Beethoven's Seventh Symphony Analysis

Topics: Key signature, Symphony, Ludwig van Beethoven Pages: 7 (2502 words) Published: May 12, 2013
Symphony No. 7 in A Major (Op. 92), completed in 1812, might have been one of Ludwig Van Beethoven’s most popular pieces. The seventh of Beethoven’s nine symphonies, its premiere concert (December 1813 in Vienna) was performed at a charity concert in order to benefit the soldiers who had been wounded a few months prior in the battle of Hanau. It was performed three times in ten weeks following its premiere. During the time of the symphony’s premiere, Vienna was still distressed due to being taken over by Napoleon in 1805 and 1809 and yearning for victory; the audience at the premiere seemed to have loved the energy and beauty of the piece. The Seventh Symphony had been dedicated to both Count Moritz von Fries and Russian Empress Elisabeth Aleksiev. The symphony’s second movement (Allegretto) is often performed separately from the complete symphony and has actually been featured in several famous movies, including Immortal Beloved (1994) and The King’s Speech (2010.)

Being that the Seventh Symphony was completed in 1812, an elongated interval had passed since Beethoven’s last symphony. It was a longer time than had passed between any of his other symphonies, and during this period he composed a large number of less important works (such as The String Quartets in E flat.) At this time, Beethoven was a widely recognized composer but not yet exactly most popular, published, or often performed. Scattered but relative dates within this interval between symphonies have been considered to have constituted as to why his Seventh and Eighth Symphonies had differentiated in sound from his previous symphonies. Such instances include Beethoven’s engagement with Countess Theresa Brunswick being broken off in 1806, and the appearance Hoffman’s criticism on Beethoven’s C Minor in 1810. It’s been believed that Beethoven’s personal characteristic rough traits had not made their way into his music until the Seventh Symphony. His moods and mannerisms had not quite yet shown through his compositions until then, including his “boisterousness” and his “free, unbuttoned description” as described by those who had known him.

The concept of heroic music responding to rough tribulations of contemporary history was already beginning to emerge and take shape. Despite this foreshadowing, though, Beethoven was the first to truly fuse the temperate, complex subject matter of the heroic style with the sonata principle. In essence, he inaugurated a revolution in the history of music. Beethoven took his music way beyond what people had described as the pleasure sentiment of Viennese Classicism. He allowed aggressive and disintegrative energies and forces to enter musical form and placed a traumatizing, tragic story at the core of his heroic style. He also introduced elements and effects into music that had previously been considered unwelcome, or had been neglected by the general public and prior composers. He entered the “daring” realm of his musical era and did things differently than many of those before him, creating somewhat of an entire “Beethoven sound” or more prominently and broad, “tragic music”—tragic, victorious, romantic, and deeply saddening all at once. But yet, and this is another reason Beethoven’s music has become widely popular and cherished—his compositions were never conventionally or solely tragic. As heard in the Seventh Symphony as well as compositions that precede it (including Eroica), many of Beethoven’s works have integrated tunes of joy or triumph and he had usually put these “happy notes” at the very end of his pieces. Also, Beethoven seemed to have broken the common qualities of tragic art. His music does not merely express a human being’s capacity to simply endure or resist suffering and trauma, but it expresses so much more. Features of high comedy, jovial reconciliations, battles won, and tragic effaced. From this it can be drawn that, while most of the general population hear Beethoven’s music and comprehend it as coming...
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