9th happens to be my favourite.
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I believe the moonlight sonata was composed by the great composer with his head pinned on the top of the piano for vibrations as he could not hear anything. We can hear, does it mean we can compose somthing better than moonlight sonata? Come, come, we ought to respect him for what he gave us! If the 9th was so bad it would be forgotten by now!
What a nest of hornets I stirred up by disliking the 9th!
No, I can't write a symphony, but I can do many other things that Beethoven couldn't. It would be more appropriate to compare Beethoven to Bach or Mozart.
No wonder Wagner liked the 9th. It is pompous and overbearing just like much of Wagner's music.
Eldartford, It is one thing to say you do not like Beethovens 9th, or any of the rest of his symphonies for that matter. But, to dismiss them as valueless, not just to you, but in general, does in fact make your opinion a humble one and of little value to anyone interested in music but yourself. And if you reread your posts that is what you will find you have done. IMHO.
I like the 7th the best, principally because it's a joyful one and I've always found the second movement to be hauntingly beautiful.
Eldartford, you're not alone, apart from the second movement, which I think is perhaps the greatest "dance" movement ever written, I have never liked the 9th Symphony as much as everyone else seems to. Just seems a bit overblown to me, more a theoretical triumph than truly moving to me. Obviously many disagree. I had the same problem with Mahler for a long time, but have gradually educated myself to appreciate his music, perhaps if I spent more time with the 9th I could learn to love it more.
The 9th is one of the 5 best symphonies ever written (and for some musicologists, the best of all), and since my point of view, one should not say that the 9th is overrated just because is not able to appreciate it.
Rcprince, be patient with this symphony as you were with Mahler's music, if you liked the 7th I'm almost sure you'll love the 9th after a while.
Eldartford, would it make sense to you if I said Mozart's last 5 symphonies are overrated? I guess you would laugh.
The March (2nd movement) of the Seventh
Fifth because it encompasses the the range of emotions from anger to joy.
The final movement of 9th, Ode to Joy. This piece of music draws parallels to the 4th Movement of Mozart's Jupiter, which is my very favorite symphony but this is about Beethoven, not Mozart. I can only imagine that Beethoven was inspired by Mozart's Jupiter when he wrote the Ode.
As the saying goes..."If I said that I was misquoted".
No, I am not a conductor..so what? I do know a little about music having, as an amateur, played violin in an orchestra.
Yes, I do enjoy Beethoven's symphonies, but given a choice between two concerts, Mozart or Beethoven 9, I would go to Mozart. They are not "bad": just overrated (and overplayed).
As an aside...I live a few miles from Tanglewood, the summer music festival in western Mass, and have attended many concerts these. One disturbing aspect of these concerts is the reaction of the audience to what is often a mediocre or perfunctory performance of something like a Beethoven symphony. (The musicians will tell you this. Remember, they are on summer vacation, and not really focused on their job). Wild applause. Standing ovation. Bravos. For some people the fact that it's Beethoven is all they care about. Makes you sick.
Everything said by everyone on this site is an opinion
I love all Beethoven symphonies and have 8-9 complete sets, my favorites are symphony 7,8 because I think these have the more interesting and enjoyable middle movements which make these two the best overall for me.
I think for performances I prefer the newest modern sets which were influenced by period instrument performances of late 1980's (ie Norrington, Hogwood, Gardiner), tempos are genrally faster and textures clarified:
I've been always thinking of Mozart's repeating a light chamber Baroque of Vivaldi, Corelli, presenting nearly nothing new in his simphonies while taking Bethoven in general as one of the most innovative and forwarded composers of that time who actually stepped off the classical conservatizm and embedded the instruments he wanted to develop a music. Choral 9th is a large step towards being even more innovative to include voice and lyrics.
Marakanetz...Yes, Beethoven was innovative, in fact that was the major criticism of him in his own time.
If you think that Mozart was not creative you need to do some more thinking. If "inovation" is the key to Beethoven then "creativity" describes Mozart. As one very very simple example: look what he did with "twinkle, twinkle, little star".
