Tuesday, 4 November 2008

187. Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony no. 2 (1802)


Title: Leonore Overture no. 3, Symphony no.2, Symphony no.5
Performers: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Director: Rene Leibowitz
Year: 1961
Length: 29 minutes


Not the most impressive of Beethoven's symphonies... probably the last one of his not overly impressive Symphonies, actually, here on out it is all pretty amazing. This is not to say that this isn't a thoroughly enjoyable Symphony, because it very much is.

Nitpicking Beethoven's symphonies is a pretty stupid endeavour, so the only way to properly judge them is comparatively to his other works. They are in a league of their own. This is a much more romantic symphony in feel than his first one, but is rightly overshadowed by his third, fifth, sixth and ninth symphonies.

Saying that this is Beethoven's "second worse" symphony is also a bit silly, because it is great in and of itself, it is just the superlative quality of his other compositions that cast a shadow over it. It's his own fault for being so good.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Beethoven's Second Symphony was mostly written during Beethoven's stay at Heiligenstadt in 1802, which was near the time that he began to realize he was becoming deaf. Beethoven wrote the Second Symphony without having a standard minuet; a scherzo took its place, which gave the composition even greater scope and energy. After the symphony's premiere, critics noted the absence of the traditional minuet, and claimed the composition had great strength, but was altogether too eccentric.

The Whole symphony conducted by Karajan:

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