The Clinton Symphony will perform Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony this coming Saturday, November 6, 7:30pm, at Sterling High School. Please enjoy the following program notes about this piece. Reminder, we are offering a bus that will pick up in Clinton, Fulton, and Morrison, call 563-219-8084 for reservations.
BEETHOVEN – Symphony No. 7 in A major, op.92
Symphony no. 7 was composed during one of Beethoven’s most painful periods. His deafness was worsening, a deep love affair had collapsed due to class differences, and he was in need of money. Yet he managed to compose what he considered one of his best symphonies, writing “only art and science can raise people to the level of gods.”
The Age of Beethoven was also the Age of Napoleon. Enthused at first by Napoleon’s expressed desire for a more humanitarian social order, Beethoven became disillusioned by 1804 when Napoleon crowned himself Emperor. The 7th symphony was completed in 1812, debuting at a benefit for troops wounded in the Battle of Hanau when Napoleon’s military exploits were beginning to fail.
Anthony Hopkins describes the work as the “feeling of true spontaneity—the notes seem to fly off the page as we are borne along on a floodtide of inspired invention.”
Composed in a standard 4-movement form, the symphony begins with a slow, expanded introduction, one of the largest of any symphony foreshadowing every one of the work’s themes. The final moments of the introduction lead into the vivace of fierce energy and speed in a dance-like triple meter. The second movement keeps the Allegretto closely bound to the more exuberant moves around it, building in intensity including a fugue near the end. This movement’s beauty won the love of his audiences. The third Presto movement is almost like a Rondo with A-B themes repeated several times, bringing out the dance aspect even more.
The Finale Allegro con Brio is in a furiously energetic 2/4 meter showcasing Beethoven’s famous rhythmic ingenuity, a wild and swirling motion unimagined before Beethoven’s day, a distinctive sound coming from his use of the horns.
Program notes by Karin Anderson-Sweet