Available until 18 July 2021

Symphony No 2

Many motives and ideas in Beethoven’s upcoming symphonies can be traced to the second symphony: here Beethoven became Beethoven and no one else. “In the second symphony there is musical material for 20 works”, he said later and he was right. It is full of ideas and inventions, like a child or a teenager who can’t stop talking about their thoughts and impressions, and isn’t it marvellous to listen to that?

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) grew up in Bonn with Flemish ancestry on his father’s side, hence the word “van” in the name (Beethoven is a Flemish / Dutch combination of the words “beet” and “farm”). When he moved to Vienna, he soon became known as a piano virtuoso, only then as a composer.

His early works belong to the era of “Vienna Classicism”, as well as the music of Mozart and Haydn. The composers who formed the style for the era were mainly resident in Vienna – hence the name “Vienna Classicism”. The pieces were often composed with a prominent melody part instead of as before with several equivalent melody parts. The works were also divided into blocks that balanced against each other, in different moods. During this period, the “modern” symphony developed and the orchestra got its current make-up.

In social life, Beethoven could be an oaf with his straightforward and uncensored comments – he did not have time for unnecessary flattery or ingratiation. He had no time for anything but himself, really. He never doubted that he was the greatest of his time in music, so he was hardly a popular person and remained a bachelor, even though true love seems to have entered his life on a couple of occasions.

Recorded for GSOplay 5 October 2018


Beethoven Symphony No 2


Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra

Santtu-Matias Rouvali conductor

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