A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Crescendo
CRESCENDO—increasing, i. e. in loudness. One of the most important effects in music. It is expressed by cresc. and by the sign . Sometimes the word is expanded—cres … cen … do—to cover the whole space affected. As with so many other things now familiar, Beethoven was practically the inventor of the crescendo. In the works of his predecessors, even in such symphonies as the G minor and 'Jupiter' of Mozart, it is very rarely to be found. Among the most famous instances in Beethoven are that in the 'working out' (after the double bar) of the first movement of the Symphony in B♭ (No. 4). This immortal passage, which so excited the wrath of Weber, begins in the strings and drum ppp, and continues so for 13 bars; then a shade louder, pp, for 31 bars; and then a crescendo of 8 bars with the same instruments, ending in the reprise of the subject fortissimo, and with full orchestra.
Another instance, on a still more extended scale, is in the coda to the last movement of Schubert's Symphony in C (No. 9), where the operation is divided into distinct steps—first 8 bars ppp; then 24 bars pp; then 12 bars p; then 16 bar crescendo to mf; then 12 bars crescendo to f; then a crescendo of 8 bars to ff fz; and lastly a final advance of 36 more to fff.A short crescendo of remarkable effect is found in the Finale to Schumann's D minor Symphony.
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