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Home>Beethoven Music>Beethoven Symphonies>Symphony No.4

Symphony No. 4

Symphony No. 4 in B flat major, op. 60 is a creation that found no justice, considered to be an intermediary symphony between Symphony No. 3 and Symphony No. 5. The story of its appearance is pretty uncertain because no drafts remained. We only know it was written while Beethoven was working on Symphony No.5 . Nevertheless, it can be considered a study on the problematic of classical symphony.

Part I – Allegro vivace – starts with a slow introduction which contains all the traces of the entire symphonic discourse, coming as a true synthesis of the symphony. The two themes are successively shown in the form of sonatas with great concision, the movement ending in a Coda which is nothing but a culmination and not a conclusion as we might have expected from his previous works.

Part II – Adagio – its main theme is of great musicality through the prime violins and it is followed by another theme with resonances from the previous symphony.

Part III – Allegro vivace – is full of life, structured on Beethoven’s scherzo principle, only much more improved. Thematic elements can be easily recognized from the introduction of the first part.

Part IV – Allegro ma non troppo – in the form of a sonata with a Coda in large dimensions, it expresses the same vital force and joy of life.

The freshness and spontaneity of the themes, the lack of tragic motives, the perfection of the form triggered the enthusiasm of his contemporaries. German composer Robert Schumann was comparing it to “a supple Greek girl, standing in between two giants from the West” , while Mendelssohn Bartholdy chose it to be performed at his first concert at Gewandhaus in Leipzig

Read more about all the other Beethoven symphonies

 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.
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1. Beethoven: The Universal Composer by Edmund Morris;

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3. Beetoven: The Music and the Life by Lewis Lockwood;

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5. Beethoven as I Knew Him by Anton Felix Schindler;

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