions between the key centres of A, C and F. For instance, the first movement is in A major but has repeated episodes in C major and F major. In addition, the second movement is in A minor with episodes in A major, and the third movement, a scherzo, is in F major.

First movement
The first movement starts with a long, expanded introduction marked Poco sostenuto that is noted for its long ascending scales and a cascading series of applied dominants that facilitates modulations to C major and F major. From the last episode in F major, the movement transitions to Vivace through a series of no fewer than sixty-one repetitions of the note E. The Vivace is in sonata form, and is dominated by lively dance-like rhythms (such as dotted rhythms), sudden dynamic changes, and abrupt modulations. In particular, the development section opens in C major and contains extensive episodes in F major. The movement finishes with a long coda, which starts similarly as the development section. The coda contains a famous twenty-bar passage consisting of a two-bar motif repeated ten times to the background a four octave deep Pedal point of an E. The critic and composer Carl Maria von Weber is said to have pronounced Beethoven "fit for a madhouse" after hearing this passage.

Second movement
The second movement in A minor has a tempo marking of Allegretto (a little lively), making it slow only in comparison to the other three movements. This movement was encored at the premiere and has remained popular since. The ostinato (repeated rhythmic figure) of a quarter note, two eighth notes and two quarter notes is heard repeatedly. This movement is structured in a double variation form. The movement begins with the main melody played by the violas and cellos. This melody is then played by the second violins while the violas and cellos play a second, but equally important melody, a melody described by George Grove as "a string of beauties hand-in-hand". Then, the first violins take the first melody while the second violins take the second. This progression culminates with the wind section playing the first melody while the first violin plays the second. After this climax, the music changes from A minor to A major as the clarinets take a calmer melody to the background of light triplets played by the violins. This section ends thirty-seven bars later with a quick descent of the strings on an A minor scale, and the first melody is resumed and elaborated upon in a strict fugato.

Third movement
The third movement is a scherzo in F major and trio in D major. Here, the trio (based on an Austrian pilgrims' hymn) is played twice rather than once. This expansion of the usual A–B–A structure of ternary form into A–B–A–B–A was quite common in other works of Beethoven of this period, such as his Fourth Symphony and String Quartet Op. 59 No. 2.

Fourth movement
The last movement is in sonata form, the coda of which contains an example, rare in Beethoven's music, of the dynamic marking ƒƒƒ (called forte fortissimo or fortississimo). Donald Tovey, writing in his Essays in Musical Analysis, commented on this movement's "Bacchic fury" and many other writers have commented on its whirling dance-energy: the main theme vaguely resembles Beethoven's arrangement of the Irish folk-song "Save me from the grave and wise", No. 8 of his Twelve Irish Folk Songs, WoO 154.

Critics and listeners have often felt stirred or inspired by the Seventh Symphony. For instance, one program-note author writes:

... the final movement zips along at an irrepressible pace that threatens to sweep the entire orchestra off its feet and around the theater, caught up in the sheer joy of performing one of the most perfect symphonies ever written.

Composer and music author Antony Hopkins says of the symphony:

The Seventh Symphony perhaps more than any of the others gives us a feeling of true spontaneity; the notes seem to fly off the page as we are borne along on a floodtide of inspired invention. Beethoven himself spoke of it fondly as "one of my best works". Who are we to dispute his judgment?

Another admirer, Richard Wagner, referring to the lively rhythms which permeate the work, called it the "apotheosis of the dance".

On the other hand, admiration for the work has not been universal. Friedrich Wieck, who was present during rehearsals, said that the consensus, among musicians and laymen alike, was that Beethoven must have composed the symphony in a drunken state. Carl Maria von Weber considered the chromatic bass line in the coda of the first movement evidence that Beethoven was "ripe for the madhouse", and the conductor Thomas Beecham commented on the third movement: "What can you do with it? It's like a lot of yaks jumping about."

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Beethoven: Symphony No.7 in A major - Christian Thielemann

i. Poco sostenuto -- Vivace
ii. Allegretto
iii. Presto -- Assai meno presto (trio)
iv. Allegro con brio

Wiener Philharmoniker
Christian Thielemann

Wiener Musikverein, 2010

Symphonies No. 8 (Op. 93) - 1812
The Symphony No. 8 in F Major, Op. 93 is a symphony in four movements composed by Ludwig van Beethoven in 1812. Beethoven fondly referred to it as "my little Symphony in F," distinguishing it from his Sixth Symphony, a longer work also in F.
The Eighth Symphony is generally light-hearted, though not lightweight, and in many places cheerfully loud, with many accented notes. Various passages in the symphony are heard by some listeners to be musical jokes. As with various other Beethoven works such as the Opus 27 piano sonatas, the symphony deviates from Classical tradition in making the last movement the weightiest of the four.

Composition and premiere

The work was begun in the summer of 1812, immediately after the completion of the Seventh Symphony. At the time Beethoven was 41 years old. As Antony Hopkins has noted, the cheerful mood of the work betrays nothing of the grossly unpleasant events that were taking place in Beethoven's life at the time, which involved his interference in his brother Johann's love life. The work took Beethoven only four months to complete, and is, unlike many of his works, without dedication.

The premiere took place on 27 February 1814, at a concert in the Redoutensaal, Vienna, at which the Seventh Symphony (which had been premiered two months earlier) was also played. Beethoven was growing increasingly deaf at the time, but nevertheless led the premiere. Reportedly, "the orchestra largely ignored his ungainly gestures and followed the principal violinist instead."

When asked by his pupil Carl Czerny why the Eighth was less popular than the Seventh, Beethoven is said to have replied, "because the Eighth is so much better." A critic wrote that "the applause it received was not accompanied by that enthusiasm which distinguishes a work which gives universal delight; in short—as the Italians say—it did not create a furor." Beethoven was angered at this reception. George Bernard Shaw, in his capacity as a music critic, agreed with Beethoven's assessment of the work, writing that indeed, "In all subtler respects the Eighth is better [than the Seventh]." But other critics have been divided in their judgement.

The symphony is scored for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in B-flat, 2 bassoons, 2 horns in F- and B-flat (bass), 2 trumpets in F, timpani and strings.

The Eighth Symphony consists of four movements:

Allegro vivace e con brio
Allegretto scherzando
Tempo di Menuetto
Allegro vivace

It is approximately 26 minutes in duration.

First movement
This movement is in the home key of F major and is in fast 3/4 time. As with most of Beethoven's first movements of this period, it is written in sonata form, including a fairly substantial coda. As Antony Hopkins has noted, the movement is slightly unusual among Beethoven's works in that it reaches its dramatic climax not during the development section, but at the onset of the recapitulation. To this end, the concluding bars of the development form a huge crescendo, and the return of the opening bars is marked ƒƒƒ (fortississimo), which rarely appears in Beethoven's works, but has precedents in the 6th and 7th Symphonies. This extravagance is balanced, however, by the quiet closing measures of the movement.

The opening theme is in three sections of four bars each, with the pattern forte-piano-forte. At the onset of the recapitulation, the theme is made more emphatic by omitting the middle four bars.

Second movement.
There is a widespread belief that this movement is an affectionate parody of the metronome, which had only recently been invented (or more accurately, merely improved) by Beethoven's friend Johann Maelzel. Specifically the belief was that the movement was based on a canon called "Ta ta ta... Lieber Maelzel," WoO 162, said to have been improvised at a dinner party in Maelzel's honor in 1812. There is no evidence corroborating this story and it's likely that WoO 162 was not written by Beethoven but was constructed after-the-fact by Anton Schindler. A more likely inspiration was the similar rhythmic parody of Joseph Haydn's "Clock" Symphony.

The metronome-like parody starts at the very beginning of the movement with even staccato chords in 16th notes (semiquavers) played by the wind instruments, and a basic 16th-note rhythm continues fairly steadily through the piece. The tempo is unusually fast for a symphonic "slow movement." Richard Wagner has argued that the third movement was intended as the slow movement of this symphony and that the second should be played as a scherzo.

The key is B-flat major, the subdominant of F, and the organization is what Charles Rosen has called "slow movement sonata form"; that is, at the end of the exposition there is no development section, but only a simple modulation back to B-flat for the recapitulation; this also may be described as sonatina form.

The second subject includes a motif of very rapid 64th notes, suggesting perhaps a rapidly unwinding spring in a not-quite-perfected metronome. This motif is played by the whole orchestra at the end of the coda.

Third movement
A nostalgic invocation of the old minuet, obsolete by the time this symphony was composed. (A similar nostalgic minuet appears in the Piano Sonata Opus 31 no. 3, from 1802). The style of Beethoven's minuet is not particularly close to its 18th century models, as it retains a rather coarse, thumping rhythm. Thus, for example, after the initial upbeat Beethoven places the dynamic indication sforzando (sf) on each of the next five beats. This makes the minuet stylistically close to the other movements of the symphony, which likewise rely often on good-humored, thumping accents.

Like most minuets, this one is written in ternary form, with a contrasting trio section containing prized solos for horns and clarinet. The clarinet solo is of significant importance in that it was the first major example of a solo clarinet playing a written G6. Igor Stravinsky praised the "incomparable instrumental thought" shown in Beethoven's orchestration of the trio section.

Fourth movement
This is the most substantial movement, in a very fast tempo. It is written in a version of sonata rondo form in which the opening material reappears in three places: the start of the development section, the start of the recapitulation, and about halfway through the coda. This is the first symphonic movement in which the timpani are tuned in octaves, foreshadowing the similar octave-F tuning in the scherzo of the Ninth Symphony.

The fourth movement imitates the first in that the move to the second subject first adopts the "wrong" key, then moves to the normal key (exposition: dominant, recapitulation: tonic) after a few measures.

The coda is one of the most substantial and elaborate in all of Beethoven's works. The coda has two particularly striking events. The harmonically out-of-place loud C♯ that interrupts the main theme in the exposition and recapitulation finally gets an "explanation": it turns out to be the root of the dominant chord of the remote key of F♯ minor, and the main theme is loudly played in this key. A few measures later, there is a stunning modulation in which this key is "hammered down" by a semitone, arriving instantaneously at the home key of F major.

The symphony ends in good humor on a very long passage of loud tonic harmony. Tchaikovsky called this movement, "One of the greatest symphonic masterpieces of Beethoven."

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Beethoven - Symphony No 8 in F major, Op 93 - Thielemann
Symphony No 8 in F major, Op 93

1 Allegro vivace e con brio
2 Allegretto scherzando
3 Tempo di Menuetto
4 Allegro vivace

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Christian Thielemann, conductor

Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 - 1824
The Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 (sometimes known simply as "the Choral"), is the final complete symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827). Completed in 1824, the symphony is one of the best-known works of the repertoire of classical music.] Among critics, it is almost universally considered to be Beethoven's greatest work, and is considered by many to be the greatest piece of music ever written.

The symphony was the first example of a major composer using voices in a symphony (thus making it a choral symphony). The words are sung during the final movement by four vocal soloists and a chorus. They were taken from the "Ode to Joy", a poem written by Friedrich Schiller in 1785 and revised in 1803, with additions made by the composer. Today, it stands as one of the most played symphonies in the world.

In 2001, Beethoven's autograph score of the Ninth Symphony, held by the Berlin State Library, was added to the United Nations World Heritage List, becoming the first musical score to be so honoured.


The Philharmonic Society of London originally commissioned the symphony in 1817. The main composition work was done between autumn 1822 and the completion of the autograph in February 1824.

The symphony emerged from other pieces by Beethoven that, while completed works in their own right, are also in some sense sketches for the future symphony. The Choral Fantasy Opus. 80 (1808), basically a piano concerto movement, brings in a chorus and vocal soloists near the end to form the climax. As in the Ninth Symphony, the vocal forces sing a theme first played instrumentally, and this theme is highly reminiscent of the corresponding theme in the Ninth Symphony (for a detailed comparison, see Choral Fantasy). Going further back, an earlier version of the Choral Fantasy theme is found in the song "Gegenliebe" ("Returned Love"), for piano and high voice, which dates from before 1795. According to Robert W. Gutman, Mozart's K. 222 Offertory in D minor, "Misericordias Domini", written in 1775, contains a melody that foreshadows "Ode to Joy".

Although his major works had primarily been premiered in Vienna, Beethoven was eager to have his latest composition performed in Berlin as soon as possible after finishing it, since he thought that musical taste in Vienna had become dominated by Italian composers such as Rossini. When his friends and financiers heard this, they urged him to premiere the symphony in Vienna in the form of a petition signed by a number of prominent Viennese music patrons and performers.

Beethoven was flattered by the adoration of Vienna, so the Ninth Symphony was premiered on 7 May 1824 in the Theater am Kärntnertor in Vienna, along with the overture The Consecration of the House (Die Weihe des Hauses) and three parts of the Missa solemnis (the Kyrie, Credo, and the Agnus Dei).

