Monday, April 24, 2006

Vienna Phil

In honor of Shua analyzing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, I decided to listen to it this week. I have a recording of the Vienna Philharmonic playing it on my iTunes and it, of course, was very well performed. Like myself, Beethoven also liked this symphony quite a bit, saying that it was his “most excellent symphony.” This symphony is quite accessible to listen to relative to a few of his other symphonies. The first movement starts off slowly before moving into the vivace section. Like many other first movements of symphonies, this movement is in sonata form. Beethoven seems to like the slower beginnings to his symphonies, taking a few minutes to even state the rest of the theme for the rest of the movement. In this movement, it takes around four minutes to get to a place where we hear hints of the theme for the rest of the movement. It is only then that he moves into the vivace section. This movement has some of the best horn excerpts of any of his music, writing perfectly for the sound and the logistical aspect of the horn. Good choice Shua. The second movement is almost haunting. Again, while looking at the background of this symphony, I found it interesting that Wikipedia reported that some of the musicians in the Philadelphia Orchestra played this movement when they received notice that a colleague or former musician of the orchestra died. This movement drips with the quiet emotionality that makes this movement so powerful. I also found it interesting that it became common tradition in the nineteenth century to repeat this movement. I wonder a bit why that decision by conductors was make; the piece is sufficiently long and accessible the first time around. Hmmm….Spiegelberg, what do you think of them messing with the form of the symphony? The third movement is quick and light, as was common with scherzo trios. The last movement, like the third, is quick. Perhaps this is why conductors liked to repeat the second movement. The fourth, like the first, movement has some of the best horn excerpts that Beethoven offers in his symphonies. This symphony is quite accessible and is a blast to listen to. I would definitely recommend listening to the recording of the Vienna Phil; there is something about listening to a recording with a full section of the Viennese horn players that is really exciting and is as Beethoven intended.

1 comment:

Scott Spiegelberg said...

Yes, I think this would change the form. There is a good analysis of the symphony showing the harmonic relationships of the four movements, which explains why the 2nd movement starts and ends with a second-inversion chord. Repeating this movement would over emphasize its part in the overall harmonic motion.

What the conductors should be doing is taking all the notated repeats in the third movement. It ends up being a very modified Ternary form with some subtle jokes thrown in.