Symphony Surround

An immersive orchestra experience benefitting the California Symphony

Chabot Space & Science Center

4 hours; check-in opens at 5:45

This performance has already taken place

What’s Interesting About This Event

  • The orchestra performs literally surrounding dinner guests as you dine, like we’re all on stage together. No other professional orchestra engages its patrons this way.
  • This year, guests enjoy a bonus performance under the planetarium dome with projections timed with the music. Complete with adult snacks and beverages, included with your ticket.
  • Add in a silent and live auction, and all proceeds directly support the professional musicians in the orchestra, the young artists whose careers we launch, and the children we serve through our education programs.

The Program

ReichPieces of Wood (claves)

Reich performing Clapping Music in 2006

Stephen Michael Reich (/rʃ/ RYSH;[1][2] born October 3, 1936) is an American composer known for his contribution to the development of minimal music in the mid to late 1960s.[3][4][5]

Reich's work is marked by its use of repetitive figures, slow harmonic rhythm, and canons. His innovations include using tape loops to create phasing patterns, as on the early compositions It's Gonna Rain (1965) and Come Out (1966), and the use of simple, audible processes, as on Pendulum Music (1968) and Four Organs (1970). The 1978 recording Music for 18 Musicians would help entrench minimalism as a movement.[6] Reich's work took on a darker character in the 1980s with the introduction of historical themes as well as themes from his Jewish heritage, notably Different Trains (1988).

Reich's style of composition has influenced many contemporary composers and groups, especially in the US. Writing in The Guardian, music critic Andrew Clements suggested that Reich is one of "a handful of living composers who can legitimately claim to have altered the direction of musical history".[7]

Early life

Reich was born in New York City to the Broadway lyricist June Sillman and Leonard Reich. When he was one year old, his parents divorced, and Reich divided his time between New York and California. He is the half-brother of writer Jonathan Carroll.[8] He was given piano lessons as a child and describes growing up with the "middle-class favorites", having no exposure to music written before 1750 or after 1900. At the age of 14 he began to study music in earnest, after hearing music from the Baroque period and earlier, as well as music of the 20th century.[9] Reich studied drums with Roland Kohloff in order to play jazz. While attending Cornell University, he minored in music and graduated in 1957 with a B.A. in Philosophy.[10] Reich's B.A. thesis was on Ludwig Wittgenstein;[11][citation needed] later he would set texts by that philosopher to music in Proverb (1995) and You Are (variations) (2006).

For a year following graduation, Reich studied composition privately with Hall Overton before he enrolled at Juilliard[12] to work with William Bergsma and Vincent Persichetti (1958–1961). Subsequently, he attended Mills College in Oakland, California, where he studied with Luciano Berio and Darius Milhaud (1961–1963) and earned a master's degree in composition. At Mills, Reich composed Melodica for melodica and tape, which appeared in 1986 on the three-LP release Music from Mills.[13]

Reich worked with the San Francisco Tape Music Center along with Pauline Oliveros, Ramon Sender, Morton Subotnick, Phil Lesh and Terry Riley.[14] He was involved with the premiere of Riley's In C and suggested the use of the eighth note pulse, which is now standard in performance of the piece.



Reich's early forays into composition involved experimentation with twelve-tone composition, but he found the rhythmic aspects of the number twelve more interesting than the pitch aspects.[15] Reich also composed film soundtracks for Plastic Haircut (1963), Oh Dem Watermelons (1965), and Thick Pucker (1965), three films by Robert Nelson. The soundtrack of Plastic Haircut, composed in 1963, was a short tape collage, possibly Reich's first. The Watermelons soundtrack used two 19th-century minstrel tunes as its basis, and used repeated phrasing together in a large five-part canon. The music for Thick Pucker arose from street recordings Reich made walking around San Francisco with Nelson, who filmed in black and white 16mm. This film no longer survives. A fourth film from 1965, about 25 minutes long and tentatively entitled "Thick Pucker II", was assembled by Nelson from outtakes of that shoot and more of the raw audio Reich had recorded. Nelson was not happy with the resulting film and never showed it.

Reich was influenced by fellow minimalist Terry Riley, whose work In C combines simple musical patterns, offset in time, to create a slowly shifting, cohesive whole. Reich adopted this approach to compose his first major work, It's Gonna Rain. Composed in 1965, the piece used a fragment of a sermon about the end of the world given by a black Pentecostal street-preacher known as Brother Walter. Reich built on his early tape work, transferring the last three words of the fragment, "it's gonna rain!", to multiple tape loops which gradually move out of phase with one another.

The 13-minute Come Out (1966) uses similarly manipulated recordings of a single spoken line given by Daniel Hamm, one of the falsely accused Harlem Six, who was severely injured by police.[16] The survivor, who had been beaten, punctured a bruise on his own body to convince police about his beating. The spoken line includes the phrase "to let the bruise’s blood come out to show them." Reich rerecorded the fragment "come out to show them" on two channels, which are initially played in unison. They quickly slip out of sync; gradually the discrepancy widens and becomes a reverberation. The two voices then split into four, looped continuously, then eight, and continues splitting until the actual words are unintelligible, leaving the listener with only the speech's rhythmic and tonal patterns.

Melodica (1966) takes the phase looping idea of his previous works and applies it to instrumental music. Steve Reich took a simple melody, which he played on a melodica, then recorded it. He then sets the melody to two separate channels, and slowly moves them out of phase, creating an intricate interlocking melody. This piece is very similar to Come Out in rhythmic structure, and are an example of how one rhythmic process can be realized in different sounds to create two different pieces of music. Reich was inspired to compose this piece from a dream he had on May 22, 1966, and put the piece together in one day. Melodica was the last piece Reich composed solely for tape, and he considers it his transition from tape music to instrumental music.[17]

Reich's first attempt at translating this phasing technique from recorded tape to live performance was the 1967 Piano Phase, for two pianos. In Piano Phase the performers repeat a rapid twelve-note melodic figure, initially in unison. As one player keeps tempo with robotic precision, the other speeds up very slightly until the two parts line up again, but one sixteenth note apart. The second player then resumes the previous tempo. This cycle of speeding up and then locking in continues throughout the piece; the cycle comes full circle three times, the second and third cycles using shorter versions of the initial figure. Violin Phase, also written in 1967, is built on these same lines. Piano Phase and Violin Phase both premiered in a series of concerts given in New York art galleries.

A similar, lesser known example of this so-called process music is Pendulum Music (1968), which consists of the sound of several microphones swinging over the loudspeakers to which they are attached, producing feedback as they do so. "Pendulum Music" has never been recorded by Reich himself, but was introduced to rock audiences by Sonic Youth in the late 1990s.

Reich also tried to create the phasing effect in a piece "that would need no instrument beyond the human body". He found that the idea of phasing was inappropriate for the simple ways he was experimenting to make sound. Instead, he composed Clapping Music (1972), in which the players do not phase in and out with each other, but instead one performer keeps one line of a 12-eighth-note-long (12-quaver-long) phrase and the other performer shifts by one eighth note beat every 12 bars, until both performers are back in unison 144 bars later.[18]

The 1967 prototype piece was not performed although Chris Hughes performed it 27 years later as on his Reich-influenced 1994 album . It introduced the idea of slowing down a recorded sound until many times its original length without changing pitch or timbre, which Reich applied to Four Organs (1970), which deals specifically with augmentation. The piece has maracas playing a fast eighth note pulse, while the four organs stress certain eighth notes using an 11th chord. This work therefore dealt with repetition and subtle rhythmic change. In contrast to Reich's typical cyclical structure, Four Organs is unique among his work in using a linear structure—the superficially similar , also for four organs but without maracas, is (as the name suggests) a cyclical phase piece similar to others composed during the period. Four Organs was performed as part of a Boston Symphony Orchestra program, and was Reich's first composition to be performed in a large traditional setting.


In 1970, Reich embarked on a five-week trip to study music in Ghana, during which he learned from the master drummer Gideon Alorwoyie. Reich also studied Balinese gamelan in Seattle in 1973 and 1974.[19][when?] From his African experience, as well as A. M. Jones's Studies in African Music about the music of the Ewe people, Reich drew inspiration for his 90-minute piece Drumming, which he composed shortly after his return. Composed for a nine-piece percussion ensemble with female voices and piccolo, Drumming marked the beginning of a new stage in his career, for around this time he formed his ensemble, Steve Reich and Musicians, and increasingly concentrated on composition and performance with them. Steve Reich and Musicians, which was to be the sole ensemble to interpret his works for many years, still remains active with many of its original members.[citation needed]

After Drumming, Reich moved on from the "phase shifting" technique that he had pioneered, and began writing more elaborate pieces. He investigated other musical processes such as augmentation (the temporal lengthening of phrases and melodic fragments). It was during this period that he wrote works such as Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices and Organ (1973) and Six Pianos (1973).

In 1974, Reich began writing Music for 18 Musicians. This piece involved many new ideas, although it also hearkened back to earlier pieces. It is based on a cycle of eleven chords introduced at the beginning (called "Pulses"), followed by a small section of music based on each chord ("Sections I-XI"), and finally a return to the original cycle ("Pulses"). This was Reich's first attempt at writing for larger ensembles. The increased number of performers resulted in more scope for psychoacoustic effects, which fascinated Reich, and he noted that he would like to "explore this idea further". Reich remarked that this one work contained more harmonic movement in the first five minutes than any other work he had written. Steve Reich and Musicians made the premier recording of this work on ECM Records.

Reich explored these ideas further in his frequently recorded pieces Music for a Large Ensemble (1978) and Octet (1979). In these two works, Reich experimented with "the human breath as the measure of musical duration ... the chords played by the trumpets are written to take one comfortable breath to perform".[20] Human voices are part of the musical palette in Music for a Large Ensemble but the wordless vocal parts simply form part of the texture (as they do in Drumming). With Octet and his first orchestral piece Variations for Winds, Strings and Keyboards (also 1979), Reich's music showed the influence of Biblical cantillation, which he had studied in Israel since the summer of 1977. After this, the human voice singing a text would play an increasingly important role in Reich's music.

The technique [...] consists of taking pre-existing melodic patterns and stringing them together to form a longer melody in the service of a holy text. If you take away the text, you're left with the idea of putting together small motives to make longer melodies – a technique I had not encountered before.[21]

In 1974 Reich published the book Writings About Music, containing essays on his philosophy, aesthetics, and musical projects written between 1963 and 1974. An updated and much more extensive collection, Writings On Music (1965–2000), was published in 2002.


Reich's work took on a darker character in the 1980s with the introduction of historical themes as well as themes from his Jewish heritage. Tehillim (1981), Hebrew for psalms, is the first of Reich's works to draw explicitly on his Jewish background. The work is in four parts, and is scored for an ensemble of four women's voices (one high soprano, two lyric sopranos and one alto), piccolo, flute, oboe, English horn, two clarinets, six percussion (playing small tuned tambourines without jingles, clapping, maracas, marimba, vibraphone and crotales), two electronic organs, two violins, viola, cello and double bass, with amplified voices, strings, and winds. A setting of texts from Psalms 19:2–5 (19:1–4 in Christian translations), 34:13–15 (34:12–14), 18:26–27 (18:25–26), and 150:4–6, Tehillim is a departure from Reich's other work in its formal structure; the setting of texts several lines long rather than the fragments used in previous works makes melody a substantive element. Use of formal counterpoint and functional harmony also contrasts with the loosely structured minimalist works written previously.

