Day 199: Beethoven Symphonies 7 & 8

BeethovenCD4Even when I’m in a shitty mood (as I am right now), I can count on a Beethoven symphony to offer something interesting to discover that’ll lift me out of it.

And Symphony No. 7 in A Op. 92 offered plenty.

For one thing, Movement I (“Poco sostenuto – Vivace”) contained repeating melodies that I found myself listening for.

Movement I is dynamic in a way that I’ve come to expect from Beethoven. But also just as delicate.

But it was Movement II (“Allegretto”) that really caused me to sit up and take notice. I’ve heard this before. Recently, in fact. So I dug around a bit (meaning I Googled) and discovered that it’s part of the score to the Oscar-winning movie The King’s Speech. It’s the music playing as the King prepares to deliver his speech to the nation regarding England’s response to Hitler.

Movement II is as brilliant a piece of music as I’ve ever come across. It’s majestic, stately, melodic, intricate, and compelling. I am drawn to it. It is musical magic.

Speaking of the second movement (can I hear something remarkable, or can I hear something remarkable?), its entry on Wikipedia says this:

The Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92, is a symphony in four movements composed by Ludwig van Beethoven between 1811 and 1812, while improving his health in the Bohemian spa town of Teplice. The work is dedicated to Count Moritz von Fries.

At its première, Beethoven was noted as remarking that it was one of his best works. The second movement, Allegretto, was the most popular movement and had to be encored. The instant popularity of the Allegretto resulted in its frequent performance separate from the complete symphony.

And this, later in the Wiki entry:

The piece was very well received, and the second movement, the Allegretto, had to be encored immediately. Spohr made particular mention of Beethoven’s antics on the rostrum (“as a sforzando occurred, he tore his arms with a great vehemence asunder … at the entrance of a forte he jumped in the air”), and the concert was repeated due to its immense success.

See? The second movement was an instant hit. It struck me that way, too. A remarkable composition, the most achingly beautiful I’ve ever heard – possibly the Continue reading