This was the composer's first on-stage appearance in 12 years; the hall was packed with an eager audience and a number of musicians.

The premiere of Symphony No. 9 involved the largest orchestra ever assembled by Beethoven and required the combined efforts of the Kärntnertor house orchestra, The Vienna Music Society (Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde), along with a select group of capable amateurs. While no complete list of premiere performers exists, many of Vienna's most elite performers are known to have participated.

The soprano and alto parts were interpreted by two famous young singers: Henriette Sontag and Caroline Unger. German soprano Henriette Sontag (1806–1854) was eighteen years old when Beethoven personally recruited her to perform in the premiere of the Ninth Symphony.

Also personally recruited by Beethoven, 21 year old contralto Caroline Unger (1803–1877), a native of Vienna, had gained critical praise in 1821 appearing in Rossini's Tancredi. After performing in Beethoven's 1824 premiere, Unger found fame in Italy and Paris. Italian composers Donizetti and Bellini were known to have written roles specifically for her voice.

Although the performance was officially directed by Michael Umlauf, the theatre's Kapellmeister, Beethoven shared the stage with him. However, two years earlier, Umlauf had watched as the composer's attempt to conduct a dress rehearsal of his opera Fidelio ended in disaster. So this time, he instructed the singers and musicians to ignore the almost totally deaf Beethoven. At the beginning of every part, Beethoven, who sat by the stage, gave the tempos. He was turning the pages of his score and beating time for an orchestra he could not hear.

There are a number of anecdotes about the premiere of the Ninth. Based on the testimony of the participants, there are suggestions that it was under-rehearsed (there were only two full rehearsals) and rather scrappy in execution. On the other hand, the premiere was a great success. In any case, Beethoven was not to blame, as violinist Joseph Böhm recalled: "Beethoven directed the piece himself; that is, he stood before the lectern and gesticulated furiously. At times he rose, at other times he shrank to the ground, he moved as if he wanted to play all the instruments himself and sing for the whole chorus. All the musicians minded his rhythm alone while playing".

When the audience applauded—testimonies differ over whether at the end of the scherzo or the whole symphony—Beethoven was several measures off and still conducting. Because of that, the contralto Caroline Unger walked over and turned Beethoven around to accept the audience's cheers and applause. According to one witness, "the public received the musical hero with the utmost respect and sympathy, listened to his wonderful, gigantic creations with the most absorbed attention and broke out in jubilant applause, often during sections, and repeatedly at the end of them." The whole audience acclaimed him through standing ovations five times; there were handkerchiefs in the air, hats, raised hands, so that Beethoven, who could not hear the applause, could at least see the ovation gestures.

The first German edition was printed by B. Schott's Söhne (Mainz) in 1826. The Breitkopf & Härtel edition dating from 1864 has been used widely by orchestras. In 1997 Bärenreiter published an edition by Jonathan Del Mar. According to Del Mar, this edition corrects nearly 3,000 mistakes in the Breitkopf edition, some of which were "remarkable". David Levy, however, criticized this edition, saying that it could create "quite possibly false" traditions. Breitkopf also published a new edition by Peter Hauschild in 2005.

While many of the modifications in the newer editions make minor alterations to dynamics and articulation, both editions change the orchestral lead-in to the final statement of the choral theme in the fourth movement (IV: m525 m542). The newer versions alter the articulation of the horn calls, creating syncopation that no longer relates to the previous motive. The new Breitkopf & Härtel and Bärenreiter make this alteration differently, but the result is a reading that is different from what was commonly accepted based on the 1864 Breitkopf edition. While both Breitkopf & Härtel and Bärenreiter consider their editions the most accurate versions available—labeling them Urtext editions—their conclusions are not universally accepted. In his monograph "Beethoven—the ninth symphony", David Levy describes the rationale for these changes and the danger of calling the editions Urtext.

The symphony is scored for the following orchestra. These are by far the largest forces needed for any Beethoven symphony; at the premiere, Beethoven augmented them further by assigning two players to each wind part.


Piccolo (fourth movement only)
2 Flutes
2 Oboes
2 Clarinets in A, B-flat and C
2 Bassoons
Contrabassoon (fourth movement only)

2 Horns (1 and 2) in D and B-flat
2 Horns (3 and 4) in B-flat (bass), B-flat and E-flat
2 Trumpets in D and B-flat
3 Trombones (alto, tenor, and bass; second and fourth movements only)

Bass drum (fourth movement only)
Triangle (fourth movement only)
Cymbals (fourth movement only)
Voices (fourth movement only)

Soprano solo
Alto solo
Tenor solo
Baritone solo
SATB Choir (Tenor briefly divides)

Violins I, II
Double basses


The symphony is in four movements, marked as follows:

Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso

Scherzo: Molto vivace – Presto

Adagio molto e cantabile – Andante moderato – Tempo primo – Andante moderato – Adagio – Lo stesso tempo

Recitative: (Presto – Allegro ma non troppo – Vivace – Adagio cantabile – Allegro assai – Presto: O Freunde) – Allegro molto assai: Freude, schöner Götterfunken – Alla marcia – Allegro assai vivace: Froh, wie seine Sonnen – Andante maestoso: Seid umschlungen, Millionen! – Adagio ma non troppo, ma divoto: Ihr, stürzt nieder – Allegro energico, sempre ben marcato: (Freude, schöner Götterfunken – Seid umschlungen, Millionen!) – Allegro ma non tanto: Freude, Tochter aus Elysium! – Prestissimo, Maestoso, Molto prestissimo: Seid umschlungen, Millionen!

Beethoven changes the usual pattern of Classical symphonies in placing the scherzo movement before the slow movement (in symphonies, slow movements are usually placed before scherzo).[citation needed] This was the first time that he did this in a symphony, although he had done so in some previous works (including the quartets Op. 18 no. 5, the "Archduke" piano trio Op. 97, the Hammerklavier piano sonata Op. 106). Haydn, too, had used this arrangement in a number of his own works such as the String Quartet No. 30 in E-flat major.

First movement
Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso. Duration approx. 15 mins.

The first movement is in sonata form, and the mood is often stormy. The opening theme, played pianissimo over string tremolos, so much resembles the sound of an orchestra tuning, many commentators have suggested that was Beethoven's inspiration. But from within that musical limbo emerges a theme of power and clarity which will drive the entire movement. Later, at the outset of the recapitulation section, it returns fortissimo in D major, rather than the opening's D minor. The introduction also employs the use of the mediant to tonic relationship which further distorts the tonic key until it is finally played by the bassoon in the lowest possible register.

The coda employs the chromatic fourth interval.

Second movement
Scherzo: Molto vivace – Presto. Duration approx. 12 mins.

The second movement, a scherzo and trio, is also in D minor, with the introduction bearing a passing resemblance to the opening theme of the first movement, a pattern also found in the Hammerklavier piano sonata, written a few years earlier. At times during the piece, Beethoven directs that the beat should be one downbeat every three beats, perhaps because of the very fast pace of the movement, with the direction ritmo di tre battute ("rhythm of three beats"), and one beat every four bars with the direction ritmo di quattro battute ("rhythm of four beats").

Beethoven had been criticised before for failing to adhere to standard form for his compositions. He used this movement to answer his critics. Normally, scherzi are written in triple time. Beethoven wrote this piece in triple time, but it is punctuated in a way that, when coupled with the speed of the metre, makes it sound as though it is in quadruple time.

While adhering to the standard ternary design of a dance movement (scherzo-trio-scherzo, or minuet-trio-minuet), the scherzo section has an elaborate internal structure; it is a complete sonata form. Within this sonata form, the first group of the exposition starts out with a fugue before modulating to C major for the second part of the exposition. The exposition is then repeated before a short development section. The recapitulation further develops the exposition, also containing timpani solos. A new development section is played before the recapitulation is repeated, and the scherzo concludes with a brief codetta.

The contrasting trio section is in D major and in duple time. The trio is the first time the trombones play in the movement. Following the trio, the second occurrence of the scherzo, unlike the first, plays through without any repetition, after which there is a brief reprise of the trio, and the movement ends with an abrupt coda.

Third movement
Adagio molto e cantabile – Andante Moderato – Tempo Primo – Andante Moderato – Adagio – Lo Stesso Tempo. Duration approx. 16 mins.

The lyrical slow movement, in B-flat major, is in a loose variation form, with each pair of variations progressively elaborating the rhythm and melody. The first variation, like the theme, is in 4/4 time, the second in 12/8. The variations are separated by passages in 3/4, the first in D major, the second in G major. The final variation is twice interrupted by episodes in which loud fanfares for the full orchestra are answered by octaves played by the first violins alone. A prominent horn solo is assigned to the fourth player. Trombones are tacet for the movement.

Fourth movement
Presto; Allegro molto assai (Alla marcia); Andante maestoso; Allegro energico, sempre ben marcato. Duration approx. 24 mins.

The famous choral finale is Beethoven's musical representation of Universal Brotherhood. American pianist and music author Charles Rosen has characterized it as a symphony within a symphony, played without interruption. This "inner symphony" follows the same overall pattern as the Ninth Symphony as a whole. The scheme is as follows:

First "movement": theme and variations with slow introduction. Main theme which first appears in the cellos and basses is later "recapitulated" with voices.
Second "movement": 6/8 scherzo in military style (begins at "Alla marcia", words "Froh, wie seine Sonnen fliegen"), in the "Turkish style". Concludes with 6/8 variation of the main theme with chorus.
Third "movement": slow meditation with a new theme on the text "Seid umschlungen, Millionen!" (begins at "Andante maestoso")
Fourth "movement": fugato finale on the themes of the first and third "movements" (begins at "Allegro energico")
The movement has a thematic unity, in which every part may be shown to be based on either the main theme, the "Seid umschlungen" theme, or some combination of the two.

The first "movement within a movement" itself is organized into sections:

An introduction, which starts with a stormy Presto passage. It then briefly quotes all three of the previous movements in order, each dismissed by the cellos and basses which then play in an instrumental foreshadowing of the vocal recitative. At the introduction of the main theme, the cellos and basses take it up and play it through.
The main theme forms the basis of a series of variations for orchestra alone.
The introduction is then repeated from the Presto passage, this time with the bass soloist singing the recitatives previously suggested by cellos and basses.
The main theme again undergoes variations, this time for vocal soloists and chorus.

Text of the fourth movement

The text is largely taken from Schiller's "Ode to Joy", with a few additional introductory words written specifically by Beethoven (shown in italics). The text without repeats is shown below, with a translation into English. The score includes many repeats. For the full libretto including all repetitions see German Wikisource.

O Freunde, nicht diese Töne!
Sondern lasst uns angenehmere anstimmen,
und freudenvollere.
Oh friends, not these sounds!
Let us instead strike up more pleasing
and more joyful ones!
Freude, schöner Götterfunken
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!
Deine Zauber binden wieder
Was die Mode streng geteilt;
Alle Menschen werden Brüder,
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.
Joy, beautiful spark of divinity,
Daughter from Elysium,
We enter, burning with fervour,
heavenly being, your sanctuary!
Your magic brings together
what fashion has sternly divided.
All men shall become brothers,
wherever your gentle wings hover.
Wem der große Wurf gelungen,
Eines Freundes Freund zu sein;
Wer ein holdes Weib errungen,
Mische seinen Jubel ein!
Ja, wer auch nur eine Seele
Sein nennt auf dem Erdenrund!
Und wer's nie gekonnt, der stehle
Weinend sich aus diesem Bund!
Whoever has been lucky enough
to become a friend to a friend,
Whoever has found a beloved wife,
let him join our songs of praise!
Yes, and anyone who can call one soul
his own on this earth!
Any who cannot, let them slink away
from this gathering in tears!
Freude trinken alle Wesen
An den Brüsten der Natur;
Alle Guten, alle Bösen
Folgen ihrer Rosenspur.
Küsse gab sie uns und Reben,
Einen Freund, geprüft im Tod;
Wollust ward dem Wurm gegeben,
Und der Cherub steht vor Gott.
Every creature drinks in joy
at nature's breast;
Good and Bad alike
follow her trail of roses.
She gives us kisses and wine,
a true friend, even in death;
Even the worm was given desire,
and the cherub stands before God.
Froh, wie seine Sonnen fliegen
Durch des Himmels prächt'gen Plan,
Laufet, Brüder, eure Bahn,
Freudig, wie ein Held zum Siegen.
Gladly, just as His suns hurtle
through the glorious universe,
So you, brothers, should run your course,
joyfully, like a conquering hero.
Seid umschlungen, Millionen!
Diesen Kuss der ganzen Welt!
Brüder, über'm Sternenzelt
Muss ein lieber Vater wohnen.
Ihr stürzt nieder, Millionen?
Ahnest du den Schöpfer, Welt?
Such' ihn über'm Sternenzelt!
Über Sternen muss er wohnen.
Be embraced, you millions!
This kiss is for the whole world!
Brothers, above the canopy of stars
must dwell a loving father.
Do you bow down before Him, you millions?
Do you sense your Creator, o world?
Seek Him above the canopy of stars!
He must dwell beyond the stars.


