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Beethoven's Symphonies

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by jazzbo, May 30, 2001.

  1. Symphony No. 1 in C

    0 vote(s)
  2. Symphony No. 2 in D

    3 vote(s)
  3. Symphony No. 3 in Eb "Eroica"

    17 vote(s)
  4. Symphony No. 4 in Bb

    0 vote(s)
  5. Symphony No. 5 in c

    10 vote(s)
  6. Symphony No. 6 in F "Pastoral"

    10 vote(s)
  7. Symphony No. 7 in A

    13 vote(s)
  8. Symphony No. 8 in F

    3 vote(s)
  9. Symphony No. 9 in D "Choral"

    20 vote(s)
  1. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I was curious as to everyone's favorite symphony by Beethoven. I'm not saying that Beethoven is the greatest composer, I just happened to choose his name. Also, it would be too vast to include sonatas, canons, concertos and other pieces, so I thought I would stick to symphonies.

    Is there a particular symphony that moves you more than others? What is it about that symphony? And I'm not just referring to the bass of course, but the entire song. Any critical analysis of any of the pieces is most certainly welcomed.

    I have to say that the 9th symphony is my favorite. I know that often this piece is dismissed by many critics, but it is definitely my favorite. Although I really enjoy the Pastoral, there's something about this piece. Also, it's one of the first pieces of classical music that I critically listened to. Hearing a chorus behind an orchestra makes for some extremely powerful music in my opinion. The poem's melody is strong and triumphant. I've always considered it probably my favorite overall composition of art music.
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I didn't vote because I couldn't choose between 3, 5, 6, and 7. Back in my undergrad days, I was in the chorus for a performance of the 9th (including 7,486 rehearsals), and burned out on it. If you're a very mediocre bass with limited range, it's also easy to get bugged at the guy for writing so many high F's at ff dynamic. If he had heard what they sounded like when I sang them, I bet he would have scored that part differently.

    My favorite Beethoven piece of all time is the String Quartet op. 131 in c# minor, which also isn't on the poll.
  3. Though it was a tough call, I voted 9th. There's jsut something special about this piece of music. I'm not quite sure what it is, but its something the others don't have.

  4. dhosek


    May 25, 2000
    Los Angeles, CA
    Not going to vote on this one, but it's kind of funny because I just picked up (yesterday) The Barenboim/Berliner Staatskapelle recording of the Beethoven Symphonies. A very nice set and well worth the $85. For those of you with truly high-fi equipment the individual discs can also be purchased in DVD audio with 4 channel 96/24 sound.

  5. Chris, you ought to take a look at the doublebass part sometime, *especially* movement 4.
  6. I like them all...

    Now if we start talking about versions (or interpretations) then there are so many to choose from that there could easily be a whole BBS on that one subject. Amongst my favourites are the piano transcriptions of all nine by Franz Liszt - he did "easy" two-piano versions, but there are also the "solo" versions where one pianist plays the whole thing. If you really want to hear how it should be done, check out the Cyprien Katsaris version on Teldec - an experience not to be missed!

    . da da da duuuuuummmmm!

    - Wil
  7. Have you ever heard the song by Franz Schubert, based on the same Schiller poem? It's interesting to hear it, and then hear what L v. B did with the same text...

    - Wil
  8. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I have not heard that. I'm going to have to dig that up. What's the piece?
  9. The title is "An Die Freude", D189 - op (posth) 111, #1 (1815) - the Dietrich Fischer-Diesksau/Gerald Moore recording is particularly good. You'll most probably have to get it as part of a set. The DF-D/GM version is on Deutsche- Grammophon (Vol 1. of the 3-volume set of complete Schubert Lieder).

    I'm so used to the Schubert song, that it seems strange to hear the L v. B setting - well, it is rather "hackneyed" in Europe, as it is used as the "Anthem for the European Economic Community" (bastards! can't they leave ANYTHING alone! grrrrr!!!)

    - Wil

    PS: If you like pure melody, that is melody for its own sake, totally original, then Schubert's Lieder take some beating...
  10. Wow the 9th is very much in the lead, what did all you guys watch ClockWork Orange to many times?
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think my favourite symphony is Mahler's 6th Symphony; unless you count the Turangalila by Messiaen as a "Symphony".