Different Trains (1988), for string quartet and tape, uses recorded speech, as in his earlier works, but this time as a melodic rather than a rhythmic element. In Different Trains, Reich compares and contrasts his childhood memories of his train journeys between New York and California in 1939–1941 with the very different trains being used to transport contemporaneous European children to their deaths under Nazi rule. The Kronos Quartet recording of Different Trains was awarded the Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition in 1990. The composition was described by Richard Taruskin as "the only adequate musical response—one of the few adequate artistic responses in any medium—to the Holocaust", and he credited the piece with earning Reich a place among the great composers of the 20th century.[22]


In 1993, Reich collaborated with his wife, the video artist Beryl Korot, on an opera, The Cave, which explores the roots of Judaism, Christianity and Islam through the words of Israelis, Palestinians, and Americans, echoed musically by the ensemble. The work, for percussion, voices, and strings, is a musical documentary, named for the Cave of Machpelah in Hebron, where a mosque now stands and Abraham is said to have been buried.

Reich and Korot collaborated on the opera Three Tales, which concerns the Hindenburg disaster, the testing of nuclear weapons on Bikini Atoll, and other more modern concerns, specifically Dolly the sheep, cloning, and the technological singularity.

Reich used sampling techniques for pieces like Three Tales and City Life from 1994. Reich returned to composing purely instrumental works for the concert hall, starting with Triple Quartet in 1998 written for the Kronos Quartet that can either be performed by string quartet and tape, three string quartets or 36-piece string orchestra. According to Reich, the piece is influenced by Bartók's and Alfred Schnittke's string quartets, and Michael Gordon's Yo Shakespeare.[23]


The instrumental series for the concert hall continued with Dance Patterns (2002), Cello Counterpoint (2003), and sequence of works centered around Variations: You Are (Variations) (2004), a work which looks back to the vocal writing of works like Tehillim or The Desert Music, in 2005, for the London Sinfonietta and Daniel Variations (2006).

in 2002 Reich was invited by Walter Fink to the annual Komponistenporträt of the Rheingau Musik Festival, as the 12th composer featured.

In an interview with The Guardian, Reich stated that he continued to follow this direction with his piece Double Sextet (2007), which was commissioned by eighth blackbird, an American ensemble consisting of the instrumental quintet (flute, clarinet, violin or viola, cello and piano) of Schoenberg's piece Pierrot Lunaire (1912) plus percussion. Reich states that he was thinking about Stravinsky's Agon (1957) as a model for the instrumental writing.[citation needed]

December 2010 Nonesuch Records and Indaba Music held a community remix contest in which over 250 submissions were received, and Steve Reich and Christian Carey judged the finals. Reich spoke in a related BBC interview that once he composed a piece he would not alter it again himself; "When it's done, it's done," he said. On the other hand, he acknowledged that remixes have an old tradition e.g. famous religious music pieces where melodies were further developed into new songs.[24]


Reich premiered a piece, WTC 9/11, written for String Quartet and Tape (a similar instrumentation to that of Different Trains) in March 2011. It was performed by the Kronos Quartet, at Duke University, North Carolina, US.[25]

On March 5, 2013, the London Sinfonietta, conducted by Brad Lubman, at the Royal Festival Hall in London gave the world premiere of Radio Rewrite for ensemble with 11 players, inspired by the music of Radiohead. The programme also included Double Sextet for ensemble with 12 players, Clapping Music, for two people and four hands featuring Reich himself alongside percussionist Colin Currie, Electric Counterpoint, with electric guitar by Mats Bergström accompanied by a layered soundtrack, as well as two of Reich's small ensemble pieces, one for acoustic instruments, the other for electric instruments and tape.[26]

Music for Ensemble and Orchestra was premiered on November 4, 2018 by the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Susanna Mälkki at Walt Disney Concert Hall, marking Reich's return to writing for orchestra after an interval of more than thirty years.[27][28]


In 2005, Reich was awarded the Edward MacDowell Medal.[29][30]

Reich was awarded with the Praemium Imperiale Award in Music in October 2006.[31]

On January 25, 2007, Reich was named 2007 recipient of the Polar Music Prize with jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins.[32]

On April 20, 2009, Reich was awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Music, recognizing Double Sextet, first performed in Richmond March 26, 2008. The citation called it "a major work that displays an ability to channel an initial burst of energy into a large-scale musical event, built with masterful control and consistently intriguing to the ear".[33][34]

In May 2011 Steve Reich received an honorary doctorate from the New England Conservatory of Music.[35]

In 2012, Steve Reich received the Gold Medal in Music by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.[36]

In 2013 Reich received the US$400,000 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in contemporary music for bringing a new conception of music, based on the use of realist elements from the realm of daily life and others drawn from the traditional music of Africa and Asia.[37]

In September 2014, Reich was awarded the "Leone d'Oro" (Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in Music) from the Venice Biennale.[38]

In March 2016, Reich was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Royal College of Music in London.[39]


The American composer and critic Kyle Gann has said that Reich "may ... be considered, by general acclamation, America's greatest living composer".[40] Reich's style of composition has influenced many other composers and musical groups, including John Adams, the progressive rock band King Crimson, the new-age guitarist Michael Hedges, the art-pop and electronic musician Brian Eno, the experimental art/music group The Residents, the electronic group Underworld, the composers associated with the Bang on a Can festival (including David Lang, Michael Gordon, and Julia Wolfe), and numerous indie rock musicians including songwriters Sufjan Stevens[41][42] and Matthew Healy of the 1975,[43] and instrumental ensembles Tortoise,[44][45][46] The Mercury Program (themselves influenced by Tortoise),[47] and Godspeed You! Black Emperor (who titled an unreleased song "Steve Reich").[48]

John Adams commented, "He didn't reinvent the wheel so much as he showed us a new way to ride."[49] He has also influenced visual artists such as Bruce Nauman, and many notable choreographers have made dances to his music, Eliot Feld, Jiří Kylián, Douglas Lee and Jerome Robbins among others; he has expressed particular admiration of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker's work set to his pieces.

In featuring a sample of Reich's Electric Counterpoint (1987) the British ambient techno act the Orb exposed a new generation of listeners to the composer's music with its 1990 production Little Fluffy Clouds.[50] In 1999 the album Reich Remixed featured "re-mixes" of a number of Reich's works by various electronic dance-music producers, such as DJ Spooky, Kurtis Mantronik, Ken Ishii, and Coldcut among others.[50][51]

Reich's Cello Counterpoint (2003) was the inspiration for a series of commissions for solo cello with pre-recorded cellos made by in 2017 including new works by and Alex Weiser.[52]

Reich often cites Pérotin, J. S. Bach, Debussy, Bartók, and Stravinsky as composers whom he admires and who greatly influenced him when he was young.[53] Jazz is a major part of the formation of Reich's musical style, and two of the earliest influences on his work were vocalists Ella Fitzgerald and Alfred Deller, whose emphasis on the artistic capabilities of the voice alone with little vibrato or other alteration was an inspiration to his earliest works. John Coltrane's style, which Reich has described as "playing a lot of notes to very few harmonies", also had an impact; of particular interest was the album Africa/Brass, which "was basically a half-an-hour in E."[54][failed verification] Reich's influence from jazz includes its roots, also, from the West African music he studied in his readings and visit to Ghana. Other important influences are Kenny Clarke and Miles Davis, and visual artist friends such as Sol LeWitt and Richard Serra. Reich has also stated that he admires the music of the band Radiohead, which led to his composition Radio Rewrite.[55]



  • Soundtrack for , tape (1963)
  • Music for two or more pianos (1964)
  • Livelihood (1964)
  • It's Gonna Rain, tape (1965)
  • Soundtrack for , tape (1965)
  • Come Out, tape (1966)
  • Melodica, for melodica and tape (1966)
  • Reed Phase, for soprano saxophone or any other reed instrument and tape, or three reed instruments (1966)
  • Piano Phase for two pianos, or two marimbas (1967)
  • concept piece (1967)
  • Violin Phase for violin and tape or four violins (1967)
  • My Name Is for three tape recorders and performers (1967)
  • Pendulum Music for 3 or 4 microphones, amplifiers and loudspeakers (1968) (revised 1973)[56]
  • Pulse Music for phase shifting pulse gate (1969)
  • Four Log Drums for four log drums and phase shifting pulse gate (1969)
  • Four Organs for four electric organs and maracas (1970)
  • Phase Patterns for four electric organs (1970)
  • Drumming for 4 pairs of tuned bongo drums, 3 marimbas, 3 glockenspiels, 2 female voices, whistling and piccolo (1970/1971)
  • Clapping Music for two musicians clapping (1972)
  • Music for Pieces of Wood for five pairs of tuned claves (1973)
  • Six Pianos (1973) – also arranged as Six Marimbas (1986), adapted as Six Marimbas Counterpoint (2010) and Piano Counterpoint (2011) by the others
  • Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices and Organ (1973)
  • Music for 18 Musicians (1974–76)
  • Music for a Large Ensemble (1978)
  • Octet (1979) – withdrawn in favor of the 1983 revision for slightly larger ensemble, Eight Lines
  • Variations for Winds, Strings and Keyboards for orchestra (1979)
  • Tehillim for voices and ensemble (1981)
  • Vermont Counterpoint for amplified flute and tape (1982)
  • The Desert Music for chorus and orchestra or voices and ensemble (1983, text by William Carlos Williams)
  • Sextet for percussion and keyboards (1984)
  • New York Counterpoint for amplified clarinet and tape, or 11 clarinets and bass clarinet (1985)
  • Three Movements for orchestra (1986)
  • Electric Counterpoint for electric guitar or amplified acoustic guitar and tape (1987, for Pat Metheny)
  • The Four Sections for orchestra (1987)
  • Different Trains for string quartet and tape (1988)
  • The Cave for four voices, ensemble and video (1993, with Beryl Korot)
  • Duet for two violins and string ensemble (1993, dedicated to Yehudi Menuhin)
  • Nagoya Marimbas for two marimbas (1994)
  • City Life for amplified ensemble (1995)
  • Proverb for voices and ensemble (1995, text by Ludwig Wittgenstein)
  • Triple Quartet for amplified string quartet (with prerecorded tape), or three string quartets, or string orchestra (1998)
  • Know What Is Above You for four women’s voices and 2 tamborims (1999)
  • Three Tales for video projection, five voices and ensemble (1998–2002, with Beryl Korot)
  • Dance Patterns for 2 xylophones, 2 vibraphones and 2 pianos (2002)
  • Cello Counterpoint for amplified cello and multichannel tape (2003)
  • for voices and ensemble (2004)
  • for orchestra (1987/2004)
  • dance piece for three string quartets, four vibraphones, and two pianos (2005)
  • Daniel Variations for four voices and ensemble (2006)
  • Double Sextet for 2 violins, 2 cellos, 2 pianos, 2 vibraphones, 2 clarinets, 2 flutes or ensemble and pre-recorded tape (2007)
  • 2×5 for 2 drum sets, 2 pianos, 4 electric guitars and 2 bass guitars (2008)[57]
  • Mallet Quartet for 2 marimbas and 2 vibraphones or 4 marimbas (or solo percussion and tape) (2009)
  • WTC 9/11 for string quartet and tape (2010)
  • Finishing the Hat for two pianos (2011)
  • Radio Rewrite for ensemble (2012)
  • Quartet for two vibraphones and two pianos (2013)
  • Pulse for winds, strings, piano and electric bass (2015)
  • Runner for large ensemble (2016)
  • Music for Ensemble and Orchestra (2018)[58]