Amen Eldartford, creativity and an endless stream of musical ideas indeed! That is his appeal to me. Yes Beethoven was innovative and was influenced by the political climate of his time which fomented the metamorphis from Classical to Romantic. I love the music of both but for completely different reasons. No need to debate such greatness, just be thankful for what they left us and lets not forget, this IS about your favorite Beethoven symphony.
For symphony, and for myself, any Beethoven is better than Mozart. It is not a fair comparison, because Mozart probably never hear the last few ones by Beethoven. Mozart did many beatiful music. But as far as symphony or piano sonata, IMHO Mozart did not get to the same level as B's. My friend, a Mozart fan and entry level classical lover, once told me that the reason Beethoven's are famous is because he wrote more symphony than Mozart. He did not know that there are >40 pieces done by Mozart. He can recall many Beethoven's work and never really remember Mozart more than one. That's a Mozart fan! I agree that Beethoven is more "innovative", every piece sounds so different and you remember them individually so clear even you are not a classical fan. Beethoven's music has strong love, hate, toughness, peace .... inside. Mozart never touches me in the way Beethoven does. Those strong feeling can easily be picked up by beginnier. Many love them even more after getting ages. Many (or I should say most) conductors picked 9th as their last performance as they retired. His symphony moved more people than others. Check this thread, and you know the ratio.
I will not criticize(in the larger sense of the term)any symphonies in this post but point out my subjective opinions.
Beethoven's best work was his last five string quartets.
Mozart's best work was his Vienna era piano concertos.
Bach's best work was The Musical Offering and The Art of Fugue.
Just my three cents,up a penny from two cents.
Having 15 complete cycle recordings and attended (Carnegie Hall, New York) 2 complete cycle performances of Beethovens symphonies, I am still amazed by every single note in his symphonies he wrote more than 170 years ago. Yes, Mozart is great. No one will confront that fact. Has anyone disputed Bachs greatness? Beethovens symphonies being overplayed or overrated is not related to the qualities of these symphonies themselves, it is a consensus issue. As a statistician myself, how can I question the choices of billions of people in the past 170 years? Bruckners and Mahlers symphonies are being heard in my life more recurrently than Beethovens but I still deeply admire Beethovens 9th Symphony, op. 125. IT IS IMMORTAL, in my very humble opinion. It comforts wounded souls, projects the Utopia where we human beings finally can live peacefully. So we can cease debating the greatness of Mozart and Beethoven
Also 2nd movement of Symphony No.3, 4th movement of Symphony No. 4, 1st movement of Symphony No.5, 2nd movement of Symphony No.6, 4th movement of Symphony No. 7 and 1st movement of Symphony No. 8 are my favorite fragments of these symphonies if I have the courage to separate them from whole compositions.
Yes, who can forget the opening of Beethoven's 5th and the ending of 9th. It is like a laster printer print into my head since I was a kid first time listening to it. So strong and I can't forget it. The passion is not only strong but also very deep, so I like them even more after growing up. Several B's piano sonata also impress me so much that it is a joyful lifetime memory. There are also other work here and there which are great(e.g. concerto 5th and some violin works....). Mozart, Bach, Mahler Chopin..... are all great composers too. Every one has his own strength. However, when I saw people stating "Beethoven's symphonies are overrated", I have to step out to express my love to his work. Many people can hum the melody from the complex Beethoven symphony. And how many of them remember any melody from "Jupiter"(I may even spell it wrong)? Ask a kid to hum a symphony, and see if you hear a Beethoven or someone else.
Mozart was the greatest musical genius that ever lived. You might, or not like his work, but fact stands. Beethoven was great, but was depressed most of his life for not "being" Mozart. I love them all, and we are unfortunate there hasn't been one contemporary with 100/th talent of any of the Classical guys. Jazz folks? Do not even go there.
Evidently one cannot make any criticism of Beethoven in this company without being acused of being ignorant. For what it's worth, my appreciation of classical music, including Beethoven, dates from about 1948 when I attended a musically oriented boarding school in New Zealand, and it has continued ever since. I may disagree with you, but not because I am ignorant. Perhaps I've heard that 9th too many times. Does anyone else have the feeling that the choral part begins well but goes nowhere?
