Best 5 Beethoven Books on Amazon
1.Beethoven: The Universal Composer by Edmund Morris
2.Beethoven by Maynard Solomon
3.Beethoven: The Music and the Life by Lewis Lockwood
4.Late Beethoven: Music, Thought, Imagination by Maynard Solomon
5.Beethoven as I Knew Him by Anton Felix Schindler
The Beethoven Symphonies
A Step Forward
Beethoven’s symphonies cannot be analyzed without taking into account the whole creation of the great composer and of his predecessors.
If Haydn's or Mozart's music, and especially their symphonies, were composed to be more entertaining than profound, Beethoven gets us involved through everything he expresses, compelling us to take a stand. As proof of this fact we have the immense interest he still stirs, over 200 years after composing his first symphony and the numerous representations and concerts, but mostly we have the studies and works dedicated to the Beethoven Symphony, which were throughout time more than often controversial, at the same time offering unique aesthetic interpretations.
The Nine Symphonies
There are nine Beethoven symphonies, each of them being a masterpiece in itself, all different from each other, but at the same time, each one of them representing a certain stage in the evolution of the musical symphonic language of Beethoven.
- Symphony No. 1, in C major, op. 21 (1799-1800)
- Symphony No. 2, in D major, op.36 (1802)
- Symphony No. 3, in E flat major, op.55, also known as “Eroica”, (1804)
- Symphony No. 4, in B flat major, op. 60, (1806)
- Symphony No. 5, in C minor, op. 67 (1807)
- Symphony No. 6, in F major, op. 68, also known as „Pastoral” (1808)
- Symphony No. 7, in La major, op. 92, also known as “The Apotheosis of Dance”, (1812)
- Symphony No. 8, in F major, op.93 also known as “The Little Symphony”(1812)
- Symphony No. 9, with a choir and soloists, in D minor, op.125 (1817-1825)
If we try to understand his early symphonies we must do that by first studying Haydn’s and Mozart’s works as Beethoven’s first and second symphonies are the continuation of the Viennese symphony tradition, - mostly represented by Haydn’s and Mozart’s compositions – characterized by maximum rigor in creating themes, choosing means of expression and most of all in establishing musical architecture.
His third symphony, the “Eroica” marks a new period in Beethoven’s musical creation. This work, with its strong programmatic background, prefigures the apparition of the romantic symphony. The march, as a musical genre, is introduced for the first time ever in a symphony, in the second part. The classical symphony begins to fade away.
The next symphonies build on his previous work innovating and surprising at the same time. His fifth symphony is unique through its sonata like form of the first part. His sixth, “The Pastoral”, can be considered a series of symphonic poems connected by related melodic motifs.
In his seventh and eighth symphonies, Beethoven brings new elements in the aesthetic expression of musical content while his ninth and final work represents the apogee of the Beethoven symphony. The “Choral”, as it is known, represents the synthesis of all the musical means of expression utilized by Beethoven until that point, and builds even further by introducing the choir in the fourth part.
Beethoven himself said, "Symphonies are the best representation of my true self. I always seem to hear within me the sounds of a great orchestra."
Read more about Beethoven's music
- The piano sonatas - Analysis of the sonata form and the most important Beethoven Piano Sonatas.
- Trios - General discussion regarding Beethoven's trios for various instruments and ensembles.
- Sonatas for Cello and Piano - Discussion about Beethoven's five cello and piano sonatas.
- Sonatas for Violin and Piano - Overview of Beethoven's ten sonatas for violin and piano.
- String Quartets - Brief analysis of Beethoven's seventeen string quartets.
- The Opera "Fidelio" - The background, subject and influences of Beethoven's only opera.
- The Concertos - Beethoven's five piano concertos, his violin concerto and triple concerto analyzed.
- The Overtures - Brief overview of some of the most important Beethoven overtures.