Selected discography


See also


  1. ^ "Say How? A Pronunciation Guide to Names of Public Figures". National Library Service. May 2006. Retrieved October 15, 2009.
  2. ^ "Composer Steve Reich on turning 80, writing live music and finding faith". Retrieved January 25, 2018 – via The Globe and Mail.
  3. ^ Mertens, W. (1983), American Minimal Music, Kahn & Averill, London, (p.11).
  4. ^ Michael Nyman, writing in the preface of Mertens' book refers to the style as "so called minimal music"[vague] (Mertens p.8).
  5. ^ "The term 'minimal music' is generally used to describe a style of music that developed in America in the late 1960s and 1970s; and that was initially connected with the composers La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, and Philip Glass." Sitsky, L. (2002), Music of the twentieth-century avant-garde: a biocritical sourcebook,Greenwood Press, Westport, CT. (p.361)
  6. ^ AllMusic
  7. ^ "Radio 3 Programmes – Composer of the Week, Steve Reich (b. 1936), Episode 1". BBC. October 25, 2010. Retrieved October 16, 2011.
  8. ^ Lightcage. "Jonathan Carroll | Publishers Weekly Interview". Retrieved August 11, 2016.
  9. ^ "Steve Reich - Composer". Famous Composers.
  10. ^ Paul Griffiths, "Reich, Steve [Stephen] (Michael)", The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell (London: Macmillan Publishers, 2001).
  11. ^ "RA: Steve Reich". Resident Advisor. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  12. ^ "Steve Reich | American composer". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  13. ^ Music from Mills at AllMusic
  14. ^ Bernstein, David (2008). The San Francisco Tape Music Center. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-24892-2.
  15. ^ Malcolm Ball on Steve Reich Archived September 3, 2018, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ James Baldwin (July 11, 1966). "A Report from Occupied Territory". Archived from the original on June 29, 2013. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
  17. ^ Reich, Steve (2002). Writings on Music, 1965–2000. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 22–23. ISBN 0-19-511171-0.
  18. ^ Reich, Steve (April 11, 2002). Writings on Music, 1965-2000. ISBN 9780195111712. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  19. ^ "Steve Reich Biography". Steve Reich. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  20. ^ Liner notes for Music for a Large Ensemble
  21. ^ Schwarz, K. Robert. Minimalists, Phaidon Press, 1996, p.84 and p.86.
  22. ^ Taruskin, Richard (August 24, 1997). "A Sturdy Musical Bridge to the 21st Century". The New York Times. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  23. ^ "From New York to Vermont: Conversation with Steve Reich". Retrieved October 16, 2011.
  24. ^ "Steve Reich Remix Contest – 2x5 Movement 3". Indaba Music. Retrieved October 16, 2011.
  25. ^ "Steve Reich – WTC 9/11". April 2011. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  26. ^ "Radio Rewrite, Double Sextet". 2013. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
  27. ^ "Mälkki Conducts Mahler's 5th". Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  28. ^ Barone, Joshua (November 17, 2018). "Steve Reich Talks About His First Orchestral Work in 30 Years". The New York Times. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  29. ^ "MacDowell Medal winners — 1960–2011". The Daily Telegraph. April 13, 2011. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
  30. ^ "Steve Reich, 2005 Edward MacDowell Medal Recipient". MacDowell Colony.
  31. ^ Reich, Steve. "Biography". The Steve Reich Website. Steve Reich.
  32. ^ Hans Gefors, "Steve Reich", translated by Neil Betteridge. Stockholm: Polar Music Prize, 2007 (accessed January 26, 2015).
  33. ^ "The 2009 Pulitzer Prize Winners: Music". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved October 16, 2011. With short biography and Double Sextet data including Composer's Notes.
  34. ^ "2009 Pulitzer Prizes for Letters, Drama and Music," The New York Times, April 20, 2009.
  35. ^ "Commencement 2011 | New England Conservatory". Archived from the original on October 15, 2011. Retrieved October 16, 2011.
  36. ^ "Steve Reich: Biography". Boosey & Hawkes. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  37. ^ "BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Contemporary Music 2013". Archived from the original on September 24, 2015.
  38. ^ "58th International Festival of Contemporary Music, September 20, 2014". Archived from the original on September 29, 2014.
  39. ^ Imogen Tilden (March 10, 2016), "Royal College of Music honours Reich, Norrington and Jurowski", The Guardian
  40. ^ Gann, Kyle (July 13, 1999). "Grand Old Youngster". The Village Voice. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  41. ^ Wise, Brian (2006). "Steve Reich @ 70 on WNYC". WNYC. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  42. ^ Joana de Belém (November 12, 2006). "O passado e o presente de Steve Reich no Porto". Diário de Notícias (in Portuguese). Archived from the original on January 15, 2009. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  43. ^ "The 1975's Matty Healy in conversation with Steve Reich". The Face. The Face. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  44. ^ Hutlock, Todd (September 1, 2006). "Tortoise – A Lazarus Taxon". Stylus Magazine. Archived from the original on September 17, 2006. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  45. ^ Ratliff, Ben (March 23, 1998). "TNT : Tortoise : Review". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on January 14, 2009. Retrieved September 15, 2017. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  46. ^ "Performers: Tortoise (Illinois)". Guelph Jazz Festival. 2008. Archived from the original on September 15, 2008. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  47. ^ Stratton, Jeff (May 10, 2001). "We Have Liftoff". Broward-Palm Beach New Times. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  48. ^ "sad". Retrieved October 16, 2011.
  49. ^ John Adams: "...For him, pulsation and tonality were not just cultural artifacts. They were the lifeblood of the musical experience, natural laws. It was his triumph to find a way to embrace these fundamental principles and still create a music that felt genuine and new. He didn't reinvent the wheel so much as he showed us a new way to ride." See for instance the articles section of the "Steve Reich Website". Retrieved January 31, 2010.
  50. ^ a b Emmerson, S. (2007), Music, Electronic Media, and Culture, Ashgate, Adlershot, p.68.
  51. ^ Reich Remixed: album track listing at
  52. ^ da Fonseca-Wollheim, Corinna (June 22, 2017). "Cellist in an Echo Chamber, Echo Chamber". The New York Times. Retrieved May 12, 2018.
  53. ^ "Questions from Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker & Answers from". Steve Reich. Retrieved October 16, 2011.
  54. ^ "Steve Reich Interview with Gabrielle Zuckerman, July 2002". Retrieved October 16, 2011.
  55. ^ Petridis, Alexis (February 28, 2013). "Steve Reich on Schoenberg, Coltrane and Radiohead". The Guardian. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  56. ^ *Reich, Steve (1975). Writings on Music (New ed.). USA: New York University Press. pp. 12–13. ISBN 0-8147-7357-5.
  57. ^ "2x5 performed by Anton Glushkin and friends".
  58. ^ "New Steve Reich Work for Orchestra to Premiere in Fall 2018". Boosey & Hawkes. March 2018. Archived from the original on July 17, 2018.

Further reading

External links





MooreSeeing the World (marimba quartet)

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Gottry Framed (tambourine, pandeiro, tar/frame drum, tambourim)

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ChapmanSecond Thoughts (floor toms, sawhorses, boomwhackers)

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MozartSymphony No. 41, First Movement (The Jupiter Symphony)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart completed his Symphony No. 41 in C major, K. 551, on 10 August 1788.[1] The longest and last symphony that he composed, it is regarded by many critics as among the greatest symphonies in classical music.[2][3] The work is nicknamed the Jupiter Symphony, likely coined by the impresario Johann Peter Salomon.[4][a]


The symphony is scored for flute, two oboes, two bassoons, two horns in C, two trumpets in C, timpani in C and G, and strings.

Composition and premiere

Symphony No. 41 is the last of a set of three that Mozart composed in rapid succession during the summer of 1788. No. 39 was completed on 26 June and No. 40 on 25 July.[1] Nikolaus Harnoncourt argues that Mozart composed the three symphonies as a unified work, pointing, among other things, to the fact that the Symphony No. 41, as the final work, has no introduction (unlike No. 39) but has a grand finale.[5]

Around the same time as he composed the three symphonies, Mozart was writing his piano trios in E major (K. 542), and C major (K. 548), his piano sonata No. 16 in C (K. 545) – the so-called Sonata facile – and a violin sonatina K. 547.

It is not known whether Symphony No. 41 was ever performed in the composer's lifetime. According to Otto Erich Deutsch, around this time Mozart was preparing to hold a series of "Concerts in the Casino" in a new casino in the Spiegelgasse owned by Philipp Otto. Mozart even sent a pair of tickets for this series to his friend Michael Puchberg. But it seems impossible to determine whether the concert series was held, or was cancelled for lack of interest.[1]


The four movements are arranged in the traditional symphonic form of the Classical era:

The symphony typically has a duration of about 33 minutes.

I. Allegro vivace

The sonata form first movement's main theme begins with contrasting motifs: a threefold tutti outburst on the fundamental tone (respectively, by an ascending motion leading in a triplet from the dominant tone underneath to the fundamental one), followed by a more lyrical response.

\relative c' {
  \tempo "Allegro vivace"
  c4\f r8 \times 2/3 { g16( a b } c4) r8 \times 2/3 { g16( a b } |
  c4) r r r8 c'\p |
  c4.( b8 d4. c8) |
  g'2( f4) r |
  <g, g,>4\f r8

This exchange is heard twice and then followed by an extended series of fanfares. What follows is a transitional passage where the two contrasting motifs are expanded and developed. From there, the second theme group begins with a lyrical section in G major which ends suspended on a seventh chord and is followed by a stormy section in C minor. Following a full stop, the expositional coda begins which quotes Mozart's insertion aria "Un bacio di mano", K. 541 and then ends the exposition on a series of fanfares.[6]

The development begins with a modulation from G major to E major where the insertion-aria theme is then repeated and extensively developed. A false recapitulation then occurs where the movement's opening theme returns but softly and in F major. The first theme group's final flourishes then are extensively developed against a chromatically falling bass followed by a restatement of the end of the insertion aria then leading to C major for the recapitulation.[6] With the exception of the usual key transpositions and some expansion of the minor key sections, the recapitulation proceeds in a regular fashion.[6]

II. Andante cantabile

The second movement, also in sonata form, is a sarabande of the French type in F major (the subdominant key of C major) similar to those found in the keyboard suites of J.S. Bach.[6]

III. Menuetto: Allegretto – Trio

The third movement, a menuetto marked "allegretto" is similar to a Ländler, a popular Austrian folk dance form. Midway through the movement there is a chromatic progression in which sparse imitative textures are presented by the woodwinds (bars 43–51) before the full orchestra returns. In the trio section of the movement, the four-note figure that will form the main theme of the last movement appears prominently (bars 68–71), but on the seventh degree of the scale rather than the first, and in a minor key rather than a major, giving it a very different character.

