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Home>Beethoven Music>Beethoven Symphonies>Symphony No.8

Symphony No. 8

Symphony No. 8 in F major, op. 93 is the shortest of all, hence called “The Little Symphony in F major” and it perfectly fits the pattern of 18th century classical symphony. It is composed around the same time as Symphony No. 7, but it differs from it. On the symphony’s manuscript there is a note made by the composer: " Sinfonia Linz, im Monat Oktober 1812", a reminder of the visit Beethoven made his brother Johann upon returning from Teplitz.

Part I – Allegro vivace con brio – in the form of a sonata with the first theme in a ternary rhythmical pulsation of great lyricism, presented without an introduction, conferring the whole moment a festive allure. The second theme is rendered by the primary and secondary violins, at first as a slow movement and then more and more severe. Through its tempo, but especially through its ternary rhythm, this part acquires a prevailing dancing nature, apparently attempting to reconstruct the atmosphere and sonority of the minuet at its beginnings.

Excerpt from Symphony No. VIII, Part I

Part II – Allegretto scherzando – has a humorous note, a jesting tone, a lyrical musical theme, but elegant nevertheless. The commentators of that time assert that Beethoven composed this part as a dedication to his friend, Johann Nepomuk Melzel, the inventor of the metronome and of other acoustic devices Beethoven used.

Part III – Tempo di Menuetto – is based on the theme of an Austrian dance with a clear folkloric twist, in a slow movement, which evokes the atmosphere of popular parties rather than that of Viennese salons.

Part IV – Allegro vivace – is brilliantly composed in a rondo-sonata form and has the same humorous character as the second part.
     Beethoven's 8th symphony, despite its simplicity, can be considered a true masterpiece, opening the way for Romantic composers in the approach of this genre and consequently in its development.
     Symphony No. 8 in F major op. 93 was presented in first audition on February 27th 1814 in the concert hall of the Vienna Theatre, receiving a remarkably warm welcome from the public.

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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