The Music Of The Classical Symphony

1414 Words Nov 29th, 2014 6 Pages
There are precious few artists in the course of history who made such a dramatic development and impact throughout the course of their careers as Ludwig van Beethoven. His nine symphonies are a perfect example of such a metamorphosis of musical genius. Not only his compositional strides, but the manner in which he made them is extremely important to the shape of our musical culture. Throughout the development of his works, Beethoven kept one foot in the past while reaching and cultivating the artistic future of the symphonic form, thus shaping a societal view of the art form as a whole. The maturation of his nine symphonies can best be categorized by Beethoven’s manipulation of classical form and orchestration as a vehicle of stylistic and emotional change forever shaping the world of the classical symphony. Before Beethoven the symphony was a suite, after Beethoven it was a poetic whole.
One can only speculate if young Beethoven could foresee the role of his works in the future, but only an inspired musical architect could mold the future of the classical symphony while respecting the traditions of its past. His first symphony, like his predecessors, followed the traditional compositional practices of form and tonality. “Certainly, like Haydn, Beethoven would have been aware of the long foundation of [this] music.” (Jones, 1995) As if it were a compositional exercise, he proved his ability as an ode to traditional compositional structure before bending the classical…
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