IV. Molto allegro

Finally, a remarkable characteristic of this symphony is the five-voice fugato (representing the five major themes) at the end of the fourth movement. But there are fugal sections throughout the movement either by developing one specific theme or by combining two or more themes together, as seen in the interplay between the woodwinds. The main theme consists of four notes:

\relative c'' { \time 2/2 c1 d f e }

Four additional themes are heard in the "Jupiter's" finale, which is in sonata form, and all five motifs are combined in the fugal coda.


In an article about the Jupiter Symphony, Sir George Grove wrote that "it is for the finale that Mozart has reserved all the resources of his science, and all the power, which no one seems to have possessed to the same degree with himself, of concealing that science, and making it the vehicle for music as pleasing as it is learned. Nowhere has he achieved more." Of the piece as a whole, he wrote that "It is the greatest orchestral work of the world which preceded the French Revolution."[7]

The four-note theme is a common plainchant motif which can be traced back at least as far as Josquin des Prez's Missa Pange lingua from the 16th century. It was very popular with Mozart. It makes a brief appearance as early as his Symphony No. 1 in 1764. Later, he used it in the Credo of an early Missa Brevis in F major, the first movement of his Symphony No. 33 and trio of the minuet of this symphony.[8]

Scholars are certain Mozart studied Michael Haydn's Symphony No. 28 in C major, which also has a fugato in its finale and whose coda he very closely paraphrases for his own coda. Charles Sherman speculates that Mozart also studied Michael Haydn's Symphony No. 23 in D major because he "often requested his father Leopold to send him the latest fugue that Haydn had written."[9] The Michael Haydn No. 39, written only a few weeks before Mozart's, also has a fugato in the finale, the theme of which begins with two whole notes. Sherman has pointed out other similarities between the two almost perfectly contemporaneous works. The four-note motif is also the main theme of the contrapuntal finale of Michael's elder brother Joseph's Symphony No. 13 in D major (1764).

Origin of the nickname

According to Franz Mozart, Wolfgang's younger son, the symphony was given the name Jupiter by Johann Peter Salomon,[4][10] who had settled in London in around 1781. The name has also been attributed to Johann Baptist Cramer, an English music publisher. [11] [12] [13] Reportedly, from the very first chords, Mozart's Symphony No. 41, in C Major reminded Cramer of Jupiter and his thunderbolts. [13]  The celebrated finale of the symphony is a re-working, albeit a majestic one, of the opening movement of Carl Ditters's symphony in D, Der Sturz Phaëtons (The Fall of Phaëton) of 1785. In those days of classical education, members of the Philharmonic Society, of which Salomon was a founding member, will have known that the planet that the ancient Greeks called Phaët(h)on is the same planet that the ancient Romans called "Jupiter." [b] Thus the majestic nickname is also a humorous one.[citation needed]

The name does not appear to have entered general circulation until nearly twenty years after Ditters's death in 1799. Some sources suggest 1821,[10] but public notices using the name have emerged going back to mid-1817.[c] It does not appear to have been much earlier. Salomon died in 1815, so it may have circulated within informed musical circles for a considerable time before it became public.[d]

Responses and reception

In a phrase ascribed to musicologist Elaine Sisman in a book devoted to the "Jupiter" (Cambridge Musical Handbooks, 1993),[page needed] most responses ranged "from admiring to adulatory, a gamut from A to A."[14]

As summarized below, the Symphony garnered approbation from critics, theorists, composers and biographers and came to be viewed as a canonized masterwork, known for its fugue and its overall structure which exuded clarity.[15]

  • E.L. Gerber in Neues Historisch-biographisches Lexicon der Tonkunstler (1812–1814): "..overpoweringly great, fiery, artistic, pathetic, sublime, Symphony in C..."
  • A review in Allgemeine musikaliche Zeitung (1846): "How pure and clear are all the images within! No more and no less than that which each requires according to its nature. ... Here is revealed how the master first collects his material separately, then explores how everything can proceed from it, and finally builds and elaborates upon it. That even Beethoven worked this way is revealed in his sketchbooks."
  • Brahms remarked in 1896: "..I am able to understand too that Beethoven's first symphony did impress people colossally. But the last three symphonies by Mozart are much more important. Some people are beginning to feel that now."

First recording

The first known recording of the Jupiter Symphony is from 1913, at the dawn of the recording era, making it one of the very first symphonies to be recorded using the earliest recording technology.[16]

The 1913 Jupiter Symphony recording lists Victor Concert Orchestra as the performers conducted by Walter B. Rogers. [17]

Audio files

See also


  1. ^ For more definition, see Origin of the nickname.
  2. ^ The Phaëton of Ditters's symphony was the son of Helios, the Sun god, whereas the planet was called after the other Phaëton, the Promethian mortal commonly spelled as Phaëthon, but Salomon's joke stands nonetheless.
  3. ^ The Times of Thursday, May 08, 1817 carries an advertisement for a concert to be given in the Hanover Square Rooms on "Friday next, May 9" to include "Grand Sinfonie (Jupiter), Mozart". The Morning Post of Tuesday, June 03, 1817 carries an advertisement for printed music that includes: "The celebrated movement from Mozart's sympathy [sic], called "Jupiter", arranged as a Duet, by J.Wilkins, 4s. [4 shillings];"
  4. ^ Ditter's music was never well-known in England, and it faded from the continental repertory after his death. When the nickname Jupiter did go into circulation, Phaëton would have been forgotten by concert-goers for a generation; then when Phaëton was revived in recent times, Greek and Roman mythology had largely faded from public education. So the fact that the nickname of Mozart's symphony is an allusion to Ditters's symphony is generally overlooked.


  1. ^ a b c Deutsch 1965, 320
  2. ^ Brown, Mark (August 4, 2016). "Beethoven's Eroica voted greatest symphony of all time". The Guardian. Retrieved September 29, 2017. Mozart's last symphony, No 41, the 'Jupiter', was in third place [...]
  3. ^ "These are factually the 10 best symphonies of all time". Classic FM (UK). August 30, 2017. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Heartz, Daniel (2009). Mozart, Haydn and Early Beethoven 1781–1802. Norton. pp. 210, 458, 474. ISBN 978-0-393-06634-0.
  5. ^ Clements, Andrew (23 July 2014). "Mozart: The Last Symphonies review – a thrilling journey through a tantalising new theory". The Guardian.
  6. ^ a b c d Brown, A. Peter, The Symphonic Repertoire (Volume 2). Indiana University Press (ISBN 025333487X), pp. 423–32 (2002).
  7. ^ Grove 1906
  8. ^ Heartz, Daniel (2009). Mozart, Haydn and Early Beethoven 1781–1802. Norton. pp. 212–15. ISBN 978-0-393-06634-0.
  9. ^ C. Sherman, Foreword to score of Sinfonia in C, Perger 31 Vienna: Doblinger K. G. (1967)
  10. ^ a b Oxford Companion to Music
  11. ^ Burk, J. N. (1959). "Symphony No. 41, in C Major ('Jupiter'), K. 551". In: Mozart and His Music, p. 299.
  12. ^ The Musical Times (1902, October 1). "J.B. Cramer". Volume 43, p. 644 (para. 2).
  13. ^ a b Lindauer, David. (2006, January 25). "Annapolis Symphony Orchestra (ASO) Concert Part of Mozart Birthday Tribute", The Capital (Annapolis, MD), p. B8.
  14. ^ "Symphony No. 41 in C Major, "Jupiter"". The Kennedy Center. Archived from the original on 2017-03-02. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  15. ^ Sisman, Elaine (1993). Mozart: The 'Jupiter' Symphony. Cambridge University Press. p. 28. ISBN 0521409241.
  16. ^ "Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Discography of American Historical Recordings".
  17. ^ "Mozart - Jupiter Symphony". Discography of American Historical Recordings.


External links


BeethovenSymphony No. 5, First Movement

The Symphony No. 5 in C minor of Ludwig van Beethoven, Op. 67, was written between 1804 and 1808. It is one of the best-known compositions in classical music and one of the most frequently played symphonies,[1] and it is widely considered one of the cornerstones of western music. First performed in Vienna's Theater an der Wien in 1808, the work achieved its prodigious reputation soon afterward. E. T. A. Hoffmann described the symphony as "one of the most important works of the time". As is typical of symphonies during the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras, Beethoven's Fifth Symphony is in four movements.

It begins with a distinctive four-note "short-short-short-long" motif:

{\clef treble \key c \minor \tempo "Allegro con brio" 2=108 \time 2/4 {r8 g'\ff[ g' g'] | ees'2\fermata | r8 f'[ f' f'] | d'2~ | d'\fermata | } }

The symphony, and the four-note opening motif in particular, are known worldwide, with the motif appearing frequently in popular culture, from disco versions to rock and roll covers, to uses in film and television.

Like Beethoven's Eroica (heroic) and Pastorale (rural), Symphony No. 5 was given an explicit name besides the numbering, though not by Beethoven himself. It became popular under "Schicksals-Sinfonie" (Fate Symphony), and the famous five bar theme was called the "Schicksals-Motiv" (Fate Motif). This name is also used in translations.



Beethoven in 1804, the year he began work on the Fifth Symphony; detail of a portrait by W. J. Mähler

The Fifth Symphony had a long development process, as Beethoven worked out the musical ideas for the work. The first "sketches" (rough drafts of melodies and other musical ideas) date from 1804 following the completion of the Third Symphony.[2] Beethoven repeatedly interrupted his work on the Fifth to prepare other compositions, including the first version of Fidelio, the Appassionata piano sonata, the three Razumovsky string quartets, the Violin Concerto, the Fourth Piano Concerto, the Fourth Symphony, and the Mass in C. The final preparation of the Fifth Symphony, which took place in 1807–1808, was carried out in parallel with the Sixth Symphony, which premiered at the same concert.

Beethoven was in his mid-thirties during this time; his personal life was troubled by increasing deafness.[3] In the world at large, the period was marked by the Napoleonic Wars, political turmoil in Austria, and the occupation of Vienna by Napoleon's troops in 1805. The symphony was written at his lodgings at the Pasqualati House in Vienna. The final movement quotes from a revolutionary song by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle.


The Fifth Symphony was premiered on 22 December 1808 at a mammoth concert at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna consisting entirely of Beethoven premieres, and directed by Beethoven himself on the conductor's podium.[4] The concert lasted for more than four hours. The two symphonies appeared on the programme in reverse order: the Sixth was played first, and the Fifth appeared in the second half.[5] The programme was as follows:

  1. The Sixth Symphony
  2. Aria: Ah! perfido, Op. 65
  3. The Gloria movement of the Mass in C major
  4. The Fourth Piano Concerto (played by Beethoven himself)
  5. (Intermission)
  6. The Fifth Symphony
  7. The Sanctus and Benedictus movements of the C major Mass
  8. A solo piano improvisation played by Beethoven
  9. The Choral Fantasy
The Theater an der Wien as it appeared in the early 19th century

Beethoven dedicated the Fifth Symphony to two of his patrons, Prince Franz Joseph von Lobkowitz and Count Razumovsky. The dedication appeared in the first printed edition of April 1809.