Towards the end of the movement, the choir sings the last four lines of the main theme, concluding with "Alle Menschen", before the soloists sing for one last time the song of joy at a slower tempo. The chorus repeats parts of "Seid umschlungen, Millionen! ...", then quietly sings, "Tochter aus Elysium". And finally, "Freude, schöner Götterfunken, Götterfunken!".

Among music critics, the Ninth Symphony is almost universally considered to be among Beethoven's greatest works, and is considered by some to be the greatest piece of music ever written. "Yet early critics rejected it as cryptic and eccentric, the product of a deaf and aging composer." The finale of the Ninth has had detractors. Giuseppe Verdi complained about the vocal writing; in a letter he wrote to Clarina Maffei dated 20 April 1878, he stated that the symphony was:

...marvelous in its first three movements, very badly set in the last. No one will ever surpass the sublimity of the first movement, but it will be an easy task to write as badly for voices as is done in the last movement.

Gustav Leonhardt objected to the text itself, saying: "That 'Ode to Joy', talk about vulgarity! And the text! Completely puerile!"

Performance challenges
Metronome markings

Conductors in the historically informed performance movement, notably Roger Norrington, have used Beethoven's suggested tempos, to mixed reviews. Benjamin Zander has made a case for following Beethoven's metronome markings, both in writing and in performances with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestra of London.

Beethoven's metronome still exists, and it has been tested and found to be accurate.

Re-orchestrations and alterations
A number of conductors have made alterations in the instrumentation of the symphony, notably Richard Wagner, who doubled many woodwind passages, a modification greatly extended by Gustav Mahler, who revised the orchestration of the Ninth to make it sound like what he believed Beethoven would have wanted if given a modern orchestra.

Wagner's Dresden performance of 1864 was the first to place the chorus and the solo singers behind the orchestra as has since become standard; previous conductors placed them between the orchestra and the audience.

Horn and trumpet alterations
Beethoven's writing for horns and trumpets throughout the symphony (mostly the 2nd horn and 2nd trumpet) is sometimes altered by performers to avoid large leaps (those of a 12th or more), as leaps of this sort are very difficult to perform on brass instruments and may be consistently and flawlessly executed only by highly proficient musicians.

2nd bassoon doubling basses in the finale
Beethoven's indication that the 2nd bassoon should double the basses in measures 115–164 of the finale was not included in the Breitkopf parts, though it was included in the full score.

Notable performances and recordings
The London Philharmonic Choir debuted on 15 May 1947 performing the Ninth Symphony with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Victor de Sabata at the Royal Albert Hall.

In 1951 Wilhelm Furtwängler and the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra reopened the Bayreuth Festival with a performance of the symphony, after the Allies temporarily suspended the Festival following the Second World War.

Political significance has attached to Beethoven's Ninth: Leonard Bernstein conducted a version of the 9th at the Brandenburg Gate, with "Freiheit" ("Freedom") replacing "Freude" ("Joy"), to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall during Christmas 1989. This concert was performed by an orchestra and chorus made up of many nationalities: from Germany, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the Chorus of the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, and members of the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, the Philharmonischer Kinderchor Dresden; members of the orchestra of the Kirov Theatre; from the United Kingdom, members of the London Symphony Orchestra; from the USA, members of the New York Philharmonic; and from France, members of the Orchestre de Paris. Soloists were June Anderson, soprano, Sarah Walker, mezzo-soprano, Klaus König, tenor, and Jan-Hendrik Rootering, bass. It was the last time that Bernstein conducted the symphony; he died ten months later.

Bernstein made his first recording of the Beethoven Ninth in 1964 with the New York Philharmonic, for Columbia Masterworks, with soloists Martina Arroyo (soprano), Regina Safarty (mezzo), Nicholas di Virgilio (tenor), Norman Scott (bass), and the Juilliard Chorus. It was later reissued on CD. It was the first of three complete recordings of the Ninth that Bernstein made. He made his second recording of the piece with the Vienna Philharmonic for Deutsche Grammophon, in 1979. This second one featured Gwyneth Jones (soprano), Hanna Schwarz (mezzo), René Kollo, and Kurt Moll (bass), with the chorus of the Vienna State Opera.

Sir Georg Solti recorded the symphony with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Symphony Chorus on two occasions: first in 1972 with soloists Pilar Lorengar, Yvonne Minton, Stuart Burrows, and Martti Talvela; and again in 1986 with soloists Jessye Norman, Reinhild Runkel, Robert Schunk, and Hans Sotin. On both occasions, the chorus was prepared by Margaret Hillis. The second recording won the 1987 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance.

There have been various attempts to record the Ninth to come closer to what Beethoven's contemporaries would have heard, i.e., with period instruments. Roger Norrington conducting the London Classical Players recorded it with period instruments for a 1987 release by EMI Records (rereleased in 1997 under the Virgin Classics label). Benjamin Zander made a 1992 recording of the Ninth with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and noted soprano Dominique Labelle (who first performed the work with Robert Shaw), following Beethoven's own metronome markings. 12 years later after Norrington, Philippe Herreweghe recorded the Ninth with his period-instrument Orchestre des Champs-Élysées and his Collegium Vocale chorus for Harmonia Mundi in 1999. Sir John Eliot Gardiner recorded his period-instrument version of the Ninth Symphony, conducting his Monteverdi Choir and Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique in 1992. It was first released by Deutsche Grammophon in 1994 on their early music Archiv Produktion label as part of his complete cycle of the Beethoven symphonies. His soloists included Ľuba Orgonášová, Anne Sofie von Otter, Anthony Rolfe Johnson and Gilles Cachemaille. An additional period-instrument recording by Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music was released in 1997 under the label Éditions de l'Oiseau-Lyre.

At 79 minutes, one of the longest Ninths recorded is Karl Böhm's, conducting the Vienna Philharmonic in 1981 with Jessye Norman and Plácido Domingo among the soloists.

Osmo Vänskä, conducting the Minnesota Orchestra, recorded the symphony as part of a cycle of all the Beethoven symphonies. Released on the BIS label, it included soloists Helena Juntunen, Katarina Karnéus, Daniel Norman and Neal Davies, as well as the Minnesota Chorale. It received a positive critical reception, including a Grammy Award nomination in the Best Orchestral Performance category.

Many later composers of the Romantic period and beyond were influenced specifically by Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

An important theme in the finale of Johannes Brahms' Symphony No. 1 in C minor is related to the "Ode to Joy" theme from the last movement of Beethoven's Ninth symphony. When this was pointed out to Brahms, he is reputed to have retorted "Any fool can see that!" Brahms's first symphony was, at times, both praised and derided as "Beethoven's Tenth".

The Ninth Symphony influenced the forms that Bruckner used for the movements of his symphonies. Bruckner's Symphony No. 3 is in the same D minor key as Beethoven's 9th and makes substantial use of thematic ideas from it. The colossal slow movement of Bruckner's Symphony No. 7, "as usual", takes the same A–B–A–B–A form as the 3rd movement of Beethoven's symphony, and also uses some figuration from it.

In the opening notes of the third movement of his Symphony No. 9 (The "New World"), Antonín Dvořák pays homage to the scherzo of this symphony with his falling fourths and timpani strokes.

Likewise, Béla Bartók borrows the opening motif of the Scherzo from Beethoven's Ninth symphony to introduce the second movement Scherzo in his own, Four Orchestral Pieces, op. 12.

One legend is that the compact disc was deliberately designed to have a 74-minute playing time in order to accommodate the length of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Kees Immink, Philips' chief engineer, who developed the CD, recalls that a commercial tug-of-war between the development partners, Sony and Philips, led to a settlement in a neutral 12-cm diameter format. The 1951 performance of the Ninth Symphony by Furtwängler was brought forward as the perfect excuse for the change. A Philips news release on August 16, 2007, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Compact Disc, mentioned the parties—Philips and Sony—extended the Compact Disc capacity to 74 minutes to accommodate a complete performance of Beethoven's 9th Symphony.

Use as anthem
During the division of Germany in the Cold War, the "Ode to Joy" segment of the symphony was also played in lieu of an anthem at the Olympic Games for the Unified Team of Germany between 1956 and 1968. In 1972, the musical backing (without the words) was adopted as the Anthem of Europe by the Council of Europe and subsequently by the European Communities (now the European Union) in 1985. The "Ode to Joy" was used as the national anthem of Rhodesia between 1974 and 1979, as "Rise, O Voices of Rhodesia".

Use as a hymn melody
In 1907, the Presbyterian pastor Henry van Dyke wrote the hymn "Joyful, Joyful, we adore thee" while staying at Williams College. The hymn is commonly sung in English-language churches to the "Ode to Joy" melody from this symphony.

New Year's tradition in Japan
The Symphony No. 9, with accompanying chorus, is traditionally performed throughout Japan during its New Year's celebrations. In December 2009, for example, there were 55 performances of the symphony by various major orchestras and choirs in Japan.

The Ninth was introduced to Japan by German soldiers held at the Bandō prisoner-of-war camp during World War I. Japanese orchestras, notably the NHK Symphony Orchestra, began performing the symphony in 1925. During World War II, the Imperial government promoted performances of the symphony, including on New Year's Eve, to encourage allegiance to Japanese nationalism. The symphony was considered appropriate in this regard because Germany was an ally of Japan. After the war, orchestras and choruses, undergoing economic hard times during the reconstruction of Japan, promoted performances of the piece around New Year because of the popularity of the music with the public. In the 1960s, performances of the symphony for the New Year became more widespread and included participation by local choirs and orchestras, establishing the tradition which continues to this day – and which includes, since 2003, a concert of all nine symphonies.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Beethoven - Symphony No. 9 (Proms 2012)
Symphony No. 9, 'Choral'
Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125
1 - Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso
2 - Scherzo: Molto vivace -- Presto
3 - Adagio molto e cantabile -- Andante moderato -- Tempo primo -- Andante moderato -- Adagio -- Lo stesso tempo
4 - Recitative: (Presto -- Allegro ma non troppo -- Vivace -- Adagio cantabile -- Allegro assai -- Presto: O Freunde) -- Allegro molto assai: Freude, schöner Götterfunken -- Alla marcia -- Allegro assai vivace: Froh, wie seine Sonnen -- Andante maestoso: Seid umschlungen, Millionen! -- Adagio ma non troppo, ma divoto: Ihr, stürzt nieder -- Allegro energico, sempre ben marcato: (Freude, schöner Götterfunken -- Seid umschlungen, Millionen!) -- Allegro ma non tanto: Freude, Tochter aus Elysium! -- Prestissimo, Maestoso, Molto Prestissimo: Seid umschlungen, Millionen!