Eldartford: Yes. I guess that my problem with the 9th, and it was my problem with the Mahler symphonies as well, is that the ending just seems to start and stop too much to make it coherent to my admittedly structured way of analyzing music (contrast it with the 5th symphony, which is as perfect structurally--and musically--as any symphony ever written). I've probably got to listen to it more to fully understand it (I used to feel the same way about the Mahler 2nd's last movement, but now it's one of my favorites), but my overall feeling from that movement, while it is genuinely moving, inspired and brilliant for the most part, is that it tries to do too much and loses me at the end as a result.
Bluefin I would definitely acknowledge that the opening motif to the 5th of Beethoven is probably the most well known passage in music, little doubt about that. I would also bet that the 1st and 3rd movement of Mozart's G minor symphony (# 40) are instantly recognizable to at least as many folks, possibly more, than any particular passage in a Beethoven Symphony other than the 1st movement of the 5th and the final movement of the 9th. I would also guess that although many might recognize the G Minor, most probably wouldn't know who composed it. The point is the music stays with you from the first time you hear it, hooks galore :)
Eldartford, Since you are, in fact, quite familar with classical music, wouldn't your point have been better expressed if you had voiced specific critisms, as opposed to making generic expressions, such as "over-rated", etc which when read by novices can be mis-understood as meaning that they are unworthy.I think it is this manner of expression that draws the boo's. While I realize the significance of all of Beethovens symphonies in the whole, as well as in the part, as with you I too am not really drawn to hearing repeated performances of the 9th. I feel it is not as cohesive as the 5th and 7th nor as pastoral as the 6th or joyful as the 8th. None the less it was Beethovens Symphonies which broke the ground for future symphonists, the romantic period if you will, not Mozart, even though for many years even such as Brahms felt he could not compete as a symphonist - because he felt Beethoven had said it all. Understanding what made these symphonies great prepares one for a better understanding of what was to come. Great music did not stop with Beethoven, as it did not stop with Bach, Handel, or Mozart. Its all a wonderful voyage to be enjoyed, and I wouldn't denegrate any of the "Greats" just because I didn't find them engaging (any longer). If my post implied that you were ignorant, forgive me for my boorish behavior.
Newbee...As usual this thread has strayed far from its original intent. I did identify my favorite, the 5th, as per the question of the thread. What stirred up all the talk was my suggestion that the others are not up to their godlike reputations, and I suggested Mozart as an equally good (sometimes better) composer. Of course that judgment is subjective, but I am not alone in my view.
As to the specific features that bother me, I referred to a "pompous" character, and I have in mind particularly the choral movement of the 9th. (Some other parts of his symphonies are beautiful). Also I expressed the more specific comment the choral movement begins well but lacks a satisfactory development. It was certainly innovative of Beethoven to introduce a chorus, but just imagine what Mozart would have done with it!
Tubegroover, I think all it comes to personal taste. I perfer Mozart's 35/36th over Jupitor. To me, 35 and 36 are more "Mozart". More nature sounding as Mozart's style. If I overplay Jupitor, maybe I will remember more melody. But the music never push me strongly enough to overplay it (I may have 3 different Jupitor recordings). But even then, I will not put them over Beethoven, Mahler, Bramhs,... I am talking about symphony. I love Mozart's opera too. But we are talking about symphony, aren't we?
Eldartford, Beethoven's Symphonies overrated?!! LOL...it's like if you told a jazz expert/lover Kind of Blue is overrated. haha
Kkursula, you said "Beethoven was great, but was depressed most of his life for not "being" Mozart"...quite interesting YOUR theory, I have never seen this in any of Beethoven's biographies I've read.
3rd symphony (1st,2nd and 4th movements), 5th symphony (1st and 4th movements), 6th symphony (1st, 2nd and 5th movements), 7th symphony (the whole symphony), 8th symphony (the whole symphony) and 9th symphony (the whole symphony!!!). What can I say...AMAZING MUSIC!