Reception and influence

There was little critical response to the premiere performance, which took place under adverse conditions. The orchestra did not play well—with only one rehearsal before the concert—and at one point, following a mistake by one of the performers in the Choral Fantasy, Beethoven had to stop the music and start again.[6] The auditorium was extremely cold and the audience was exhausted by the length of the programme. However, a year and a half later, publication of the score resulted in a rapturous unsigned review (actually by music critic E. T. A. Hoffmann) in the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung. He described the music with dramatic imagery:

Radiant beams shoot through this region's deep night, and we become aware of gigantic shadows which, rocking back and forth, close in on us and destroy everything within us except the pain of endless longing—a longing in which every pleasure that rose up in jubilant tones sinks and succumbs, and only through this pain, which, while consuming but not destroying love, hope, and joy, tries to burst our breasts with full-voiced harmonies of all the passions, we live on and are captivated beholders of the spirits.[7]

Apart from the extravagant praise, Hoffmann devoted by far the largest part of his review to a detailed analysis of the symphony, in order to show his readers the devices Beethoven used to arouse particular affects in the listener. In an essay titled "Beethoven's Instrumental Music", compiled from this 1810 review and another one from 1813 on the op. 70 string trios, published in three installments in December 1813, E.T.A. Hoffmann further praised the "indescribably profound, magnificent symphony in C minor":

How this wonderful composition, in a climax that climbs on and on, leads the listener imperiously forward into the spirit world of the infinite!... No doubt the whole rushes like an ingenious rhapsody past many a man, but the soul of each thoughtful listener is assuredly stirred, deeply and intimately, by a feeling that is none other than that unutterable portentous longing, and until the final chord—indeed, even in the moments that follow it—he will be powerless to step out of that wondrous spirit realm where grief and joy embrace him in the form of sound....[8]

The symphony soon acquired its status as a central item in the orchestral repertoire. It was played in the inaugural concerts of the New York Philharmonic on 7 December 1842, and the [US] National Symphony Orchestra on 2 November 1931. It was first recorded by the Odeon Orchestra under Friedrich Kark in 1910. The First Movement (as performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra) was featured on the Voyager Golden Record, a phonograph record containing a broad sample of the images, common sounds, languages, and music of Earth, sent into outer space aboard the Voyager probes in 1977.[9] Groundbreaking in terms of both its technical and its emotional impact, the Fifth has had a large influence on composers and music critics,[10] and inspired work by such composers as Brahms, Tchaikovsky (his 4th Symphony in particular),[11] Bruckner, Mahler, and Berlioz.[12]

Since the Second World War, it has sometimes been referred to as the "Victory Symphony".[13] "V" is coincidentally also the Roman numeral character for the number five and the phrase "V for Victory" became a campaign of the Allies of World War II after Winston Churchill starting using it as a publicity stunt in 1940. Beethoven's Victory Symphony happened to be his Fifth (or vice versa) is coincidental. Some thirty years after this piece was written, the rhythm of the opening phrase – "dit-dit-dit-dah" – was used for the letter "V" in Morse code, though this is also coincidental.[14] During the Second World War, the BBC prefaced its broadcasts to Special Operations Executives (SOE) across the world with those four notes, played on drums.[15][16][17]


The symphony is scored for the following orchestra:

1 piccolo (fourth movement only)
2 flutes
2 oboes
2 clarinets in B and C
2 bassoons
1 contrabassoon (fourth movement only)
2 horns in E and C
2 trumpets
3 trombones (alto, tenor, and bass, fourth movement only)


A typical performance usually lasts around 30–40 minutes. The work is in four movements:

I. Allegro con brio

The first movement opens with the four-note motif discussed above, one of the most famous motifs in Western music. There is considerable debate among conductors as to the manner of playing the four opening bars. Some conductors take it in strict allegro tempo; others take the liberty of a weighty treatment, playing the motif in a much slower and more stately tempo; yet others take the motif molto ritardando (a pronounced slowing through each four-note phrase), arguing that the fermata over the fourth note justifies this.[18] Some critics and musicians consider it crucial to convey the spirit of [pause]and-two-and one, as written, and consider the more common one-two-three-four to be misleading. Critic Michael Steinberg stated that with the "ta-ta-ta-Taaa", "Beethoven begins with eight notes." He points out that "they rhyme, four plus four, and each group of four consists of three quick notes plus one that is lower and much longer (in fact unmeasured)." As well, the " between the two rhyming groups is minimal, about one-seventh of a second if we go by Beethoven's metronome mark".[citation needed]

In addition, "Beethoven clarifies the shape by lengthening the second of the long notes. This lengthening, which was an afterthought, is tantamount to writing a stronger punctuation mark. As the music progresses, we can hear in the melody of the second theme, for example (or later, in the pairs of antiphonal chords of woodwinds and strings (i.e. chords that alternate between woodwind and string instruments)), that the constantly invoked connection between the two four-note units is crucial to the movement." Steinberg states that the "...source of Beethoven's unparalleled in his writing long sentences and broad paragraphs whose surfaces are articulated with exciting activity." Indeed, "...the double 'ta-ta-ta-Taaa' is an open-ended beginning, not a closed and self-sufficient unit (misunderstanding of this opening was nurtured by a nineteenth-century performance tradition in which the first five measures were read as a slow, portentous exordium, the main tempo being attacked only after the second hold.)" He notes that the "opening [is] so dramatic" due to the "violence of the contrast between the urgency in the eighth notes and the ominous freezing of motion in the unmeasured long notes." He states that "...the music starts with a wild outburst of energy but immediately crashes into a wall."[citation needed]

Steinberg also asserts that "...[s]econds later, Beethoven jolts us with another such sudden halt. The music draws up to a half-cadence on a G major chord, short and crisp in the whole orchestra, except for the first violins, who hang on to their high G for an unmeasured length of time. Forward motion resumes with a relentless pounding of eighth notes."[19]

The first movement is in the traditional sonata form that Beethoven inherited from his Classical predecessors, such as Haydn and Mozart (in which the main ideas that are introduced in the first few pages undergo elaborate development through many keys, with a dramatic return to the opening section—the recapitulation—about three-quarters of the way through). It starts out with two dramatic fortissimo phrases, the famous motif, commanding the listener's attention. Following the first four bars, Beethoven uses imitations and sequences to expand the theme, these pithy imitations tumbling over each other with such rhythmic regularity that they appear to form a single, flowing melody. Shortly after, a very short fortissimo bridge, played by the horns, takes place before a second theme is introduced. This second theme is in E major, the relative major, and it is more lyrical, written piano and featuring the four-note motif in the string accompaniment. The codetta is again based on the four-note motif. The development section follows, including the bridge. During the recapitulation, there is a brief solo passage for oboe in quasi-improvisatory style, and the movement ends with a massive coda.

II. Andante con moto

The second movement, in A major, the subdominant key of C minor's relative key (E major), is a lyrical work in double variation form, which means that two themes are presented and varied in alternation. Following the variations there is a long coda.

The movement opens with an announcement of its theme, a melody in unison by violas and cellos, with accompaniment by the double basses. A second theme soon follows, with a harmony provided by clarinets, bassoons, and violins, with a triplet arpeggio in the violas and bass. A variation of the first theme reasserts itself. This is followed up by a third theme, thirty-second notes in the violas and cellos with a counterphrase running in the flute, oboe, and bassoon. Following an interlude, the whole orchestra participates in a fortissimo, leading to a series of crescendos and a coda to close the movement.[20]

III. Scherzo. Allegro

The third movement is in ternary form, consisting of a scherzo and trio. While most symphonies before Beethoven's time employed a minuet and trio as their third movement, Beethoven chose to use the newer scherzo and trio form.

The movement returns to the opening key of C minor and begins with the following theme, played by the cellos and double basses:

\relative c{ \clef bass \key c \minor \time 3/4 \tempo "Allegro" \partial 4 g(\pp | c ees g | c2 ees4 | d2 fis,4) | g2.~ | g2.}

The opening theme is answered by a contrasting theme played by the winds, and this sequence is repeated. Then the horns loudly announce the main theme of the movement, and the music proceeds from there. The trio section is in C major and is written in a contrapuntal texture. When the scherzo returns for the final time, it is performed by the strings pizzicato and very quietly. "The scherzo offers contrasts that are somewhat similar to those of the slow movement [Andante con moto] in that they derive from extreme difference in character between scherzo and trio ... The Scherzo then contrasts this figure with the famous 'motto' (3 + 1) from the first movement, which gradually takes command of the whole movement."[21] The third movement is also notable for its transition to the fourth movement, widely considered one of the greatest musical transitions of all time.[22]

IV. Allegro

The fourth movement begins without pause from the transition. The music resounds in C major, an unusual choice by the composer as a symphony that begins in C minor is expected to finish in that key.[23] In Beethoven's words:

Many assert that every minor piece must end in the minor. Nego! ...Joy follows sorrow, sunshine—rain.[24]

The triumphant and exhilarating finale is written in an unusual variant of sonata form: at the end of the development section, the music halts on a dominant cadence, played fortissimo, and the music continues after a pause with a quiet reprise of the "horn theme" of the scherzo movement. The recapitulation is then introduced by a crescendo coming out of the last bars of the interpolated scherzo section, just as the same music was introduced at the opening of the movement. The interruption of the finale with material from the third "dance" movement was pioneered by Haydn, who had done the same in his Symphony No. 46 in B, from 1772. It is unknown whether Beethoven was familiar with this work or not.[25]

The Fifth Symphony finale includes a very long coda, in which the main themes of the movement are played in temporally compressed form. Towards the end the tempo is increased to presto. The symphony ends with 29 bars of C major chords, played fortissimo. In The Classical Style, Charles Rosen suggests that this ending reflects Beethoven's sense of proportions: the "unbelievably long" pure C major cadence is needed "to ground the extreme tension of [this] immense work."[26]

It has been shown that this long chord sequence was a pattern that Beethoven borrowed from the Italian composer Luigi Cherubini, whom Beethoven "esteemed the most" among his contemporary musicians. Spending much of his life in France, Cherubini employed this pattern consistently to close his overtures, which Beethoven knew well. The ending of his famous symphony repeats almost note by note and pause by pause the conclusion of Cherubini's overture to his opera Eliza, composed in 1794 and presented in Vienna in 1803.[27]


The 19th century musicologist Gustav Nottebohm first pointed out that the third movement's theme has the same sequence of intervals as the opening theme of the final movement of Mozart's famous Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550. Here are the first eight notes of Mozart's theme:

\relative c' { \key g \minor \time 2/2 \tempo "Allegro assai" \partial 4 d4\p(g) bes-. d-. g-. bes2(a4) cis,8\f }

While such resemblances sometimes occur by accident, this is unlikely to be so in the present case. Nottebohm discovered the resemblance when he examined a sketchbook used by Beethoven in composing the Fifth Symphony: here, 29 bars of Mozart's finale appear, copied out by Beethoven.[28][need quotation to verify]


Much has been written about the Fifth Symphony in books, scholarly articles, and program notes for live and recorded performances. This section summarizes some themes that commonly appear in this material.