Anna Samuil soprano
Waltraud Meier mezzo-soprano
Michael König tenor
René Pape bass
National Youth Choir of Great Britain
West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Royal Albert Hall, 27 July 2012

Beethoven Symphony No 9 D minor Carlo Maria Giulini Orchestra Rai
Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No 9 D minor
Ode to Joy Ode an die Freude Ode à la joie Inno alla Gioia Oda a la alegría
Carlo Maria Giulini conducts Orchestra Rai
1.Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso 0:00
2.Scherzo 18:20
3.Adagio molto e cantabile 31:37
4.Presto -- Allegro ma non troppo -- Vivace -- Adagio cantabile -- Allegro assai 47:11
5.O Freunde -- Ode to Joy 54:24
Beethoven - Complete Piano Sonatas (Maria Grinberg)
Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 2, No. 1

00:00:00 ➢ Allegro
00:03:30 ➢ Adagio
00:07:33 ➢ Menuetto - Allegretto
00:10:16 ➢ Prestissimo

Sonata No. 2 in A major, Op. 2, No. 2

00:14:45 ➢ Allegro vivace
00:22:37 ➢ Largo appassionato
00:29:18 ➢ Scherzo: Allegretto
00:32:32 ➢ Rondo: Grazioso

Sonata No. 3 in C major, Op. 2, No. 3

00:38:58 ➢ Allegro con brio
00:47:14 ➢ Adagio
00:56:06 ➢ Scherzo
00:59:32 ➢ Allegro assai

Sonata No. 4 in E-flat major, Op. 7

01:05:05 ➢ Allegro molto e con brio
01:13:14 ➢ Largo, con gran espressione
01:20:57 ➢ Allegro
01:26:09 ➢ Rondo: Poco allegretto e grazioso

Sonata No. 5 in C minor, Op. 10, No. 1

01:33:07 ➢ Allegro molto e con brio
01:39:04 ➢ Adagio molto
01:45:38 ➢ Prestissimo

Sonata No. 6 in F major, Op. 10, No. 2

01:49:52 ➢ Allegro
01:55:32 ➢ Allegretto
01:59:52 ➢ Presto

Sonata No. 7 in D major, Op. 10, No. 3

02:04:17 ➢ Presto
02:11:22 ➢ Largo e mesto
02:20:21 ➢ Menuetto: Allegro
02:23:13 ➢ Rondo: Allegro

Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13, 'Pathétique'

02:27:20 ➢ Grave - Allegro di molto e con brio
02:35:37 ➢ Adagio cantabile
02:40:26 ➢ Rondo: Allegro

Sonata No. 9 in E major, Op. 14, No. 1

02:44:38 ➢ Allegro
02:51:16 ➢ Allegretto
02:57:00 ➢ Rondo - Allegro comodo

Sonata No. 10 in G major, Op. 14, No. 2

02:59:39 ➢ Allegro
03:06:09 ➢ Andante variations
03:10:31 ➢ Scherzo: Allegro assai

Sonata No. 11 in B-flat major, Op. 22

03:14:00 ➢ Allegro con brio
03:22:13 ➢ Adagio con molto espressione
03:31:11 ➢ Menuetto
03:34:22 ➢ Rondo: Allegretto

Sonata No. 12 in A-flat major, Op. 26

03:40:10 ➢ Andante con variazioni
03:48:31 ➢ Scherzo, allegro molto
03:51:00 ➢ Maestoso andante
03:56:45 ➢ Allegro

Sonata No. 13 in E-flat major, Op. 27, No. 1, 'Quasi una fantasia'

03:59:14 ➢ Andante - Allegro - Andante
04:04:01 ➢ Allegro molto e vivace
04:05:52 ➢ Adagio con espressione
04:08:45 ➢ Allegro vivace

Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2, 'Moonlight'

04:14:40 ➢ Adagio sostenuto
04:20:24 ➢ Allegretto
04:22:18 ➢ Presto agitato

Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28, 'Pastorale'

04:30:25 ➢ Allegro
04:40:33 ➢ Andante
04:49:52 ➢ Scherzo: Allegro vivace
04:52:00 ➢ Rondo: Allegro ma non troppo

Sonata No. 16 in G major, Op. 31, No. 1

04:56:45 ➢ Allegro vivace
05:03:33 ➢ Adagio grazioso
05:14:34 ➢ Rondo, allegretto - presto

Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31, No. 2, 'The Tempest'

05:21:00 ➢ Largo - Allegro
05:29:22 ➢ Adagio
05:36:34 ➢ Allegretto

Sonata No. 18 in E-flat major, Op. 31, No. 3, 'The Hunt'

05:43:15 ➢ Allegro
05:51:28 ➢ Scherzo. Allegretto vivace
05:56:10 ➢ Menuetto. Moderato e grazioso
06:00:33 ➢ Presto con fuoco

Sonata No. 19 in G minor, Op. 49, No. 1

06:04:58 ➢ Andante
06:11:01 ➢ Rondo: Allegro

Sonata No. 20 in G major, Op. 49, No. 2

06:14:35 ➢ Allegro ma non troppo
06:19:08 ➢ Tempo di Menuetto

Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op. 53, 'Waldstein'

06:22:42 ➢ Allegro con brio
06:33:59 ➢ Introduzione: Adagio molto - attacca
06:38:30 ➢ Rondo. Allegretto moderato - Prestissimo

Sonata No. 22 in F major, Op. 54

06:47:37 ➢ In tempo d'un menuetto
06:53:10 ➢ Allegretto

Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57, 'Appassionata'

06:58:42 ➢ Allegro assai
07:08:59 ➢ Andante con moto
07:14:59 ➢ Allegro ma non troppo - Presto

Sonata No. 24 in F-sharp major, Op. 78, 'À Thérèse'

07:20:27 ➢ Adagio cantabile - Allegro ma non troppo
07:26:50 ➢ Allegro vivace

Sonata No. 25 in G major, Op. 79

07:29:35 ➢ Presto alla tedesca
07:34:20 ➢ Andante
07:36:40 ➢ Vivace

Sonata No. 26 in E-flat major, Op. 81a, 'Les Adieux'

07:38:38 ➢ Les Adieux: Adagio - Allegro
07:45:43 ➢ L'Absence: Andante espressivo
07:49:25 ➢ Le Retour: Vivacissimamente

Sonata No. 27 in E minor, Op. 90

07:55:20 ➢ Mit Lebhaftigkeit und durchaus mit Empfindung und Ausdruck (With liveliness and

with feeling and expression throughout)
08:00:58 ➢ Nicht zu geschwind und sehr singbar vorgetragen (Not too swiftly and conveyed in

a singing manner)

Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101

08:07:32 ➢ Allegretto, ma non troppo
08:11:12 ➢ Vivace alla marcia
08:16:52 ➢ Adagio, ma non troppo, con affetto
08:20:04 ➢ Allegro

Sonata No. 29 in B-flat major, Op. 106, 'Hammerklavier'

08:27:12 ➢ Allegro
08:38:14 ➢ Scherzo: Assai vivace
08:41:11 ➢ Adagio sostenuto
08:58:03 ➢ Introduzione: Largo - Fuga: Allegro risoluto

Sonata No. 30 in E major, Op. 109

09:10:40 ➢ Vivace ma non troppo - Adagio espressivo
09:13:54 ➢ Prestissimo
09:16:25 ➢ Andante molto cantabile ed espressivo

Sonata No. 31 in A-flat major, Op. 110

09:27:50 ➢ Moderato cantabile molto espressivo
09:34:44 ➢ Allegro molto
09:36:35 ➢ Adagio, ma non troppo — Fuga : Allegro, ma non troppo

Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111

09:48:24 ➢ Maestoso - Allegro con brio ed appassionato
09:57:46 ➢ Arietta: Adagio molto, semplice e cantabile

Beethoven - Complete Piano Concertos (Artur Schnabel)
Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15

0:00:00 ➢ Allegro con brio
0:17:00 ➢ Largo
0:29:28 ➢ Rondo. Allegro scherzando

Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 19

0:38:16 ➢ Allegro con brio
0:51:43 ➢ Adagio
1:00:58 ➢ Rondo. Molto allegro

Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37

1:06:38 ➢ Allegro con brio:
1:21:42 ➢ Largo
1:32:28 ➢ Rondo. Allegro

Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58

1:40:34 ➢ Allegro moderato
1:58:08 ➢ Andante con moto in E minor
2:02:58 ➢ Rondo (Vivace)

Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73

2:12:12 ➢ Allegro
2:31:17 ➢ Adagio un poco mosso
2:39:25 ➢ Rondo: Allegro ma non troppo

Artur Schnabel
Malcolm Sargent
London Philharmonic Orchestra
London Symphony Orchestra


Beethoven - Complete Piano Concertos (Vladimir Ashkenazy)
Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15

0:00:00 ➢ Allegro con brio
14:15 ➢ Largo
26:01 ➢ Rondo. Allegro scherzando

Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 19

35:05 ➢ Allegro con brio
48:44 ➢ Adagio
58:48 ➢ Rondo. Molto allegro

Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37

1:05:22 ➢ Allegro con brio
1:22:48 ➢ Largo
1:33:12 ➢ Rondo. Allegro

Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58

1:42:38 ➢ Allegro moderato
2:02:29 ➢ Andante con moto in E minor
2:07:49 ➢ Rondo (Vivace)

Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73

2:17:50 ➢ Allegro
2:38:59 ➢ Adagio un poco mosso
2:47:07 ➢ Rondo: Allegro ma non troppo

Vladimir Ashkenazy (pianist & conductor)
The Cleveland Orchestra

Beethoven - Complete Violin Sonatas (Maria João Pires & Augustin Dumay)
Published on Aug 11, 2012
Violin Sonata No. 1 in D major, Op. 12, No. 1

00:00 ➢ Allegro con brio
08:43 ➢ Tema con variazioni: Andante con moto
15:40 ➢ Rondo: Allegro

Violin Sonata No. 2 in A major, Op. 12, No. 2

20:32 ➢ Allegro vivace
27:13 ➢ Andante, più tosto allegretto
32:29 ➢ Allegro piacevole

Violin Sonata No. 3 in E-flat major, Op. 12, No. 3

37:32 ➢ Allegro con spirito
45:57 ➢ Adagio con molta espressione
52:25 ➢ Rondo: Allegro molto

Violin Sonata No. 4 in A minor, Op. 23

00:57:00 ➢ Presto
01:04:14 ➢ Andante scherzoso, più allegretto
01:11:53 ➢ Allegro molto

Violin Sonata No. 5 in F major, Op. 24 ("Spring Sonata")

01:17:20 ➢ Allegro
01:27:06 ➢ Adagio molto espressivo
01:33:19 ➢ Scherzo: Allegro molto
01:34:32 ➢ Rondo: Allegro ma non troppo

Violin Sonata No. 6 in A major, Op. 30, No. 1

01:41:12 ➢ Allegro
01:48:35 ➢ Adagio molto espressivo
01:55:10 ➢ Allegretto con variazioni

Violin Sonata No. 7 in C minor, Op. 30, No. 2

02:03:52 ➢ Allegro con brio
02:11:23 ➢ Adagio cantabile
02:20:22 ➢ Scherzo: Allegro
02:23:45 ➢ Finale: Allegro; Presto

Violin Sonata No. 8 in G major, Op. 30, No. 3

02:28:54 ➢ Allegro assai
02:34:52 ➢ Tempo di minuetto, ma molto moderato e grazioso
02:42:40 ➢ Allegro vivace

Violin Sonata No. 9 in A major, Op. 47 ("Kreutzer Sonata")

02:46:13 ➢ Adagio sostenuto - Presto - Adagio
03:00:42 ➢ Andante con variazioni
03:16:06 ➢ Presto

Violin Sonata No. 10 in G major, Op. 96

03:24:40 ➢ Allegro moderato
03:34:56 ➢ Adagio espressivo
03:40:56 ➢ Scherzo: Allegro
03:43:02 ➢ Poco allegretto

Beethoven - Complete String Quartets
16 String Quartets
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)
Ensemble: Quartetto Italiano

0:00 String Quartet op. 18 n. 1
28:30 String Quartet op. 18 n. 2
54:04 String Quartet op. 18 n. 3
1:20:32 String Quartet op. 18 n. 4
1:45:58 String Quartet op. 18 n. 5
2:15:46 String Quartet op. 18 n. 6
2:43:26 String Quartet op. 59 n. 1
3:23:58 String Quartet op. 59 n. 2
4:02:48 String Quartet op. 59 n. 3
4:35:00 String Quartet op. 74
5:07:45 String Quartet op. 95
5:28:18 String Quartet op. 127
6:06:34 String Quartet op. 130
6:49:44 Grosse Fugue op. 133
7:08:36 String Quartet op. 131
7:51:01 String Quartet op. 132
8:38:10 String Quartet op. 135

Piano Trios, Op. 1 - 1795
Ludwig van Beethoven's Opus 1 is a set of three piano trios (written for piano, violin, and violoncello), first performed in 1793 in the house of Prince Lichnowsky, to whom they are dedicated. The trios were published in 1795.

Despite the Op. 1 designation these were not Beethoven's first published compositions; this distinction belongs to his Dressler Variations for keyboard (WoO 63).

Op. 1 No. 1 - Piano Trio No. 1 in E-flat major
Allegro (E flat major)
Adagio cantabile (A flat major)
Scherzo. Allegro assai (E flat major, with a trio in A flat major)
Finale. Presto (E flat major)

Op. 1 No. 2 - Piano Trio No. 2 in G major
Adagio - Allegro vivace (G major)
Largo con espressione (E major)
Scherzo. Allegro (G major, with a trio in B minor)
Finale. Presto (G major)

Op. 1 No. 3 - Piano Trio No. 3 in C minor
Allegro con brio (C minor)
Andante cantabile con Variazioni (E flat major)
Minuetto. Quasi allegro (C minor, with a trio in C major)
Finale. Prestissimo (C minor)

This 3rd piano trio was later reworked by Beethoven into the C minor string quintet, Op. 104.[2]

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Beethoven Piano Trio Op.1 No.1, Tibor Szász, Daniel Foster, Jeffrey Butler, 1980 Nov. 17, USA
Ludwig van Beethoven Piano Trio Op.1 No.1 in E-flat major, Tibor Szász piano, Daniel Foster violin, Jeffrey Butler cello, 1980 November 17, USA

I. Allegro
II. Adagio cantabile
III. Scherzo. Allegro assai
IV. Finale. Presto

Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Trio Op. 1, No. 2 in G Major: I. Adagio-allegro vivace
Beethoven - Piano Trio in C Minor Opus 1, No 3
Stuttgart Piano Trio

Allegro con brio 0:09
Andante cantabile con Variozioni 9:49
Minuetto - Quasi allegro 17:26
Finale - Prestissimo 21:04

Piano Sonata 14 - "Moonlight Sonata" - 1801

Miniature from Beethoven's belongings,
possibly Julie Guicciardi
The Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor "Quasi una fantasia", Op. 27, No. 2, popularly known as the Moonlight Sonata, is a piano sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven. Completed in 1801 and dedicated in 1802 to his pupil, Countess Giulietta Guicciardi, it is one of Beethoven's most popular compositions for the piano.


