Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/42

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��SYMPHONY.

��succeeded the Eroica Symphony is almost im- possible to unravel. By opus-number the 4th Symphony, in Bb, comes very soon, being op. 60; but the sketches for the last movement are in the same sketch-book as parts of Fidelio, which is op. 72, and the Concerto in G, which is op. 58, was begun after Fidelio was finished. It can only be seen clearly that his works were crowded close together in this part of his life, and interest attaches to the fact that they represent the warm- est and most popular group of all. Close to the Bb Symphony come the Overture to ' Coriolan,' the three String Quartets, op. 59, the Violin Con- certo, the PF. ditto in G major, the Symphony in C minor, and the ' Sinfonia Pastorale.' The Bb is on a smaller scale than its predecessor, and of lighter and gayer cast. The opening bars of the Introduction are almost the only part which has a trace of sadness in it ; and this is probably meant to throw the brightness of the rest of the work into stronger relief. Even the Slow Move- ment contains more serenity than deep emotion. The Scherzo is peculiar for having the Trio re- peated altogether a new point in symphony- writing, and one which was not left unrepeated or unimitated. What the symphony was meant to express cannot be known, but it certainly is as complete and consistent as any.

The C minor which followed has been said to be the first in which Beethoven expressed him- self freely and absolutely, and threw away all traces of formalism in expression or development to give vent to the perfect utterance of his musi- cal feeling. It certainly is so far the most forcible, and most remote from conventionalism of every kind. It was probably written very nearly about the same time as the Bb. Notte- bohm says the first two movements were written in 1805 ; and, if this is the fact, his work on the Bb and on the C minor must have overlapped. Nothing however could be much stronger than the contrast between the two. The C minor is, in the first and most striking movement, rugged, terrible in force ; a sort of struggle with fate, one of the most thoroughly characteristic of Beetho- ven's productions. The second is a contrast; peaceful, though strong and earnest. The Scherzo again is one of his most original movements ; in its musical spirit as utterly unlike anything that had been produced before as possible. Full of fancy, fun, and humour, and-, notwithstanding the pauses and changes of time, wonderful in swing ; and containing some devices of orchestration quite magical in their clearness, and their fitness to the ideas. The last movement, which follows without break after the Scherzo, is triumphant ; seeming to express the mastery in the wrestling and striving of the first movement. It is histori- cally interesting as the first appearance of trom- bones and contrafagotto in modern symphony; and the most powerful in sound up to that time. The next symphony, which is also the next opus- number, is the popular 'Pastoral, 'probably written in 1808, the second of Beethoven's which has a definitely stated idea as the basis of its inspira- tion, and the first in which a programme is sug-

��SYMPHONY.

gested for each individual movement; though Beethoven is careful to explain that it is mehr Empfindung als Malerei.' Any account of this happy inspiration is clearly superfluous. The situations and scenes which it brings to the mind are familiar, and not likely to be less beloved as the world grows older. The style is again in great contrast to that of the C minor, being characterised rather by serenity and content- ment ; which, as Beethoven had not heard of all the troubles of the land question, might naturally be his feelings about country life. He used two trombones in the last two movements, but otherwise contented himself with the same group of instruments as in his earliest symphonies.

After this there was a pause for some years, during which time appeared many noble and delightful works on other lines, including the pianoforte trios in D and Eb, the Mass in C minor, op. 86, the music to Egmont, op. 84, and several sonatas. Then in one year, 1812, two symphonies appeared. The first of the two, in A major, num- bered op. 92, is looked upon by many as the most romantic of all of them ; and certainly has quali- ties which increase in attractiveness the better it is known and understood. 1 Among specially noticeable points are the unusual proportions and great interest of the Introduction (poco sostenuto) ; the singular and fascinating wilful- ness of the first movement, which is enhanced by some very characteristic orchestration; the noble calm of the slow movement; the merry humour of the scherzo, which has again the same peculi- arity as the 4th Symphony, that the trio is re- peated (for which the world has every reason to be thankful, as it is one of the most completely enjoyable things in all symphonic literature) ; and finally the wild headlong abandonment of the last movement, which might be an idealised national or rather barbaric dance-movement, and which sets the crown fitly upon one of the most characteristic of Beethoven's works. The Symphony in F, which follows immediately as P- 93 is again of a totally different character. It is of specially small proportions, and has rather the character of a return to the old conditions of the Symphony, with all the advantages of Bee- thoven's mature powers both in the development and choice of ideas, and in the treatment of the orchestra. Beethoven himself, in a letter to Salo- mon, described it as 'eine kleine Symphonic in F,' as distinguished from the previous one, which he called ' Grosse Symphonic in A, eine meiner vorzuglichsten.' It has more fun and light-heart- edness in it than any of the others, but no other specially distinctive external characteristics, ex- cept the substitution of the graceful and humor- ous 'Allegretto scherzando' in the place of the slow movement, and a return to the Tempo di Menuetto for the scherzo. After this came again a long pause, as the greatest of all symphonies did not make its appearance till 1824. During that time however, it is probable that symphonic work was not out of his mind, for it is certain that the preparations for putting this symphony down oa i Beethoven's own view of it mar be read just below.

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