Fate motif

The initial motif of the symphony has sometimes been credited with symbolic significance as a representation of Fate knocking at the door. This idea comes from Beethoven's secretary and factotum Anton Schindler, who wrote, many years after Beethoven's death:

The composer himself provided the key to these depths when one day, in this author's presence, he pointed to the beginning of the first movement and expressed in these words the fundamental idea of his work: "Thus Fate knocks at the door!"[29]

Schindler's testimony concerning any point of Beethoven's life is disparaged by experts (he is believed to have forged entries in Beethoven's so-called "conversation books", the books in which the deaf Beethoven got others to write their side of conversations with him).[30] Moreover, it is often commented that Schindler offered a highly romanticized view of the composer.

There is another tale concerning the same motif; the version given here is from Antony Hopkins's description of the symphony.[2] Carl Czerny (Beethoven's pupil, who premiered the "Emperor" Concerto in Vienna) claimed that "the little pattern of notes had come to [Beethoven] from a yellow-hammer's song, heard as he walked in the Prater-park in Vienna." Hopkins further remarks that "given the choice between a yellow-hammer and Fate-at-the-door, the public has preferred the more dramatic myth, though Czerny's account is too unlikely to have been invented."

In his Omnibus television lecture series in 1954, Leonard Bernstein likened the Fate Motif to the four note coda common to symphonies. These notes would terminate the symphony as a musical coda, but for Beethoven they become a motif repeating throughout the work for a very different and dramatic effect, he says.[citation needed]

Evaluations of these interpretations tend to be skeptical. "The popular legend that Beethoven intended this grand exordium of the symphony to suggest 'Fate Knocking at the gate' is apocryphal; Beethoven's pupil, Ferdinand Ries, was really author of this would-be poetic exegesis, which Beethoven received very sarcastically when Ries imparted it to him."[18] remarks that "Beethoven had been known to say nearly anything to relieve himself of questioning pests"; this might be taken to impugn both tales.[31]

Beethoven's choice of key

The key of the Fifth Symphony, C minor, is commonly regarded as a special key for Beethoven, specifically a "stormy, heroic tonality".[32] Beethoven wrote a number of works in C minor whose character is broadly similar to that of the Fifth Symphony. Pianist and writer Charles Rosen says,

Beethoven in C minor has come to symbolize his artistic character. In every case, it reveals Beethoven as Hero. C minor does not show Beethoven at his most subtle, but it does give him to us in his most extroverted form, where he seems to be most impatient of any compromise.[33]

Repetition of the opening motif throughout the symphony

It is commonly asserted that the opening four-note rhythmic motif (short-short-short-long; see above) is repeated throughout the symphony, unifying it. "It is a rhythmic pattern (dit-dit-dit-dot) that makes its appearance in each of the other three movements and thus contributes to the overall unity of the symphony" (Doug Briscoe[34]); "a single motif that unifies the entire work" (Peter Gutmann[35]); "the key motif of the entire symphony";[36] "the rhythm of the famous opening figure ... recurs at crucial points in later movements" (Richard Bratby[37]). The New Grove encyclopedia cautiously endorses this view, reporting that "[t]he famous opening motif is to be heard in almost every bar of the first movement—and, allowing for modifications, in the other movements."[38]

There are several passages in the symphony that have led to this view. For instance, in the third movement the horns play the following solo in which the short-short-short-long pattern occurs repeatedly:

\relative c'' {
\set Staff.midiInstrument = #"french horn"
\key c \minor
\time 3/4
\set Score.currentBarNumber = #19
\bar ""
\[ g4\ff^"a 2" g g | g2. | \]
g4 g g | g2. |
g4 g g | <es g>2. |
<g bes>4(<f as>) <es g>^^ | <bes f'>2. |

In the second movement, an accompanying line plays a similar rhythm:

\new StaffGroup <<
\new Staff \relative c'' {
\time 3/8
\key aes \major
\set Score.barNumberVisibility = #all-bar-numbers-visible
\set Score.currentBarNumber = #75
\bar ""
\override TextScript #'X-offset = #-3
\partial 8 es16.(\pp^"Violin I" f32) |
\repeat unfold 2 { ges4 es16.(f32) | }
\new Staff \relative c'' {
\key aes \major
\override TextScript #'X-offset = #-3
r8^"Violin II, Viola" |
r32 \[ a[\pp a a] a16[ \] a] a r |
r32 a[ a a] a16[ a] a r |

In the finale, Doug Briscoe[34] suggests that the motif may be heard in the piccolo part, presumably meaning the following passage:

\new StaffGroup <<
\new Staff \relative c'' {
\time 4/4
\key c \major
\set Score.currentBarNumber = #244
\bar ""
r8^"Piccolo" \[ fis g g g2~ \] |
\repeat unfold 2 {
g8 fis g g g2~ |
g8 fis g g g2 |
\new Staff \relative c {
\clef "bass"
b2.^"Viola, Cello, Bass" g4(|
b4 g d' c8. b16) |
c2. g4(|
c4 g e' d8. c16) |

Later, in the coda of the finale, the bass instruments repeatedly play the following:

\new StaffGroup <<
\new Staff \relative c' {
\time 2/2
\key c \major
\set Score.currentBarNumber = #362
\bar ""
\tempo "Presto"
\override TextScript #'X-offset = #-5
c2.\fp^"Violins" b4 | a(g) g-. g-. |
c2. b4 | a(g) g-. g-. |
\repeat unfold 2 {
<c e>2. <b d>4 | <a c>(<g b>) q-. q-. |
\new Staff \relative c {
\time 2/2
\key c \major
\clef "bass"
\override TextScript #'X-offset = #-5
c4\fp^"Bass instruments" r r2 | r4 \[ g g g |
c4\fp \] r r2 | r4 g g g |
\repeat unfold 2 {
c4\fp r r2 | r4 g g g |

On the other hand, some commentators are unimpressed with these resemblances and consider them to be accidental. Antony Hopkins,[2] discussing the theme in the scherzo, says "no musician with an ounce of feeling could confuse [the two rhythms]", explaining that the scherzo rhythm begins on a strong musical beat whereas the first-movement theme begins on a weak one. Donald Tovey[39] pours scorn on the idea that a rhythmic motif unifies the symphony: "This profound discovery was supposed to reveal an unsuspected unity in the work, but it does not seem to have been carried far enough." Applied consistently, he continues, the same approach would lead to the conclusion that many other works by Beethoven are also "unified" with this symphony, as the motif appears in the "Appassionata" piano sonata, the Fourth Piano Concerto (About this soundlisten ), and in the String Quartet, Op. 74. Tovey concludes, "the simple truth is that Beethoven could not do without just such purely rhythmic figures at this stage of his art."

To Tovey's objection can be added the prominence of the short-short-short-long rhythmic figure in earlier works by Beethoven's older Classical contemporaries such as Haydn and Mozart. To give just two examples, it is found in Haydn's "Miracle" Symphony, No. 96 (About this soundlisten ) and in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 25, K. 503 (About this soundlisten ). Such examples show that "short-short-short-long" rhythms were a regular part of the musical language of the composers of Beethoven's day.

It seems likely that whether or not Beethoven deliberately, or unconsciously, wove a single rhythmic motif through the Fifth Symphony will (in Hopkins's words) "remain eternally open to debate."[2]

Use of La Folia

La Folia Variation (measures 166–176)

Folia is a dance form with a distinctive rhythm and harmony, which was used by many composers from the Renaissance well into the 19th and even 20th centuries, often in the context of a theme and variations.[40] It was used by Beethoven in his Fifth Symphony in the harmony midway through the slow movement (bars 166–177).[41] Although some recent sources mention that the fragment of the Folia theme in Beethoven's symphony was detected only in the 1990s, Reed J. Hoyt analyzed some Folia-aspects in the oeuvre of Beethoven already in 1982 in his "Letter to the Editor", in the journal College Music Symposium 21, where he draws attention to the existence of complex archetypal patterns and their relationship.[42]

Trombones and piccolos

It is a common misconception that the last movement of Beethoven's Fifth is the first time the trombone and the piccolo were used in a concert symphony. In 1807, the Swedish composer Joachim Nicolas Eggert had specified trombones for his Symphony in E major,[43] and examples of earlier symphonies with a part for piccolo abound, including Michael Haydn's Symphony No. 18 in C major, composed in August 1773.

Textual questions

Third movement repeat

In the autograph score (that is, the original version from Beethoven's hand), the third movement contains a repeat mark: when the scherzo and trio sections have both been played through, the performers are directed to return to the very beginning and play these two sections again. Then comes a third rendering of the scherzo, this time notated differently for pizzicato strings and transitioning directly to the finale (see description above). Most modern printed editions of the score do not render this repeat mark; and indeed most performances of the symphony render the movement as ABA′ (where A = scherzo, B = trio, and A′ = modified scherzo), in contrast to the ABABA′ of the autograph score. The repeat mark in the autograph is unlikely to be simply an error on the composer's part. The ABABA′ scheme for scherzi appears elsewhere in Beethoven, in the Bagatelle for solo piano, Op. 33, No. 7 (1802), and in the Fourth, Sixth, and Seventh Symphonies. However, it is possible that for the Fifth Symphony, Beethoven originally preferred ABABA′, but changed his mind in the course of publication in favor of ABA′.

Since Beethoven's day, published editions of the symphony have always printed ABA′. However, in 1978 an edition specifying ABABA′ was prepared by Peter Gülke and published by Peters. In 1999, yet another edition, by Jonathan Del Mar, was published by Bärenreiter[44][45] which advocates a return to ABA′. In the accompanying book of commentary,[46] Del Mar defends in depth the view that ABA′ represents Beethoven's final intention; in other words, that conventional wisdom was right all along.

In concert performances, ABA′ prevailed until the 2000s. However, since the appearance of the Gülke edition, conductors have felt more free to exercise their own choice. Performances with ABABA′ seem to be particularly favored by conductors who specialize in authentic performance or historically informed performance (that is, using instruments of the kind employed in Beethoven's day and playing techniques of the period). These include Caroline Brown, Christopher Hogwood, John Eliot Gardiner, and Nikolaus Harnoncourt. ABABA′ performances on modern instruments have also been recorded by the New Philharmonia Orchestra under Pierre Boulez, the Tonhalle Orchester Zürich under David Zinman, and the Berlin Philharmonic under Claudio Abbado.

Reassigning bassoon notes to the horns

In the first movement, the passage that introduces the second subject of the exposition is assigned by Beethoven as a solo to the pair of horns.