The first edition of the score is headed Sonata quasi una fantasia, a title this work shares with its companion piece, Op. 27, No. 1. Grove Music Online translates the Italian title as "sonata in the manner of a fantasy". Translated more literally, this is "sonata almost a fantasy".

The name "Moonlight Sonata" comes from remarks made by the German music critic and poet Ludwig Rellstab. In 1832, five years after Beethoven's death, Rellstab likened the effect of the first movement to that of moonlight shining upon Lake Lucerne. Within ten years, the name "Moonlight Sonata" ("Mondscheinsonate" in German) was being used in German and English publications. Later in the nineteenth century, the sonata was universally known by that name.

Many critics have objected to the subjective, Romantic nature of the title "Moonlight", which has at times been called "a misleading approach to a movement with almost the character of a funeral march" and "absurd". Other critics have approved of the sobriquet, finding it evocative or in line with their own interpretation of the work. Gramophone founder Compton Mackenzie found the title "harmless", remarking that "it is silly for austere critics to work themselves up into a state of almost hysterical rage with poor Rellstab", and adding, "what these austere critics fail to grasp is that unless the general public had responded to the suggestion of moonlight in this music Rellstab's remark would long ago have been forgotten."

Although no direct testimony exists as to the specific reasons why Beethoven decided to title both the Op. 27 works as Sonata quasi una fantasia, it may be significant that the layout of the present work does not follow the traditional movement arrangement in the Classical period of fast–slow–[fast]–fast. Instead, the sonata possesses an end-weighted trajectory, with the rapid music held off until the third movement. In his analysis, German critic Paul Bekker states that "The opening sonata-allegro movement gave the work a definite character from the beginning... which succeeding movements could supplement but not change. Beethoven rebelled against this determinative quality in the first movement. He wanted a prelude, an introduction, not a proposition.”

The sonata consists of three movements:

Adagio sostenuto
Presto agitato

Adagio sostenuto

The first movement, in C♯ minor, is written in an approximate truncated sonata form. The movement opens with an octave in the left hand and a triplet figuration in the right. A melody that Hector Berlioz called a "lamentation", mostly by the right hand, is played against an accompanying ostinato triplet rhythm, simultaneously played by the right hand. The movement is played pianissimo or "very quietly", and the loudest it gets is mezzo forte or "moderately loud". The adagio sostenuto has made a powerful impression on many listeners; for instance, Berlioz said of it that it "is one of those poems that human language does not know how to qualify". Beethoven's student Carl Czerny called it "a nocturnal scene, in which a mournful ghostly voice sounds from the distance". The movement was very popular in Beethoven's day, to the point of exasperating the composer himself, who remarked to Czerny, "Surely I've written better things."

The second movement is a relatively conventional scherzo and trio, a moment of relative calm written in D-flat major, the more easily-notated enharmonic equivalent of C♯ major, the parallel major of the first movement's key, C♯ minor. Franz Liszt is said to have described the second movement as "a flower between two chasms". The slight majority of the movement is in piano, but a handful of sforzandos and forte-pianos helps to maintain the movement's cheerful disposition.

Presto agitato
The stormy final movement (C♯ minor), in sonata form, is the weightiest of the three, reflecting an experiment of Beethoven's (also carried out in the companion sonata, Opus 27, No. 1 and later on in Opus 101) placement of the most important movement of the sonata last. The writing has many fast arpeggios and strongly accented notes, and an effective performance demands lively and skillful playing.

Of the final movement, Charles Rosen has written "it is the most unbridled in its representation of emotion. Even today, two hundred years later, its ferocity is astonishing."

Beethoven's heavy use of sforzando notes, together with just a few strategically located fortissimo passages, creates the sense of a very powerful sound in spite of the predominance of piano markings throughout.

Beethoven's pedal mark
At the opening of the work, Beethoven included the following direction in Italian: "Si deve suonare tutto questo pezzo delicatissimamente e senza sordino" ("This whole piece ought to be played with the utmost delicacy and without damper[s]."). The way this is accomplished (both on today's pianos and on those of Beethoven's day) is to depress the damper pedal throughout the movement.

Performers often hesitate to follow Beethoven's direction, particularly when playing on a modern piano. This is because the modern piano has a much longer sustain time than the instruments of Beethoven's time, so that a steady application of the damper pedal creates a dissonant sound. In contrast, performers who employ a historically-based instrument (either a restored old piano or a modern instrument built on historical principles) tend to be more willing to following Beethoven's direction literally.

For performance on the modern piano, several options have been put forth.

-One option is simply to lift the damper pedal periodically where necessary to avoid excessive dissonance. This is seen, for instance, in the editorially-supplied pedal marks in the Ricordi edition of the sonata.
-Half pedaling—a technique involving a partial depression of the damper pedal—is also often used to simulate the shorter sustain of the early nineteenth century pedal. Charles Rosen suggested both half-pedaling and releasing the pedal a fraction of a second late.
-Joseph Banowetz suggests using the sostenuto pedal: the pianist should pedal cleanly while allowing sympathetic vibration of the low bass strings to provide the desired "blur". This is accomplished by silently depressing the piano's lowest bass notes before beginning the movement, then using the sostenuto pedal to hold these dampers up for the duration of the movement.


The C-sharp minor sonata, particularly the third movement, is held to have been the inspiration for Frédéric Chopin's Fantaisie-Impromptu, and that the Fantaisie-Impromptu was actually a tribute to Beethoven. It manifests the key relationships of the sonata's three movements, chord structures, and even shares some passages. Ernst Oster writes: "... With the aid of the Fantaisie-Impromptu we can at least recognize what particular features of the C♯ minor Sonata struck fire in Chopin. We can actually regard Chopin as our teacher as he points to the coda and says, 'Look here, this is great. Take heed of this example!' ... The Fantaisie-Impromptu is perhaps the only instance where one genius discloses to us — if only by means of a composition of his own — what he actually hears in the work of another genius."

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

V. Horowitz - Piano Sonata Op. 27, No. 2 'Moonlight' (L.V. Beethoven)
Horowitz's recording of Beethoven's Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor.
Rec. April 20, 1972.

I. Adagio sostenuto [0:00]
II. Allegretto [5:55]
III. Presto agitato [8:26]

"Die Geschopfe des Prometheus" 1801

The Creatures of Prometheus (German: Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus), Op. 43, is a ballet composed in 1801 by Ludwig van Beethoven following the libretto of Salvatore Viganò. The ballet premiered on 28 March 1801 at the Burgtheater in Vienna and was given 28 performances.

The overture to the ballet is part of the concert repertoire. Beethoven based the fourth movement of his Eroica symphony and his Eroica Variations (piano) on the main theme of the last movement of the ballet.

Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus, Op.43 (1800-01)
Dedication: Maria Christiane Fürstin von Lichnowsky (for the piano arrangement)

Overture -- Adagio -- Allegro molto e con brio -- attacca:
Introduction (La Tempesta). Allegro non troppo (5:06) -- attacca: (C major)
1. Poco Adagio -- Allegro con brio -- Poco Adagio -- Allegro con brio (C major) 7:15
2. Adagio -- Allegro con brio (F major) 10:56
3. Allegro vivace (F major) 12:41
4. Maestoso -- Andante (D major) 14:58
5. Adagio -- Andante quasi Allegretto (B♭ major) 16:34
6. Un poco Adagio -- Allegro -- attacca: (G major) 24:16
7. Grave -- attacca: (G major) 25:40
8. Marcia. Allegro con brio -- Presto (D major) 30:03
9. Adagio -- Adagio -- Allegro molto (E♭ major) 37:16
10. Pastorale. Allegro (C major) 41:11
11. Coro di Gioja. Andante -- attacca: (C major) 43:55
12. Solo di Gioja. Maestoso -- Adagio -- Allegro (C major) 44:18
13. Terzettino - Grotteschi. Allegro -- Comodo -- Coda (D major) 47:23
14. Solo della Signora Cassentini. Andante -- Adagio -- Allegro -- Allegretto (F major) 51:34
15. Coro (e) Solo di Vigano. Andantino -- Adagio -- Allegro (B♭ major) 57:11
16. Finale. Allegretto -- Allegro molto -- Presto (E♭ major) 1:02:01

The Chamber Orchestra of Europe conducted by Nicolaus Harnoncourt

Arranger: Ludwig van Beethoven

First edition

Publisher Info.:
Vienna: Artaria, n.d.[1801].

Beethoven - Die Geschopfe des Prometheus Overture Op.43 by Immerseel, Anima Eterna (2009)
Anima Eterna
Jos van Immerseel, Conductor

22nd September 2009
Live at Au Concert Nobel, Bruxelles

"Kreutzer Sonata" - 1803

The Violin Sonata No. 9 of Beethoven Ludwig, commonly known as the Kreutzer Sonata, was published as Beethoven's Opus 47. It is known for its demanding violin part, unusual length (a typical performance lasts slightly less than 40 minutes), and emotional scope — while the first movement is predominantly furious, the second is meditative and the third joyous and exuberant.

The sonata was originally dedicated to the violinist George Bridgetower (1778–1860), who performed it with Beethoven at the premiere on 24 May 1803 at the Augarten Theatre at a concert that started at the unusually early hour of 8:00 am. Bridgetower sight-read the sonata; he had never seen the work before, and there had been no time for any rehearsal. However, research indicates that after the performance, while the two were drinking, Bridgetower insulted the morals of a woman whom Beethoven cherished. Enraged, Beethoven removed the dedication of the piece, dedicating it instead to Rodolphe Kreutzer, who was considered the finest violinist of the day.
However, Kreutzer never performed it, considering it "outrageously unintelligible". He did not particularly care for any of Beethoven's music, and they only ever met once, briefly.
Front page of an original edition of the Kreutzer Sonata
Sources suggest the work was originally titled "Sonata mulattica composta per il mulatto Brischdauer [Bridgetower], gran pazzo e compositore mulattico" (Mulatto Sonata composed for the mulatto Brischdauer, big wild mulatto composer), and in the composer's 1803 sketchbook, as a "Sonata per il Pianoforte ed uno violino obligato in uno stile molto concertante come d’un concerto".
Beethoven gave no key designation. Although the work is usually titled as being in A-major, the Austrian composer and music theoretician Gerhard Präsent has published articles indicating that the main key is in fact A-minor. Präsent has revealed interesting connections to the 6th violin sonata op.30/1, for which the third movement was originally composed, and he believes that the unusual opening bars for solo violin form a kind of transition from the earlier sonata (or from its structural material), supporting the belief that the acquisition of the finale of op.30/1 for the "Kreutzer" was a compositional intention — and not a result of lack of time, as long suspected.
The piece is in three movements, and takes approximately 43 minutes to perform:

Adagio sostenuto - Presto - Adagio (about 15 minutes in length)
Andante con variazioni (about 18 minutes)
Presto (about 10 minutes)
The sonata opens with a slow 18-bar introduction, of which only the first four bars of the solo violin are in the A-Major-key. The piano enters, and the harmony begins to turn darker towards the minor key, until the main body of the movement — an angry A-minor Presto— begins. Here, the piano part matches the violin's in terms of difficulty. Near the end, Beethoven brings back part of the opening Adagio, before closing the movement in an anguished coda. There could hardly be a greater contrast with the second movement, a placid tune in F major followed by five distinctive variations. The first variation transliterates the theme into a lively triple meter while embellishing it with trills, while in the second the violin steals the melody and enlivens it even further. The third variation, in the minor, returns to a darker and more meditative state. The fourth recalls the first and second variations with its light, ornamental, and airy feel. The fifth and final variation, the longest, caps the movement with a slower and more dramatic feel, nevertheless returning to the carefree F major.

Kreutzer Sonata, painting by René François Xavier Prinet (1901), based on Tolstoy's novella, The Kreutzer Sonata
The calm is broken by a crashing A major chord in the piano, ushering in the virtuosic and exuberant third movement, a 6/8 tarantella in rondo form. After moving through a series of slightly contrasting episodes, the theme returns for the last time, and the work ends jubilantly in a rush of A major.

