Symphony No. 1 (Beethoven)

Symphony No. 1 (Beethoven)

Ludwig van Beethoven's "Symphony No. 1 in C Major (Op. 21)" was written in 17991800. The symphony premiered April 2, 1800 at the K.K. Hoftheater nächst der Burg in Vienna, and is dedicated to Baron Gottfried van Swieten, an early patron of the composer. The piece was published in 1801 by Hoffmeister & Kühnel of Leipzig.


The symphony is clearly indebted to Beethoven's predecessors, particularly his teacher Haydn, but nonetheless has characteristics that clearly mark it as Beethoven's work, notably the frequent use of "sforzandi" and the prominent use of wind instruments. Sketches for the finale are found among the exercises Beethoven wrote while studying counterpoint under Albrechtsberger in the spring of 1795.


The symphony is scored for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in C and D (see note below), 2 bassoons, 2 horns in C and F, 2 trumpets in C, timpani and strings.

The clarinet parts are commonly played on Bmusic|flat clarinet, as C and D clarinets are no longer widely used. However, there is some controversy over whether they should be played on Emusic|flat instruments instead. The Emusic|flat clarinet's timbre is much closer to that of the C and D clarinets than that of the warmer-sounding Bmusic|flat clarinet.Fact|date=November 2007


There are four movements:
#Adagio molto—Allegro con brio
#Andante cantabile con moto
#Menuetto: Allegro molto e vivace
#Adagio—Allegro molto e vivace

Its duration is about twenty-eight minutes.


The twelve-bar introduction of the first movement is often considered a musical joke, but it may simply be a result of Beethoven's experimentation: it consists of a sequence of dominant-tonic chord sequences in the wrong key, so that the listener only gradually realizes the real key of the symphony. There is a shortened recapitulation before the coda which closes the first movement. The andante (in F Major, the subdominant) of the second movement is played considerably faster than the general concept of that tempo, at what could be thought of as moderato. The third movement is remarkable because, although it is marked Menuetto, it is so fast that it is ostensibly a scherzo. The finale opens with another possible joke, consisting of partial scales played slowly before the full C-major scale marks the real start of the allegro.

External links

* Analysis of [ Beethoven Symphony No.1] at [ All About Ludwig van Beethoven]
* Analysis of [ Beethoven Symphony No.1] by French composer Hector Berlioz on [ The Hector Berlioz Website]
* [ Full score] of Beethoven's Symphony Number 1.
* [ Interview] with Christoph Eschenbach about the symphony.

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