\relative c'' {
\set Staff.midiInstrument = #"french horn"
\key c \minor
\time 2/4
r8 bes[\ff^"a 2" bes bes] | es,2\sf | f\sf | bes,\sf |

At this location, the theme is played in the key of E major. When the same theme is repeated later on in the recapitulation section, it is given in the key of C major. Antony Hopkins writes:

This ... presented a problem to Beethoven, for the horns [of his day], severely limited in the notes they could actually play before the invention of valves, were unable to play the phrase in the 'new' key of C major—at least not without stopping the bell with the hand and thus muffling the tone. Beethoven therefore had to give the theme to a pair of bassoons, who, high in their compass, were bound to seem a less than adequate substitute. In modern performances the heroic implications of the original thought are regarded as more worthy of preservation than the secondary matter of scoring; the phrase is invariably played by horns, to whose mechanical abilities it can now safely be trusted.[2]

In fact, even before Hopkins wrote this passage (1981), some conductors had experimented with preserving Beethoven's original scoring for bassoons. This can be heard on many performances including those conducted by Caroline Brown mentioned in the preceding section as well as in a recent[when?] recording by Simon Rattle with the Vienna Philharmonic. Although horns capable of playing the passage in C major were developed not long after the premiere of the Fifth Symphony (they were developed in 1814[47]), it is not known whether Beethoven would have wanted to substitute modern horns, or keep the bassoons, in the crucial passage.

There are strong arguments in favor of keeping the original scoring even when modern valve horns are available. The structure of the movement posits a programmatic alteration of light and darkness, represented by major and minor. Within this framework, the topically heroic transitional theme dispels the darkness of the minor first theme groups and ushers in the major second theme group. However, in the development section, Beethoven systematically fragments and dismembers this heroic theme in bars 180–210. Thus he may have rescored its return in the recapitulation for a weaker sound to foreshadow the essential expositional closure in minor. Moreover, the horns used in the fourth movement are natural horns in C, which can easily play this passage. If Beethoven had wanted the second theme in the horns, he could have had the horns resting for the previous bars to give them time to switch instruments, and then written "muta in c," similar to his "muta in f" instruction in measure 412 of the first movement of Symphony No. 3.[citation needed]


  • The edition by Jonathan Del Mar mentioned above was published as follows: Ludwig van Beethoven. Symphonies 1–9. Urtext. Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1996–2000, ISMN M-006-50054-3.
  • An inexpensive version of the score has been issued by Dover Publications. This is a 1989 reprint of an old edition (Braunschweig: Henry Litolff, no date).[48]

Cover versions and other uses in popular culture

The Fifth has been adapted many times to other genres, including the following examples:

Further media

Performed by Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Wilhelm Furtwängler in 1937

Notes and references

  1. ^ Schauffler, Robert Haven (1933). Beethoven: The Man Who Freed Music. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Doran, & Company. p. 211.
  2. ^ a b c d e Hopkins, Antony (1977). The Nine Symphonies of Beethoven. Scolar Press. ISBN 1-85928-246-6.
  3. ^ "Beethoven's deafness". Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  4. ^ Kinderman, William (1995). Beethoven. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 122. ISBN 0-520-08796-8.
  5. ^ Parsons, Anthony (1990). "Symphonic birth-pangs of the trombone". British Trombone Society. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  6. ^ Robbins Landon, H. C. (1992). Beethoven: His Life, Work, and World. New York: Thames and Hudson. p. 149.
  7. ^ "Recension: Sinfonie ... composée et dediée etc. par Louis van Beethoven. à Leipsic, chez Breitkopf et Härtel, Oeuvre 67. No. 5. des Sinfonies", Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung 12, nos. 40 and 41 (4 & 11 July 1810): cols. 630–42 and 652–59. Citation in col. 633.
  8. ^ Published anonymously, "Beethovens Instrumental-Musik",  [de], nos. 245–47 (9, 10, and 11 December 1813): cols. 1953–57, 1964–67, and 1973–75. Also published anonymously as part of Hoffmann's collection titled Fantasiestücke in Callots Manier, 4 vols. Bamberg, 1814. English edition, as Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann, Fantasy Pieces in Callot's Manner: Pages from the Diary of a Traveling Romantic, translated by Joseph M Hayse. Schenectady: Union College Press, 1996; ISBN 0-912756-28-4.
  9. ^ "Golden Record Music List". NASA. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  10. ^ Moss, Charles K. "Ludwig van Beethoven: A Musical Titan". Archived from the original on 22 December 2007..
  11. ^ Freed, Richard. "Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67". Archived from the original on 6 September 2005.
  12. ^ Rushton, Julian. The Music of Berlioz. p. 244.
  13. ^ "London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Josef Krips – The Victory Symphony (Symphony No. 5 In C major[sic], Op. 67)". Discogs. 2015. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  14. ^ Code designations for Morse code letters were decided based on a table of letter frequency by Alfred Vail.[citation needed]
  15. ^ "V-Campaign". A World of Wireless: Virtual Radiomuseum. Archived from the original on 12 March 2005. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  16. ^ Karpf, Jason (18 July 2013). "V for Victory and Viral". The Funky Adjunct. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  17. ^ MacDonald, James (20 July 1941). "British Open 'V' Nerve War; Churchill Spurs Resistance". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  18. ^ a b Scherman, Thomas K. & Louis, Biancolli (1973). The Beethoven Companion. Garden City, New York: Double & Company. p. 570.
  19. ^ Steinberg, Michael (1998). The Symphony. Oxford. p. 24.
  20. ^ Scherman, Thomas K. & Biancolli, Louis (1973). The Beethoven Companion. Garden City, New York: Double & Company. p. 572.
  21. ^ Lockwood, Lewis (2003). Beethoven: The Music and the Life. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. p. 223. ISBN 0-393-05081-5.
  22. ^ Kinderman, William (2009). Beethoven (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 150.
  23. ^ Lockwood, Lewis (2003). Beethoven: The Music and the Life. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. p. 224. ISBN 0-393-05081-5.
  24. ^ Kerst, Friedrich; Krehbiel, Henry Edward, eds. (2008). Beethoven: The Man and the Artist, as Revealed in His Own Words. Translated by Henry Edward Krehbiel. Boston: IndyPublishing. p. 15.
  25. ^ James Webster, Haydn's 'Farewell' Symphony and the Idea of Classical Style, p. 267
  26. ^ Rosen, Charles (1997). The Classical Style (2nd ed.). New York: Norton. p. 72.
  27. ^ Romano, Stefan (Winter 2009). "Ending the Fifth". The Beethoven Journal. 24 (2): 56–71.
  28. ^ Nottebohm, Gustav (1887). Zweite Beethoviana. Leipzig: C. F. Peters. p. 531.
  29. ^ Jolly, Constance (1966). Beethoven as I Knew Him. London: Faber and Faber. As translated from Schindler (1860). Biographie von Ludwig van Beethoven.
  30. ^ Cooper, Barry (1991). The Beethoven Compendium. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Borders Press. p. 52. ISBN 0-681-07558-9.
  31. ^ "Ludwig van Beethoven—Symphony No. 5, Op. 67". Classical Music Pages. Archived from the original on 6 July 2009.
  32. ^ Wyatt, Henry. "Mason Gross Presents—Program Notes: 14 June 2003". Mason Gross School of Arts. Archived from the original on 1 September 2006.
  33. ^ Rosen, Charles (2002). Beethoven's Piano Sonatas: A Short Companion. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 134.
  34. ^ a b Briscoe, Doug. "Program Notes: Celebrating Harry: Orchestral Favorites Honoring the Late Harry Ellis Dickson". Boston Classic Orchestra. Archived from the original on 17 July 2012.
  35. ^ Gutmann, Peter. "Ludwig Van Beethoven: Fifth Symphony". Classical Notes.
  36. ^ "Beethoven's Symphony No. 5. The Destiny Symphony". All About Beethoven.
  37. ^ Bratby, Richard. "Symphony No. 5". Archived from the original on 31 August 2005.
  38. ^ "Ludwig van Beethoven". Grove Online Encyclopedia.
  39. ^ Tovey, Donald Francis (1935). Essays in Musical Analysis, Volume 1: Symphonies. London: Oxford University Press.
  40. ^ "What is La Folia?". 2015. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  41. ^ "Bar 166". 2008. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  42. ^ "Which versions of La Folia have been written down, transcribed or recorded?". Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  43. ^ Kallai, Avishai. "Revert to Eggert". Retrieved 28 April 2006.
  44. ^ Del Mar, Jonathan, ed. (1999). Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 in C minor. Kassel: Bärenreiter.
  45. ^ Del Mar, Jonathan (July–December 1999). "Jonathan Del Mar, New Urtext Edition: Beethoven Symphonies 1–9". British Academy Review. Retrieved 23 February 2008.
  46. ^ Del Mar, Jonathan, ed. (1999). Critical Commentary. Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 in C minor. Kassel: Bärenreiter.
  47. ^ Ericson, John. "E. C. Lewy and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9".
  48. ^ Symphonies Nos. 5, 6, and 7 in Full Score (Ludwig van Beethoven). New York: Dover Publications. ISBN 0-486-26034-8.
  49. ^ Stamm, Michael (June 2012). "Beethoven in America". The Journal of American History. 99 (1): 321–322. doi:10.1093/jahist/jas129. Retrieved 31 August 2015.

Further reading

External links



HaydnSymphony No. 8, Third Movement (The Night Symphony)

The Esterházy Palace on Vienna's Wallnerstraße, where this symphony premiered.

Joseph Haydn wrote his Symphony No. 8 in G major under the employ of Prince Paul II Anton Esterházy in Spring 1761, in the transition between the Baroque and Classical periods. It is the third part of a set of three symphonies that Prince Anton had commissioned him to write – Le matin ("Morning"; No. 6), Le midi ("Noon"; No. 7) and Le soir ("Evening"; No. 8). He had given him as inspiration the three times of Day.


The orchestration used in Symphony No. 8 is very similar to the concerto grosso style of the Baroque period, where a small group of solo instruments was set against a larger ensemble. In Symphony No. 8, the small group consists of a solo violoncello and two solo violins, solo violone and the large ensemble contains two oboes, one flute, two horns, strings, bassoon and harpsichord. Haydn's use of the bassoon and harpsichord is reminiscent of the basso continuo used extensively throughout the Baroque period; however it is not as constantly driving.


This symphony has the usual number of four movements for a classical symphony (in the tonic G major unless otherwise specified):

  1. Allegro molto, 3
  2. Andante in C major, 2
  3. Menuetto & Trio (Trio in C major), 3
  4. La tempesta: Presto, 6

The first movement is a gigue in sonata form and quotes a melody from a song in Christoph Willibald Gluck's opera Le diable à quatre called "Je n'aimais pas le tabac beaucoup" ("I didn't like tobacco much").[1][2] The final movement, also in sonata form, subtitled La tempesta, was intended to evoke the sensation of a thunderstorm.

In the first movement, the strings start with the main eight-bar melody, a theme which carries throughout the entire movement. Haydn makes use of the concerto grosso format in the second movement, with the melody in the concertino – two solo violins and solo violoncello. The melody of the menuet is fairly conventional, with the bassoon, violone, and strings taking up the theme in the trio. In the final movement, La tempesta (the storm), the strings have a series of descending figures which suggest falling rain, and octave leaps in the solo violin are used to build tension. An interesting anecdote about the theme of the flute in this movement: When Haydn describes a storm in his last oratorio The Seasons, he uses the same theme as in this movement, with the same orchestration – passage in the flute of descending broken chord.