This finale was originally composed for another, earlier, sonata for violin and piano by Beethoven, the Op. 30, no. 1, in A major.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Oistrakh - Oborin - Beethoven Violin Sonata No.9, Op.47 'Kreutzer'
"Fidelio" - 1805
Fidelio (Leonore, oder Der Triumph der ehelichen Liebe: Leonore, or The Triumph of Married Love) (Op. 72) is a German opera with spoken dialogue in two acts by Ludwig van Beethoven. It is his only opera. The German libretto was prepared by Joseph Sonnleithner from the French of Jean-Nicolas Bouilly, which had been used for the 1798 opera Léonore, ou L’amour conjugal by Pierre Gaveaux, and the 1804 opera Leonora by Ferdinando Paer (a score of which was owned by Beethoven).

The opera tells how Leonore, disguised as a prison guard named "Fidelio", rescues her husband Florestan from death in a political prison.


Bouilly's scenario fits Beethoven's aesthetic and political outlook: a story of personal sacrifice, heroism and eventual triumph (the usual topics of Beethoven's "middle period") with its underlying struggle for liberty and justice mirroring contemporary political movements in Europe.

As elsewhere in Beethoven's vocal music, the principal parts of Leonore and Florestan, in particular, require great vocal skill and endurance in order to project the necessary intensity, and top performances in these roles attract admiration.

Some notable moments in the opera include the "Prisoners' Chorus", an ode to freedom sung by a chorus of political prisoners, Florestan's vision of Leonore come as an angel to rescue him, and the scene in which the rescue finally takes place. The finale celebrates Leonore's bravery with alternating contributions of soloists and chorus.

Fidelio, playbill of the premiere, Vienna, Kärntnertortheater, 23 May 1814


Performance history
Like many other works in Beethoven's career, Fidelio went through several versions before achieving full success. The opera was first produced in a three-act version at Vienna's Theater an der Wien, on 20 November 1805, with additional performances the following two nights. The 1805 and 1806 versions are referred to, by academic convention, as Leonore in order to distinguish them from the final two-act version. However all three versions were premiered as Fidelio.

The success of these performances was greatly hindered by the fact that Vienna was under French military occupation, and most of the audience were French military officers. After this premiere, Beethoven was pressured by friends to revise and shorten the opera into just two acts, and he did so with the help of Stephan von Breuning. The composer also wrote a new overture (now known as "Leonore No. 3"; see below). In this form the opera was first performed on 29 March and 10 April 1806, with greater success. Further performances were prevented by a dispute between Beethoven and the theatre management.

In 1814 Beethoven revised his opera yet again, with additional work on the libretto by Georg Friedrich Treitschke. This version was first performed at the Kärntnertortheater on 23 May 1814, under the title Fidelio. The 17-year-old Franz Schubert was in the audience, having sold his school books to obtain a ticket. The increasingly deaf Beethoven led the performance, "assisted" by Michael Umlauf, who later performed the same task for Beethoven at the premiere of the Ninth Symphony. The role of Pizarro was taken by Johann Michael Vogl, who later became known for his collaborations with Schubert. This version of the opera was, finally, a great success for Beethoven, and Fidelio has been an important part of the operatic repertory ever since.

Beethoven cannot be said to have enjoyed the difficulties posed by writing and producing an opera. In a letter to Treitschke he said, "I assure you, dear Treitschke, that this opera will win me a martyr's crown. You have by your co-operation saved what is best from the shipwreck. For all this I shall be eternally grateful to you."

The opera was not published until 1826, and all three versions are known as Beethoven's Opus 72.

The first performance outside Vienna took place in Prague on 21 November 1814 and a further revival in Vienna being presented on 3 November 1822. In its two-act version, the opera was given in London on 18 May 1832 at the King's Theatre and in New York on 9 September 1839 at the Park Theatre.

20th century
Fidelio was Arturo Toscanini's first complete opera performance to be broadcast over the NBC radio network, in December 1944, by the NBC Symphony Orchestra, featuring soloists from the Metropolitan Opera (though a shortwave broadcast of one act, conducted by Toscanini, had earlier been relayed from an 16 August 1936 performance at Salzburg.) Divided into two consecutive broadcasts, the 1944 performances were later issued by RCA Victor on LPs and CDs. Toscanini made it clear that Beethoven believed in liberty and was opposed to tyrants such as Napoleon; in the conductor's opinion, Beethoven would have likely opposed Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini as well.

Fidelio was the first opera performed in Berlin after the end of the World War II, with the Deutsche Oper staging it under the baton of Robert Heger at the only undamaged theatre, the Theater des Westens, in September 1945.[6] At the time, Thomas Mann remarked: "What amount of apathy was needed [by musicians and audiences] to listen to Fidelio in Himmler's Germany without covering their faces and rushing out of the hall!"

Not long after the end of World War II and the fall of Nazism, conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler remarked in Salzburg in 1948:

[T]he conjugal love of Leonore appears, to the modern individual armed with realism and psychology, irremediably abstract and theoretical.... Now that political events in Germany have restored to the concepts of human dignity and liberty their original significance, this is the opera which, thanks to the music of Beethoven, gives us comfort and courage.... Certainly, Fidelio is not an opera in the sense we are used to, nor is Beethoven a musician for the theater, or a dramaturgist. He is quite a bit more, a whole musician, and beyond that, a saint and a visionary. That which disturbs us is not a material effect, nor the fact of the 'imprisonment'; any film could create the same effect. No, it is the music, it is Beethoven himself. It is this 'nostalgia of liberty' he feels, or better, makes us feel; this is what moves us to tears. His Fidelio has more of the Mass than of the Opera to it; the sentiments it expresses come from the sphere of the sacred, and preach a 'religion of humanity' which we never found so beautiful or necessary as we do today, after all we have lived through. Herein lies the singular power of this unique opera.... Independent of any historical consideration ... the flaming message of Fidelio touches deeply.

We realize that for us Europeans, as for all men, this music will always represent an appeal to our conscience.

On 5 November 1955, the Vienna State Opera was re-opened with Fidelio, conducted by Karl Böhm. This performance was the first live television broadcast by ORF at a time when there were about 800 television sets in Austria.

The first night of Fidelio at the Semperoper in Dresden on 7 October 1989 on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the DDR (East Germany) coincided with violent demonstrations at the city's main train station. The applause after the "Prisoners' Chorus" interrupted the performance for considerable time, and the production by Christine Mielitz (de) had the chorus appear in normal street clothes at the end, signifying their role as representatives of the audience. Four weeks later, on 9 November 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall signalled the end of East Germany's regime.

The overtures to Fidelio
Beethoven struggled to produce an appropriate overture for Fidelio, and ultimately went through four versions. His first attempt, for the 1805 premiere, is believed to have been the overture now known as "Leonore No. 2". Beethoven then focused this version for the performances of 1806, creating "Leonore No. 3". The latter is considered by many listeners as the greatest of the four overtures, but as an intensely dramatic, full-scale symphonic movement it had the effect of overwhelming the (rather light) initial scenes of the opera. Beethoven accordingly experimented with cutting it back somewhat, for a planned 1808 performance in Prague; this is believed to be the version now called "Leonore No. 1". Finally, for the 1814 revival Beethoven began anew, and with fresh musical material wrote what we now know as the Fidelio overture. As this somewhat lighter overture seems to work best of the four as a start to the opera, Beethoven's final intentions are generally respected in contemporary productions.

While some believe that Gustav Mahler introduced the practice of performing "Leonore No. 3" between the two scenes of the second act, something which was common until the middle of the twentieth century, Cairns states that it goes back to the middle of the 19th century and was therefore prior to Mahler. In this location, it acts as a kind of musical reprise of the rescue scene that has just taken place. A new, modern-styled production that premiered in Budapest in October 2008, for example, features the "Leonore No. 3" overture in this location.

Two years prior to the opening scene, the nobleman Florestan has exposed or attempted to expose certain crimes of the nobleman Pizarro. In revenge, Pizarro has secretly imprisoned Florestan in the prison over which Pizarro is governor.

The jailer of the prison, Rocco, has a daughter, Marzelline, and a servant (or assistant), Jaquino. Florestan's wife, Leonore, came to Rocco's door dressed as a boy seeking employment, and Rocco hired her.

On orders, Rocco has been giving Florestan diminishing rations until he is nearly starved to death.

Place: A Spanish state prison, a few miles from Seville
Time: Late 18th century

Act 1

Jaquino and Marzelline are alone. Jaquino asks Marzelline when she will agree to marry him, but she says that she will never marry him now that she has fallen in love with Fidelio, who is Leonore in disguise. ("Jetzt, Schätzchen, jetzt sind wir allein [Now, darling, now we are alone]). Jaquino leaves, and Marzelline expresses her desire to become Fidelio's wife ("O wär ich schon mit dir vereint" [If only I were already united with thee]). Rocco and Jaquino enter, looking for Fidelio. Fidelio enters carrying a heavy load of newly repaired chains. Rocco compliments Leonore on her skill, and misinterprets her modest reply as hidden attraction to his daughter. Marzelline, Leonore, Rocco, and Jaquino sing a quartet about the love Marzelline has for Fidelio ("Mir ist so wunderbar" [A wondrous feeling fills me], also known as the Canon Quartet).

Rocco tells Leonore that as soon as the governor has left for Seville, she and Marzelline can be married. He tells them, however, that unless they have money, they will not be happy. ("Hat man nicht auch Gold beineben" [If you don't have money on the side]). Leonore says that she wants something else at least as much as money: to know why Rocco will not permit her to help him in the dungeons, because he always comes back out of breath. Rocco says that there is a prison where he can never take her, and inside is a man who has wasted away for two years because of his powerful enemies. Marzelline begs her father to keep Leonore away from such a terrible sight. Instead Rocco and Leonore sing of courage ("Gut, Söhnchen, gut" [All right, son, all right]), and soon Marzelline joins in their acclamations.

All but Rocco leave. A march is played as Pizarro enters with guards. Rocco gives Pizarro a message with a warning that the minister plans a surprise visit tomorrow to investigate accusations that Pizarro is a tyrant. Pizarro exclaims that he cannot let the minister discover the imprisoned Don Florestan, who has been thought dead. Instead, Pizarro will murder Florestan ("Ha, welch ein Augenblick!" [Hah! What a moment!]). Pizarro orders that a trumpet be sounded at the minister's arrival. He offers Rocco money to kill Florestan, but Rocco refuses ("Jetzt, Alter, jetzt hat es Eile!" [Now, old man, we must hurry!]), and instead Pizarro orders him to dig a grave in the ruined well in the dungeons. When the grave is ready, Rocco should sound the alarm for Pizarro to come disguised into the dungeon, and kill Florestan himself. Leonore has seen Pizarro plotting, but has not overheard what he said. She is agitated, but thoughts of her husband calm her down ("Abscheulicher! Wo eilst du hin? ... Komm, Hoffnung, lass den letzten Stern" [Scum! Where are you going? ... Come, hope, let the last star]).

Jaquino begs Marzelline to marry him, but she refuses. Leonore, hoping to find Florestan, asks Rocco to let the poor prisoners roam in the garden and enjoy the beautiful weather. Marzelline also begs him, and Rocco agrees to distract Pizarro while the prisoners are set free. The prisoners, overjoyed at their freedom, sing joyfully ("O welche Lust" [O what a joy]), but, remembering that they could be caught, are soon quiet.

Rocco reenters and tells Leonore of his success with Pizarro: Pizarro will allow the marriage, and Leonore will be permitted to join Rocco on his rounds in the dungeon ("Nun sprecht, wie ging's?" [Speak, how did it go?]). They prepare to go to the cell of a prisoner who, says Rocco, must be killed and buried within the hour. Leonore is so shaken that Rocco tries to persuade her to stay behind, but she insists on coming. As they prepare to leave, Jaquino and Marzelline rush in and tell Rocco to run: Pizarro has learned that the prisoners are free, and he is furious ("" [O, father, father, hurry!]).

Before they can move, Pizarro enters and demands an explanation. Rocco pretends that they are celebrating the King's naming day, and suggests quietly that Pizarro save his anger for the prisoner in the dungeons below. Pizarro tells him to hurry and dig the grave, then announces that the prisoners will be shut in again. Rocco, Leonore, Jacquino, and Marzelline reluctantly usher the prisoners back to their cells. ("Leb wohl, du warmes Sonnenlicht" [Adieu, warm sunshine]).