    Seeing as we're talking about "unfinished" works as well - Simon Rattle's recording of Mahler's 10th finished by Cooke was one of my favourite CDs of last year - how come the poll doesn't include Beethoven's 10th Symphony? I have a nice CD of Beethoven's 10th - or would you class this as Brahms' 1st ? ;)

    I think I prefer Beethoven's piano concertos and late quartets, but I do like the 9th Symphony - however. I think in a sense that Mahler "developed" the genre of song/symphony that Beethoven initiated and I would always prefer to listen to Mahler's symphonys - I find I can listen to these over and over again and discover new things about them; but Beethoven's 9th has "palled" on repeated listenings for me.
  12. For anyone who thinks we're harsh over here, check out these reviews of Beethoven:
    #2 - "Beethoven's 2nd Symphony is a crass monster, a hideously writhing wounded dragon, that refuses to expire, and though bleeding in the Finale, furiously beats about with its tail erect." Vienna, 1904
    #7 - This has that beautiful Allegretto string theme. The first time it was played, the audience burst into applause in the middle of the movement. Still, von Weber, a conductor, said that Beethoven was now ready for the madhouse. Clara Schumann's father said it could only have been written in a state of drunkenness, and that it lacked melody. Also: "...the author has indulged in a great deal of disagreeable eccentricity...we cannot yet discover any design in it, neither can we trace any connection in its parts..." - Harmonicom, London.; "...in the preceding symphonies traces of the third style of Beethoven are limited to a few wrong chords, superimposed intervals of a second, the failure to prepare and to resolve dissonances. In the 7th, the fantasm mounts...Look.. at the deplorable ending of the Andante. Look and weep! Can one imagine F# and G# accompanied by a chord of Am!...In the last movement...adding melodic ugliness to harmonic ugliness..." (Does anyone know who Oulibicheff is? He wrote this stuff)
    #9 - "...Oh, the pages of stupid and hopelessly vulgar music! The unspeakable ugliness of the tune, 'Freude, Freude!'" [By the way, Beeth. borrowed the theme from Mozart - Don] Philip Hale, Boston, 1899
    "If this symphony is not by some means abridged, it will fall into disuse." Harmonicom, 1829
    There's more, but this is enough. I voted for the 9th.
  13. My vote was for the Ninth. I have two recordings of it: one with Ernest Ansermet conducting L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and the other with Toscanini conducting the NBC Symphony. Although I prefer the Ansermet versions of just about every other classical piece I own (for example Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade" which is my all-time favorite), I like the Toscanini version of the Ninth better.
  14. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Mahler's adagio from the 10th is one of the most gorgeous pieces I've ever heard. If I even THINK about the viola melody at the beginning, I get goose bumps. I hear a great connection between Mahler's late melodic style and the "semi-tonal" melodic style of Bartok, another of my favorites for melody.

    For complete works, I'd have to vote for Mahler's 9th. The scope of that work is astounding, although I'm pretty sure the attention span required to appreciated it is well beyond that of the current youth generation. Sadly, I'll bet 99.99999% percent of those born after 1975 will never be able to even begin to understand how to appreciate something like that.

    Oy, vegh!.......Kids today.......
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Have you heard the Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic version of the Deryck Cooke "completion" of Mahler's 10th Symphony ? This was one of my most played CDs of last year and was Gramophone magazine's record of the year.
    The first movement is particularly good in this version and it is just wondeful not to have to stop there!
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    The first movement Adagio was the only movement to be completed and orchestrated, then the two Scherzos were outlined in full score. Then there is an "Allegretto moderato" which is usually known as "Purgatorio" which actually sits between the scherzos as the 3rd movement; but this and the 5th movement Finale are little more than sketches with no real orchestration.
  17. Hmmm... My favorite Beethoven to play is definitely the 9th, but to listen to... that depends on the mood I'm in, but I prefer 3, 5, 8, and 9. The 8th never gets played enough IMO.

    Mahler... got to be the 6th.

    As far as favorite symphony overall, that would have to be Shostakovich 11th, or maybe the 13th.
  18. Beethoven deserves his own exclusive thread.
    But since Mahler keeps getting thrust into this, put me down for #4.
  19. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I picked the 5th; I like how the 3rd & 4th Movements segue...is that majestic or what?
    I really like how Beethoven inverted the 1st Movement's rhythmic motif(da-da-da-duh...3 'shorts' & a 'long')into this, found in the 4th Movement: 3 'longs' & a 'short'. Genius.

    I wonder how many prefer 'their' Beethoven in an authentic/orchestra size of his period(like Christopher Hogwood) vs. 'their' Beethoven performed with today's full-size orchestra(like Karajan).
  20. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Yes - I've heard the 9th done on "period" instruments and it does sound very different. The scherzo sounds very strange with "period" tympany.

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