See also


  1. ^ Clark, Caryl, Review of New Directions for Haydn Research: Internationaler Joseph Haydn Kongress, Wien, 1982 (edited by Eva Badura-Skoda) (Spring 1988). The Journal of Musicology, 6 (2): pp. 245–257.
  2. ^ Churgin, Bathia, "Music Reviews: Six Symphonies a più strumenti, opus 4 (Pierre van Maldere; edited by Craig Lister) and Sinfonien 1761 bis 1763 (Joseph Haydn; edited by Jürgen Braun and Sonja Gerlach)" (June 1993). Notes (2nd Ser.), 49 (4): pp. 1630–32.


  • Landon, H. C. Robbins (1963). Joseph Haydn: Critical Edition of the Complete Symphonies. Universal Edition, Vienna.


BeethovenSymphony No. 7, First Movement

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 premiere, 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.[1]


The work was premiered with Beethoven himself conducting in Vienna on 8 December 1813 at a charity concert for soldiers wounded in the Battle of Hanau. In Beethoven's address to the participants, the motives are not openly named: "We are moved by nothing but pure patriotism and the joyful sacrifice of our powers for those who have sacrificed so much for us."[2]

The program also included the patriotic work Wellington's Victory, exalting the victory of the British over Napoleon's France. The orchestra was led by Beethoven's friend Ignaz Schuppanzigh and included some of the finest musicians of the day: violinist Louis Spohr,[3] composers Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Giacomo Meyerbeer and Antonio Salieri,[4] bassoonist Anton Romberg, and the Italian double bass virtuoso Domenico Dragonetti, whom Beethoven described as playing "with great fire and expressive power".[citation needed] The Italian guitar virtuoso Mauro Giuliani played cello at the premiere.[5]

The piece was very well received, such that the audience demanded the Allegretto movement be encored immediately.[3] Spohr made particular mention of Beethoven's antics on the podium ("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 friends of Beethoven made arrangements for a repetition of the concert" by which "Beethoven was extricated from his pecuniary difficulties".[6]


The symphony is scored for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in A, 2 bassoons, 2 horns in A (E and D in the inner movements), 2 trumpets in D, timpani, and strings.


The Seventh Symphony is in four movements:

A typical performance time lasts approximately 40 minutes.

The work as a whole is known for its use of rhythmic devices suggestive of a dance, such as dotted rhythm and repeated rhythmic figures. It is also tonally subtle, making use of the tensions between the key centres of A, C and F. For instance, the first movement is in A major but has repeated episodes in C major and F major. In addition, the second movement is in A minor with episodes in A major, and the third movement, a scherzo, is in F major.

I. Poco sostenuto – Vivace

The first movement starts with a long, expanded introduction marked Poco sostenuto (metronome mark: quarter note = 69) that is noted for its long ascending scales and a cascading series of applied dominants that facilitates modulations to C major and F major. From the last episode in F major, the movement transitions to Vivace through a series of no fewer than sixty-one repetitions of the note E.

The Vivace (dotted quarter note. = 104) is in sonata form, and is dominated by lively dance-like dotted rhythms, sudden dynamic changes, and abrupt modulations. The first theme of the Vivace is shown below.

\new Score {
  \new Staff {
    \relative c''' {
      \set Staff.midiInstrument = #"flute"
      \set Score.currentBarNumber = #67
      \time 6/8
      \key a \major
      \clef treble
      \tempo 4. = 104
      \omit Score.MetronomeMark
      \bar ""

      e4.~\p e8. d16-. cis8-.
      \grace { cis32( } d4.)~ d8. fis,16-. gis8-.
      a4 a8 a8. b16-. cis8-.
      cis8( b4) \grace { cis32( b ais } b8.) cis16-. d8-.
      e4.~ e8. d16-. cis8-.
      \grace { cis32( } d4.)~ d8. fis,16-. gis8-.
      a4 a8( a cis) b-.

The development section opens in C major and contains extensive episodes in F major. The movement finishes with a long coda, which starts similarly as the development section. The coda contains a famous twenty-bar passage consisting of a two-bar motif repeated ten times to the background a grinding four octave deep pedal point of an E.

II. Allegretto

The second movement in A minor has a tempo marking of Allegretto ("a little lively"), making it slow only in comparison to the other three movements. This movement was encored at the premiere and has remained popular since. Its reliance on the string section makes it a good example of Beethoven's advances in orchestral writing for strings, building on the experimental innovations of Haydn.[7]

The movement is structured in a double variation form. It begins with the main melody played by the violas and cellos, an ostinato (repeated rhythmic figure, or ground bass, or passacaglia of a quarter note, two eighth notes and two quarter notes).

\new Score {
  \new Staff {
    \relative c {
      \set Staff.midiInstrument = #"cello"
      \time 2/4
      \key a \minor
      \clef alto
      \tempo "Allegretto" 4 = 76

      e4 e8-. e-.
      e e8-. e-.
      e4 e8-. fis-.
      g4 g8-. g-.  
      g4 r4      

This melody is then played by the second violins while the violas and cellos play a second melody, described by George Grove as "a string of beauties hand-in-hand".[8] The first violins then take the first melody while the second violins take the second. This progression culminates with the wind section playing the first melody while the first violin plays the second.

After this, the music changes from A minor to A major as the clarinets take a calmer melody to the background of light triplets played by the violins. This section ends thirty-seven bars later with a quick descent of the strings on an A minor scale, and the first melody is resumed and elaborated upon in a strict fugato.

III. Presto – Assai meno presto

The third movement is a scherzo in F major and trio in D major. Here, the trio (based on an Austrian pilgrims' hymn[9]) is played twice rather than once. This expansion of the usual A–B–A structure of ternary form into A–B–A–B–A was quite common in other works of Beethoven of this period, such as his Fourth Symphony, Pastoral Symphony, and String Quartet Op. 59 No. 2.

IV. Allegro con brio

The last movement is in sonata form. According to music historian Glenn Stanley, Beethoven "exploited the possibility that a string section can realize both angularity and rhythmic contrast if used as an obbligato-like background",[7] particularly in the coda, which contains an example, rare in Beethoven's music, of the dynamic marking fff.

\new Score {
  \new Staff {
    \relative e'' {
      \set Staff.midiInstrument = #"violin"
      \set Score.currentBarNumber = #5
      \time 2/4
      \key a \major
      \clef treble
      \tempo "Allegro con brio" 2 = 72
      \bar ""

      b8-.\ff b16( cis e\sf d cis b)
      cis8-. cis16( d fis\sf e d cis)
      b8-. b16( cis e\sf d cis b)
      cis8.(a'16) a4~
      a8 b,16( cis e\sf d cis b)
      cis8-. cis16( d fis\sf e d cis)
      b8-. b16( cis e\sf d cis b)
      <e, cis' a'>8 r r4 \bar ":|"

In his book Beethoven and his Nine Symphonies, Sir George Grove wrote, "The force that reigns throughout this movement is literally prodigious, and reminds one of Carlyle's hero Ram Dass, who has 'fire enough in his belly to burn up the entire world.'" Donald Tovey, writing in his Essays in Musical Analysis, commented on this movement's "Bacchic fury" and many other writers have commented on its whirling dance-energy: the main theme is a precise duple time variant of the instrumental ritornello in Beethoven's own arrangement of the Irish folk-song "Save me from the grave and wise", No. 8 of his Twelve Irish Folk Songs, WoO 154.


Critics and listeners have often felt stirred or inspired by the Seventh Symphony. For instance, one program-note author writes:

... the final movement zips along at an irrepressible pace that threatens to sweep the entire orchestra off its feet and around the theater, caught up in the sheer joy of performing one of the most perfect symphonies ever written.[10]

Composer and music author Antony Hopkins says of the symphony:

The Seventh Symphony perhaps more than any of the others gives us a feeling of true spontaneity; the notes seem to fly off the page as we are borne along on a floodtide of inspired invention. Beethoven himself spoke of it fondly as "one of my best works". Who are we to dispute his judgment?[11]

Another admirer, composer Richard Wagner, referring to the lively rhythms which permeate the work, called it the "apotheosis of the dance".[8]

On the other hand, admiration for the work has not been universal. Friedrich Wieck, who was present during rehearsals, said that the consensus, among musicians and laymen alike, was that Beethoven must have composed the symphony in a drunken state;[12] and the conductor Thomas Beecham commented on the third movement: "What can you do with it? It's like a lot of yaks jumping about."[13]

The oft-repeated claim that Carl Maria von Weber considered the chromatic bass line in the coda of the first movement evidence that Beethoven was "ripe for the madhouse" seems to have been the invention of Beethoven's first biographer, Anton Schindler. His possessive adulation of Beethoven is well-known, and he was criticised by his contemporaries for his obsessive attacks on Weber. According to John Warrack, Weber's biographer, Schindler was characteristically evasive when defending Beethoven, and there is "no shred of concrete evidence" that Weber ever made the remark.[14]


A facsimile of Beethoven's manuscript to Symphony no. 7 was published in 2017 by Figaro Verlag.[15]


  1. ^ "Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92" at NPR (13 June 2006)
  2. ^ Original German: "Uns alle erfüllt nichts als das reine Gefühl der Vaterlandsliebe und des freudigen Opfers unserer Kräfte für diejenigen, die uns so viel geopfert haben." Quoted in: Harry Goldschmidt. Beethoven. Werkeinführungen. Leipzig: Reclam, 1975, p. 49.
  3. ^ a b Steinberg, Michael. The Symphony: A Listeners Guide. pp. 38–43. Oxford University Press, 1995.
  4. ^ Jan Swafford (2014). Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 615–. ISBN 978-0-618-05474-9.
  5. ^ Annala, Hannu; Matlik, Heiki (2010). Handbook of Guitar and Lute Composers. Pacific, Missouri: Mel Bay Publications. p. 78. ISBN 978-0786658442. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  6. ^ Spohr, Louis (1865). Autobiography. London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, and Green. pp. 186–187.
  7. ^ a b Stanley, Glenn (11 May 2000). The Cambridge Companion to Beethoven. Cambridge University Press. pp. 181ff. ISBN 978-0-521-58934-5.
  8. ^ a b Grove, Sir George (1962). Beethoven and His Nine Symphonies (3rd ed.). New York: Dover Publications. pp. 252. OCLC 705665.
  9. ^ Grove, 228–271
  10. ^ Geoff Kuenning. "Beethoven: Symphony No. 7". (personal web page).
  11. ^ Hopkins 1981, 219
  12. ^ Meltzer, Ken (17 February 2011). "Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Program Notes" (PDF).
  13. ^ Bicknell, David (EMI executive). "Sir Thomas Beecham". Archived from the original on 24 July 2008.
  14. ^ Warrack, John Hamilton (1976). Carl Maria von Weber (reprint, revised ed.). CUP Archive. pp. 98–99. ISBN 0521291216.
  15. ^ Beethoven, Ludwig van (2017). Sinfonie Nr. 7, A-Dur, op. 92. Laaber, Germany: Figaro-Verlag. ISBN 9783946798132. Retrieved 23 March 2018.


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