Beethoven's Symphonies: A Complete Guide


The symphonies explored by nine leading conductors: Norrington, Zinman, Jansons, Vänskä, Gardiner, Iván Fischer, Tilson Thomas, Paavo Järvi and Chailly

Beethoven symphonies

Welcome to our guide to our guide to Beethoven's nine symphonies – nine of today's leading conductors offer their unique insights into Beethoven's symphony cycle.

 

Beethoven symphonies

Symphony No 1

By Sir Roger Norrington

'Harmonically, it’s a bit more stable than Haydn, a bit more Romantic, and in some ways more mischievous even, but it’s still a lot "safer" than what Mahler or Elgar did in their first symphonies.'

Read the article

 

Beethoven symphonies

Symphony No 2

By David Zinman

'This is a fabulous, Classical symphony and, I think, a brilliant, virtuoso piece – the kind of piece he had to write in order to move on. The use of development is quite extraordinary.'

Read the article

 

Beethoven symphonies

Symphony No 3

By Mariss Jansons

'Although you can already hear the special Beethoven spirit in the Second, it was the Third that brought a revolutionary change. It marked a complete change of direction for the symphonic repertoire.'

Read the article

 

Beethoven symphonies

Symphony No 4

By Osmo Vänskä

'This is a great piece of music, and even if it had not been written by Beethoven as part of the cycle, I am sure it would have its place in programmes – without help from the other symphonies.'

Read the article

 

Beethoven symphonies

Symphony No 5

By Sir John Eliot Gardiner

'The challenge is to make sure that those three notes sound off the beat, so there’s quite a technique involved in establishing the motto of the symphony.'

Read the article

 

Beethoven symphonies

Symphony No 6

By Iván Fischer

'I have had the opportunity to perform full cycles of the Beethoven symphonies several times and it’s the Sixth Symphony that stands out as an exception'

Read the article

 

Beethoven symphonies

Symphony No 7

By Michael Tilson Thomas

'Beethoven is not programmatic, but his music is always distinctive and recognisable; and always, somehow, he succeeds in examining some different part of us and our nature.'

Read the article

 

Beethoven symphonies

Symphony No 8

By Paavo Järvi

'It is completely wrong to try and play this piece in the style of the Ninth. I have realised that to apologise in any way for the sudden change of character and quirkiness of this piece would diminish it.'

Read the article

 

Beethoven symphonies

Symphony No 9

By Riccardo Chailly

'I still remember like it was yesterday the feeling almost of being guilty, to have had the courage to get close to such a piece as the Ninth Symphony'

Read the article

Gramophone Print

  • Print Edition

From £67/year

Subscribe

The Gramophone Digital Club

  • Digital Edition
  • Digital Archive
  • Reviews Database
  • Events & Offers

From £90/year

Subscribe

Gramophone Reviews

  • Reviews Database

From £67/year

Subscribe

Gramophone Digital Edition

  • Digital Edition
  • Digital Archive

From £67/year

Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.