Act 2
Florestan is alone in his cell, deep inside the dungeons. He sings first of his trust in God, then has a vision of Leonore coming to save him ("Gott! Welch Dunkel hier!" [God! What darkness here]... "In des Lebens Frühlingstagen" [In the spring days of life]). He collapses and falls asleep. Rocco and Leonore come to dig his grave and find him asleep. As they dig Rocco urges Leonore to hurry ("Wie kalt ist es in diesem unterirdischen Gewölbe!" [How cold it is in this underground chamber] ... "Nur hurtig fort, nur frisch gegraben" [Come get to work and dig!]). This is the Gravedigging Duet.

Florestan awakes and Leonore recognizes him. When Florestan learns at last that he is in Pizarro's prison, he asks that a message be sent to his wife, Leonore Florestan, but Rocco says it is impossible. Florestan begs for a drop to drink, and Rocco tells Leonore to give him one. Florestan does not recognize Leonore but tells her she will be rewarded in Heaven ("Euch werde Lohn in bessern Welten" [You shall be rewarded in better worlds]). She begs Rocco to be allowed to give Florestan a crust of bread, and he agrees. Florestan eats.

Rocco obeys his orders and sounds the alarm for Pizarro, who appears and asks if all is ready. Rocco says that it is and tells Leonore to leave, but instead she hides. Pizarro reveals his identity to Florestan, who accuses him of murder ("Er sterbe! Doch er soll erst wissen" [Let him die! But first he should know]). As Pizarro brandishes a dagger, Leonore leaps between him and Florestan and reveals her identity. Pizarro raises his dagger to kill her but she pulls a gun and threatens to shoot him.

Just then the trumpet is heard, announcing the arrival of the minister. Jaquino enters, followed by soldiers, to announce that the minister is waiting at the gate. Rocco tells the soldiers to escort Governor Pizarro upstairs. Florestan and Leonore sing to their victory as Pizarro declares he will have revenge, and Rocco expresses his fear of what is to come ("Es schlägt der Rache Stunde" [Revenge's bell tolls]). Together, Florestan and Leonore sing a love duet ("O namenlose Freude!" [O unnamed joy!]).

Here overture "Leonore No. 3" is sometimes played.

The prisoners and townsfolk sing to the day and hour of justice which has come ("Heil sei dem Tag!" [Hail to the day!]). The minister, Don Fernando, announces that tyranny has ended. Rocco enters, with Leonore and Florestan, and he asks Don Fernando to help them ("Wohlan, so helfet! Helft den Armen!" [So help! Help the poor ones!]). Rocco explains how Leonore disguised herself as Fidelio to save her husband. Marzelline is shocked. Rocco describes Pizarro's murder plot, and Pizarro is led away to prison. Florestan is released from his chains by Leonore, and the crowd sings the praises of Leonore, the loyal savior of her husband ("Wer ein holdes Weib errungen" [Who has got a good wife]).

The orchestra consists of 1 piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, timpani, and strings. There is also an offstage trumpet.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Beethoven "Fidelio - complete" - Roma 1996
"Fidelio" Opera in two acts, op 72
by Ludwig van Beethoven

Don Fernando....................Andreas Kohn
Don Pizarro.....................Oskar Hillebrandt
Florestan.......................Jan Blinkhof
Leonore.........................Susan Anthony
Rocco...........................Ulrich Dünnebach
Marzeline.......................Susan Gritton
Jaquino.........................Jozef Kundlak
1. Prisoner.....................Walter Omaggio
2. Prisoner.....................Bernardino di Bagno
Stage director: Florian Malte Leibrecht
Chorus & Orchestra of the Teatro del`Opera di Roma
Marcel Seminara, chorus-master
Zoltan Pesko, conductor
Roma, 16.IV.1996

Claudio Abbado - Overture to "Fidelio" - Beethoven
Overture to "Fidelio",
by Ludwig van Beethoven
Wiener Philharmoniker
Claudio Abbado, conductor
Violin Concerto, Op. 61 - 1806
Ludwig van Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61, was written in 1806.

Performance history

Beethoven wrote the concerto for his colleague Franz Clement, a leading violinist of the day, who had earlier given him helpful advice on his opera Fidelio. The work was premiered on 23 December 1806 in the Theater an der Wien in Vienna, the occasion being a benefit concert for Clement. The first printed edition (1808) was also dedicated to Franz Clement.

It is believed that Beethoven finished the solo part so late that Clement had to sight-read part of his performance. Perhaps to express his annoyance, or to show what he could do when he had time to prepare, Clement is said to have interrupted the concerto between the first and second movements with a solo composition of his own, played on one string of the violin held upside down; however, other sources claim that he did play such a piece but only at the end of the performance.

The premiere was not a success, and the concerto was little performed in the following decades.

The work was revived in 1844, well after Beethoven's death, with a performance by the then 12-year-old violinist Joseph Joachim with the orchestra of the London Philharmonic Society conducted by Felix Mendelssohn. Ever since, it has been one of the most important works of the violin concerto repertoire, and is frequently performed and recorded today.

The work is in three movements:

Allegro ma non troppo (D major)
Larghetto (G major)
Rondo. Allegro (D major)

It is scored, in addition to the solo violin, for flute, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, timpani, and strings.

The first movement starts with four beats on the timpani and has a duration of about 25 minutes. The second and third movements last about 10 minutes each. There is no break between the second and third movements. The entire work itself is approximately 45 minutes in duration.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Itzhak Perlman - Beethoven Violin Concerto - Daniel Barenboim
Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61

I. Allegro ma non troppo (00:00)
II. Larghetto (24:37)
III. Rondo. Allegro (33:33)

Itzhak Perlman, violin
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Berlin Philharmonic

Beethoven Violin Concerto in D Major Op.61
Beethoven Violin Concerto in D Major Op.61
Violin : 강주미 Clara - Jumi Kang
Conuctor : 정명훈 Chung Myung-Whun
(Seoul Phil Orchestra Music Director & Permanent Orchestra Conductor)
Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra
24th,May,2013.Korean Art Centre Concert Hall,Seoul Korea.

1st Erster Satz -[00:33]
2nd Zweiter Satz -[25:33]
3rd Dritter Satz -[35:23]
"Appassionata" - 1807
Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 (colloquially known as the Appassionata, meaning "passionate" in Italian) is among the three famous piano sonatas of his middle period (the others being the Waldstein, Op. 53 and Les Adieux, Op. 81a); it was composed during 1804 and 1805, and perhaps 1806, and was dedicated to Count Franz von Brunswick. The first edition was published in February 1807 in Vienna.

Unlike the early Sonata No. 8, Pathétique, the Appassionata was not named during the composer's lifetime, but was so labeled in 1838 by the publisher of a four-hand arrangement of the work.

One of his greatest and most technically challenging piano sonatas, the Appassionata was considered by Beethoven to be his most tempestuous piano sonata until the twenty-ninth piano sonata (known as the Hammerklavier), being described as a "brilliantly executed display of emotion and music". 1803 was the year Beethoven came to grips with the irreversibility of his progressively deteriorating hearing.

An average performance of the entire Appassionata sonata lasts about twenty-three minutes.

The beginning of the first movement


The sonata, in F minor, consists of three movements:

Allegro assai
Andante con moto
Allegro ma non troppo - Presto

Allegro assai

A sonata-allegro form in 12/8 time, the first movement progresses quickly through startling changes in tone and dynamics, and is characterized by an economic use of themes.

The main theme, in octaves, is quiet and ominous. It consists of a down-and-up arpeggio in dotted rhythm that cadences on the tonicized dominant, immediately repeated a semitone higher (in G flat). This use of the Neapolitan chord (e.g. the flatted supertonic) is an important structural element in the work, also being the basis of the main theme of the finale. The rhythm of the theme may be based on the English folk song On the Banks of Allen Water. (British folk songs were well known in Vienna at that time, and Beethoven, like Haydn, wrote many arrangements for British publishers. However, the first assignment of that sort to Beethoven were by the Edinburgh publisher George Thomson as late as 1809, so there is no support in that fact for the claim that the rhythm is based on a folk song.)

The second subject is a direct quotation of the first two lines of the folk song, reworked to fit the 12/8 time (the folk song is in 3/4). As in Beethoven's Waldstein sonata, the coda is unusually long, containing quasi-improvisational arpeggios which span most of the [early 19th-century] piano's range. The choice of F-minor becomes very clear when one realizes that this movement makes frequent use of the deep, dark tone of the lowest F on the piano, which was the lowest note available to Beethoven at the time.

The total performance time of this movement is about 10 minutes.

Andante con moto
A set of variations in D flat major, on a theme remarkable for its melodic simplicity combined with the use of unusually thick voicing and a peculiar counter-melody in the bass. Its sixteen bars (repeated) consist of nothing but common chords, set in a series of four- and two-bar phrases that all end on the tonic. (See image.) The four variations follow:

Var. I: similar to the original theme, with the left hand playing on the off-beats.
Var. II: an embellishment of the theme in sixteenth notes.
Var. III: a rapid embellishment in thirty-second notes. A double variation, with the hands switching parts.
Var. IV: a reprise of the original theme without repeats and with the phrases displaced in register.
The fourth variation cadences deceptively on a soft diminished-7th chord, followed by a much louder diminished-7th that serves as a transition to the finale.

The total performance time of this movement is about 6 minutes.

Allegro ma non troppo - Presto
A sonata-allegro in near-perpetual motion in which, very unusually, only the second part is directed to be repeated. It has much in common with the first movement, including extensive use of the Neapolitan sixth chord and several written-out cadenzas. The movement climaxes with a faster coda introducing a new theme which in turn leads into an extended final cadence in F minor. According to Donald Francis Tovey this is one of only a handful of Beethoven's works in sonata form that ends in tragedy (the others being the C minor Piano Trio, Piano Sonata Op. 27 no. 2 ("Moonlight"), Violin Sonata Op. 30 no. 2, and the C# minor Quartet.)

The total performance time of this movement is about seven minutes with the repeats and about five minutes without them.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 "Appassionata" - Daniel Barenboim
From the Complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas Nos 1-32 cycle recorded 1983-84

Piano Sonata No. 23 in F Minor, Op. 57 ("Appassionata")

Daniel Barenboim, piano

Arthur Rubinstein - Beethoven Sonata No. 23, Op. 57 "Appassionata"
I. Allegro assai: 00:00
II. Andante con moto: 09:26
III. Allegro ma non troppo: 15:59
Coriolan Overture - 1807
The Coriolan Overture (German: Ouvertüre Coriolan), Op. 62, is a composition written by Ludwig van Beethoven in 1807 for Heinrich Joseph von Collin's 1804 tragedy Coriolan, and not, as is sometimes claimed, for William Shakespeare's play Coriolanus, although both works are about the ancient Roman leader Gaius Marcius Coriolanus.
The structure and themes of the overture follow the play very generally. The main C minor theme represents Coriolanus' resolve and war-like tendencies (he is about to invade Rome), while the more tender E-flat major theme represents the pleadings of his mother to desist. Coriolanus eventually gives in to tenderness, but since he cannot turn back having led an army of his former enemies to Rome's gates, he kills himself. (In Shakespeare's play, on the other hand, he is murdered.)

The overture was premiered in March 1807 at a private concert in the home of Prince Franz Joseph von Lobkowitz. The Symphony No. 4 in B-flat and the Piano Concerto No. 4 in G were premiered at the same concert.


Two of the most highly regarded recordings are of Wilhelm Furtwängler conducting the Berliner Philharmoniker (1943) and Fritz Reiner conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1959. Sir Roger Norrington has created a notable period performance version with his recording of the overture with the London Classical Players.

Other notable recordings include those by Herbert von Karajan with the Berlin Philharmonic, Karl Böhm with the Vienna Philharmonic, Carlos Kleiber conducting the Bavarian State Orchestra and Bruno Walter conducting the Columbia Symphony. The work was a staple of Arturo Toscanini's repertoire, and six recordings under Toscanini's baton are extant as well as one recording of rehearsal excerpts.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Beethoven - Coriolan Overture
Leonard Bernstein, Conductor

Wiener Philarmoniker

Beethoven - Coriolan Overture (Herbert von Karajan and Berliner Philharmoniker)
Bernstein - Beethoven - Leonore Overture Nº3
Leonore Overture Nº 3 in C major, Op. 72b

The Amnesty International Concert

Orchestra: Bavarian Broadcast Symphony Orchestra
Venue: Munich, Germany.
Date: 17/10/1976
Leonard Bernstein (1918 - 1990)

Arthur Rubinstein - Beethoven - Pianoconcerto 1-5
Piano Concerto No.5 in E-flat major, Op. 73 ("The Emperor") - 1809
The Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73, by Ludwig van Beethoven, popularly known as the Emperor Concerto, was his last piano concerto. It was written between 1809 and 1811 in Vienna, and was dedicated to Archduke Rudolf, Beethoven's patron and pupil. The first performance took place on 28 November 1811 at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig under conductor Johann Philipp Christian Schulz, the soloist being Friedrich Schneider. On 12 February 1812, Carl Czerny, another student of Beethoven's, gave the Vienna debut of this work.

The epithet of Emperor for this concerto was not Beethoven's own but was coined by Johann Baptist Cramer, the English publisher of the concerto. Its duration is approximately forty minutes.


The concerto is scored for a solo piano, two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets in B-flat (clarinet I playing clarinet in A in movement 2; flute II, oboe II, clarinet II, both trumpets, and timpani are tacet during this movement), two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, timpani in E-flat and B-flat, and strings.


The concerto is divided into three movements:

Allegro in E-flat major
Adagio un poco mosso in B major
Rondo: Allegro ma non troppo in E-flat major

As with Beethoven's other concertos from this time period, this work has a relatively long first movement. (At twenty-five minutes, the Violin Concerto has the longest; Piano Concerto Nos. 4 and 5 each have opening movements of about twenty minutes.)


I. Allegro
Despite its use of simple chords, including a second theme constructed almost entirely out of tonic and dominant notes and chords, the first movement is full of complex thematic transformations. When the piano enters with the first theme, the expository material is repeated with variations, virtuoso figurations, and modified harmonies. The second theme enters in the unusual key of B minor before moving to B major and at last to the expected key of B-flat major several bars later.


Following the opening flourish, the movement follows Beethoven's trademark three-theme sonata structure for a concerto. The orchestral exposition is a typical two-theme sonata exposition, but the second exposition with the piano has a triumphant virtuoso third theme at the end that belongs solely to the solo instrument. Beethoven does this in many of his concertos. The coda at the end of the movement is quite long, and, again typical of Beethoven, uses the open-ended first theme and gives it closure to create a satisfying conclusion.

II. Adagio un poco mosso

The second movement in B major is, in standard contrast to the first, calm and reflective. It moves into the third movement without interruption when a lone bassoon note B drops a semitone to B-flat, the dominant note to the tonic key E-flat.

III. Rondo: Allegro ma non troppo

The final movement of the concerto is a seven-part rondo form (ABACABA), a typical concerto finale form. The piano begins the movement by playing its main theme, then followed by the full orchestra. The rondo's B-section begins with piano scales, before the orchestra again responds. The C-section is much longer, presenting the theme from the A-section in three different keys before the piano performs a cadenza. Rather than finishing with a strong entrance from the orchestra, however, the trill ending the cadenza dies away until the introductory theme reappears, played first by the piano and then the orchestra. In the last section, the theme undergoes variation before the concerto ends with a short cadenza and robust orchestral response.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Beethoven-Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat Major Op. 73 ("Emperor")
Rudolf Serkin: piano-Philadelphia Orchestra-Eugene Ormandy: conductor-1950-allegro-adagio un poco mosso-rondo (allegro)
Beethoven - Piano Concerto No. 5 - Arthur Rubinstein
A. Rubinstein playing Beethoven's 5th piano concerto with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra conducted by Alexander Schneider.
"Egmont" - 1810
Egmont, Op. 84, by Ludwig van Beethoven, is a set of incidental music pieces for the 1787 play of the same name by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. It consists of an overture followed by a sequence of nine pieces for soprano, male narrator and full symphony orchestra. (The male narrator is optional; he is not used in the play and does not appear in all recordings of the complete incidental music.) Beethoven wrote it between October 1809 and June 1810, and it was premiered on 15 June 1810.

The subject of the music and dramatic narrative is the life and heroism of a 16th-century Dutch nobleman, the Count of Egmont. It was composed during the period of the Napoleonic Wars, at a time when the French Empire had extended its domination over most of Europe. Beethoven had famously expressed his great outrage over Napoleon Bonaparte's decision to crown himself Emperor in 1804, furiously scratching out his name in the dedication of the Eroica Symphony. In the music for Egmont, Beethoven expressed his own political concerns through the exaltation of the heroic sacrifice of a man condemned to death for having taken a valiant stand against oppression. The Overture later became an unofficial anthem of the 1956 Hungarian revolution.

Beethoven composed Klärchen’s songs, "Die Trommel gerühret" ("The drum is a-stirring") and "Freudvoll und leidvoll" ("Joyful and woeful"), with the Austrian actress Antonie Adamberger specifically in mind. She would later repeatedly and enthusiastically recall her collaboration with him.

The music was greeted with eulogistic praise, in particular by E.T.A. Hoffmann for its poetry, and Goethe himself declared that Beethoven had expressed his intentions with "a remarkable genius".

The overture, powerful and expressive, is one of the last works of his middle period; it has become as famous a composition as the Coriolan Overture, and is in a similar style to the Fifth Symphony, which he had completed two years earlier.

Outline of sections
The incidental music comprises the following sections, among which the overture, the lieder Die Trommel gerühret, Freudvoll und Leidvoll and the Mort de Klärchen are particularly well-known:

Overture: Sostenuto, ma non troppo – Allegro
Lied: "Die Trommel gerühret"
Entracte: Andante
Entracte: Larghetto
Lied: "Freudvoll und Leidvoll"
Entracte: Allegro – Marcia
Entracte: Poco sostenuto e risoluto
Mort de Klärchen
Melodram: "Süßer Schlaf"
Siegessymphonie (symphony of victory): Allegro con brio

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Beethoven Egmont Overture Bernstein Vienna Philharmonic
Beethoven. Egmont Overture - Lorin Maazel, New York Philharmonic
New York Philharmonic
conducted by LORIN MAAZEL

Live at the Seoul Arts Center - Feb, 28, 2008.

Missa solemnis in D major, Op. 123 - 1823
The Missa solemnis in D major, Op. 123, was composed by Ludwig van Beethoven from 1819 to 1823. It was first performed on 7 April 1824 in St. Petersburg, Russia, under the auspices of Beethoven's patron Prince Nikolai Galitzin; an incomplete performance was given in Vienna on 7 May 1824, when the Kyrie, Credo, and Agnus Dei were conducted by the composer. It is generally considered one of the composer's supreme achievements and, along with Bach's Mass in B minor, one of the most significant Mass settings of the common practice period.

Despite critical recognition as one of Beethoven's great works from the height of his composing career, Missa solemnis has not achieved the same level of popular attention that many of his symphonies and sonatas have enjoyed. Written around the same time as his Ninth Symphony, it is Beethoven's second setting of the Mass, after his Mass in C, Op. 86.

The Mass is scored for 2 flutes; 2 oboes, 2 clarinets (in A, C, and B♭); 2 bassoons; contrabassoon; 4 horns (in D, E♭, B♭ basso, E, and G); 2 trumpets (D, B♭, and C); alto, tenor, and bass trombone; timpani; organ continuo; strings (violins I and II, violas, cellos, and basses); soprano, alto, tenor, and bass soloists; and mixed choir.


Like most Masses, Beethoven's Missa solemnis is in five movements:

Kyrie: Perhaps the most traditional of the Mass movements, the Kyrie is in a traditional ABA' structure, with stately choral writing in the first movement section and more contrapuntal voice leading in the Christe, which also introduces the four vocal soloists.
Gloria: Quickly shifting textures and themes highlight each portion of the Gloria text, in a beginning to the movement that is almost encyclopedic in its exploration of 3/4 time. The movement ends with the first of the work's two massive fugues, on the text "In gloria Dei patris. Amen", leading into a recapitulation of the initial Gloria text and music.
Credo: The movement opens with a chord sequence that will be used again in the movement to effect modulations. The Credo, like the Gloria, is an often disorienting, mad rush through the text. The poignant modal harmonies for the "et incarnatus" yield to ever more expressive heights through the "crucifixus", and into a remarkable, a cappella setting of the "et resurrexit" that is over almost before it has begun. Most notable about the movement, though, is the closing fugue on "et vitam venturi" that includes one of the most difficult passages in the choral repertoire, when the subject returns at doubled tempo for a thrilling conclusion.
The form of the Credo is divided into four parts: (I) allegro ma non troppo through "descendit de coelis" in B-flat; (II) "Incarnatus est" through "Resurrexit" in D; (III) "Et ascendit" through the Credo recapitulation in F; (IV) Fugue and Coda "et vitam venturi saeculi, amen" in B-flat.
Sanctus: Up until the benedictus of the Sanctus, the Missa solemnis is of fairly normal classical proportions. But then, after an orchestral preludio, a solo violin enters in its highest range—representing the Holy Spirit descending to earth—and begins the Missa's most transcendently beautiful music, in a remarkably long extension of the text.
Agnus Dei: A setting of the plea "miserere nobis" ("have mercy on us") that begins with the men's voices alone in B minor yields, eventually, to a bright D-major prayer "dona nobis pacem" ("grant us peace") in a pastoral mode. After some fugal development, it is suddenly and dramatically interrupted by martial sounds (a convention in the 18th century, as in Haydn's Missa in tempore belli), but after repeated pleas of "miserere!", eventually recovers and brings itself to a stately conclusion.


The orchestration of the piece features a quartet of vocal soloists, a substantial chorus, and the full orchestra, and each at times is used in virtuosic, textural, and melodic capacities. The writing displays Beethoven's characteristic disregard for the performer, and is in several places both technically and physically exacting, with many sudden changes of dynamic, metre and tempo. This is consistent throughout, starting with the opening Kyrie where the syllables Ky-ri are delivered either forte or with sforzando, but the final e is piano. As noted above, the reprise of the Et vitam venturi fugue is particularly taxing, being both subtly different from the previous statements of the theme and counter-theme, and delivered at around twice the speed.

The orchestral parts also include many demanding sections, including the violin solo in the Sanctus and some of the most demanding work in the repertoire for bassoon and contrabassoon.

A typical performance of the complete work runs 80 to 85 minutes. The difficulty of the piece combined with the requirements for a full orchestra, large chorus, and highly trained soloists, both vocal and instrumental, mean that it is not often performed by amateur or semi-professional ensembles.

The work was dedicated to Archduke Rudolf of Austria, archbishop of Olomouc, Beethoven's foremost patron as well as pupil and friend. The copy presented to Rudolf was inscribed "Von Herzen—Möge es wieder—Zu Herzen gehn!" ("From the heart – may it return to the heart!")

Critical response
Some critics have been troubled by the problem that, as Theodor W. Adorno put it, "there is something peculiar about the Missa solemnis." In many ways, it is an atypical work, even for Beethoven. Missing is the sustained exploration of themes through development that is one of Beethoven's hallmarks. The massive fugues at the end of the Gloria and Credo align it with the work of his late period—but his simultaneous interest in the theme and variations form is absent. Instead, the Missa presents a continuous musical narrative, almost without repetition, particularly in the Gloria and Credo, the two longest movements. The style, Adorno has noted, is close to treatment of themes in imitation that one finds in the Flemish masters such as Josquin des Prez and Johannes Ockeghem, but it is unclear whether Beethoven was consciously imitating their techniques to meet the peculiar demands of the Mass text. Donald Tovey has connected Beethoven to the earlier tradition in a different way:

“ Not even Bach or Handel can show a greater sense of space and of sonority. There is no earlier choral writing that comes so near to recovering some of the lost secrets of the style of Palestrina. There is no choral and no orchestral writing, earlier or later, that shows a more thrilling sense of the individual colour of every chord, every position, and every doubled third or discord. ”

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Beethoven Missa Solemnis in D major, Op.123 / Philippe Herreweghe Collegium Vocal Gent
Missa Solemnis in D major, Op.123 / Missa solemnis D-Dur Op.123 (Messe)

The first performance at St. Petersburg, on 7 April 1824 under the auspices of Beethoven's patron Prince Nikolai Galitzin.

Dedicated to Archduke Rudolf of Austria

01. Kyrie (00:01)
02. Gloria (11:49)
03. Credo (28:41)
04. Sanctus (46:17)
05. Benedictus (51:36)
06. Agnus Dei (1:00:53)

Rosa Mannion, soprano
Birgit Remmert, alto
James Taylor, tenor
Cornelius Hauptmann, bass

Alessandro Moccia, solo violin in (Benedictus)

La Chapelle Royale, Collegium Vocal Gent
Orchestre des Champs-Élysées
Philippe Herreweghe, director

Beethoven - Missa Solemnis - Philharmonia / Karajan
Missa Solemnis op.123

Kyrie 0:00
Gloria 11:12
Credo 28:33
Sanctus 50:54
Agnus Dei 01:07:59

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
Christa Ludwig
Nicolai Gedda
Nicola Zaccaria
Singverein des Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien
Philharmonia Orchestra
Herbert von Karajan

Studio recording (11-15.IX.1958)

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