Title: Symphonien Nos. 6 & 7
Performers: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Director: Carlos Kleiber
Length: 39 minutes
Possibly one of the cheeriest of Beethoven's symphonies, right next to the sixth, the seventh has a more dancy feel, particularly noticeable in the second part of the first movement.
One of the great things about Beethoven's works is the variety of emotion that they express and here you get that with the very famous and almost funereal second movement, following the exuberance of the first movement, the contrast is great.
So, this is Beethoven's great exploration of rhythm in music, as always it is a beautiful work and even if it does not rate in the top five of his symphonies it is still pretty amazing. This recording has been here before with the recommended recording for the fifth symphony, so you should really get it.
The work was premiered in Vienna on December 8, 1813 at a charity concert for soldiers wounded in the Battle of Hanau, with Beethoven himself conducting and double featured with the patriotic Wellington's Victory symphony. The orchestra was led by Beethoven's friend, Ignaz Schuppanzigh, and included some of the finest musicians of the day: violinist Louis Spohr, Johann Hummel, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Antonio Salieri, Anton Romberg, and the Italian double bass virtuoso, Domenico Dragonetti, who Beethoven himself described as playing "with great fire and expressive power". The piece was very well received, and the allegretto had to be encored. 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 would inevitably be repeated due to its immense success.
Herbert von Karajan: