Academic journal article The Beethoven Journal

Beethoven's Philosophical Monologue regarding the Route to Rescue from His Fate: The Andante Con Moto of His Symphony in C Minor

Academic journal article The Beethoven Journal

Beethoven's Philosophical Monologue regarding the Route to Rescue from His Fate: The Andante Con Moto of His Symphony in C Minor

Article excerpt

In grateful memory of Ira Brilliant


Both Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony and his Symphony in C Minor were first performed in the same concert at Vienna's Theater an der Wien on the evening of December 22, 1808. This amazing concert launched with the Pastoral Symphony, which Beethoven, on this occasion, presented to his audience as his "Fifth" Symphony. The Symphony in C Minor was performed after the intermission; and Beedioven presented that work as his "Sixth" Symphony. These numbers are the ones that appeared in the important advertisement for the concert that appeared in the Wiener Zeitung on December 17, five days before the concert:

Musical Academie. On Thursday, December 22, Ludwig van Beedioven will have the honor of giving, in the R.I. Theater-an-der-Wien, a musical Akademie. All the pieces are of his composition, entirely new, and not yet heard in public. ... First Part: 1. A symphony entided: "Recollection of Country Life," in F Major (No. 5). 2. Aria. 3. Hymn with Latin text, composed in die church style with chorus and solos. 4. Fortepiano Concerto played by himself. Second Part. 1. Grand Symphony in C Minor (No. 6). 2. Holy, with Latin text, composed in the church style with chorus and solos. 3. Fantasia for Fortepiano alone. 4. Fantasia for the Fortepiano which ends after the gradual entrance of the entire orchestra and finally with the joining in of the chorus as the finale.1

The Symphony in C Minor was still called the sixth symphony in two reviews in the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung that appeared on February 1 and April 12, 1809, the second review after the appearance of the symphony in print. The first review concerned a performance given in January 1809 in Leipzig: "... and finally a new, grand symphony by Beethoven (No. 6), which in its fashion, in accordance both with the ideas and their treatment, once again stands so far apart from all others that even the trained listener must hear it a few times before he can make it his own and arrive at a definite opinion. ... This symphony will be published in several weeks by the firm of Breitkopf & Hartel."2 The second review concerned performances of both symphonies: "... and the new one, No. 6, from the composer's manuscript, but which has also just been printed by Breitkopf & Härtel. It was given for the first time at the extra concerts by Mr. [Ludwig] Tietz in Dresden ... A second new, grand symphony by the same composer (No. 5), which likewise has just been printed from the manuscript by Breidcopf & Härtel, and which he has himself tided rustic (Pastorale), is a scarcely less noteworthy and peculiar product."3 Since both of these performances appear to have been based on the engravers copies (Stichvorlagen) of the works given to Breidropf & Härtel by Beethoven in September 1808 for the purpose of creating the first editions,4 the "incorrect" numbers that identified the works most likely came from those scores themselves. Indeed, as Jonathan Del Mar has pointed out, the title page of the Stichvorkge for the Fifth Symphony originally read "Sinfonia / da / luigi van Beethoven" with the number "6ta" to the right of the "Sinfonia." This numbering was later changed to "5ta."5

Beethoven's original numberings are of utmost significance since these two symphonies are pendants. The Pastoral Symphony set the stage for the Symphony in C Minor; and the Symphony in C Minor served as a sequel to the Pastoral Symphony.

The reversal of Beethoven's numberings seems to date from early March of 1809. On March 4, Beethoven wrote to Breitkopf & Härtel to let them know that he would not be traveling to Leipzig, where he had planned to proof the works in person.6 He also sent the opus numbers and dedications for the symphonies and for the Sonata for Cello and Fortepiano in A Major, as well as corrections for the symphonies that resulted from his having heard them performed for the first time. None of the opus numbers sent to the publisher, however, became the final opus numbers for these works. …

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