Friday, 24 October 2008

183. Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony no. 1 (1800)


Title: Symphony No. 1, Symphony No. 6
Performer: Cleveland Orchestra
Director: George Szell
Year: 1964
Length: 26 minutes


Of the nine Beethoven symphonies this one is probably the least impressive. This just goes to show, however, how great all of them are, because taken by itself it is a pretty amazing Symphony, it only pales in comparison.

Beethoven is one of those pivotal composers where the music world is measured in Before Beethoven and After Beethoven. Even if this is not one of his most innovative symphonies, it still sounds very much Classical, it is still very much a Beethoven composition, you can hardly mistake it for something else.

Beethoven just has an explosive sound which comes out here, even if the symphony owes much to Haydn, even the general mood of the music has a certain Haydn cheerfulness that is not as typical of Beethoven. So a minor Beethoven symphony, if such a thing exists, which means it is still excellent!

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The twelve-bar introduction of the first movement is often considered a musical joke, but it may simply be a result of Beethoven's experimentation: it consists of a sequence of dominant-tonic chord sequences in the wrong key, so that the listener only gradually realizes the real key of the symphony. There is a shortened recapitulation before the coda which closes the first movement. The andante (in F Major, the subdominant) of the second movement is played considerably faster than the general concept of that tempo, at what could be thought of as moderato. The third movement is remarkable because, although it is marked Menuetto, it is so fast that it is ostensibly a scherzo. The finale opens with another possible joke, consisting of partial scales played slowly before the full C-major scale marks the real start of the allegro.

A bit of the first movement conducted by Zubin Metha:

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