(Born at Bonn, December 16 (?), 1770;
died at Vienna, March 26, 1827)
i. Adagio molto; allegro con brio ii. Andante cantabile con moto iii. Menuetto: allegro molto e vivace; trio iv. Finale: adagio; allegro molto e vivace
WHY DEBATE whether the music of this First symphony is wholly Mozartian; whether there are traces of the "greater" Beethoven? Let the music be taken for what it is, music of the end of the eighteenth century. At the same time let us recall the fact that when this symphony was played in Paris a hundred years ago, two or three critics protested against the "astonishing success" of Beethoven's works as "a danger to musical art." "It is believed," said one, "that a prodigal use of the most barbaric dissonances and a noisy use of all the orchestral instruments will make an effect. Alas, the ear is only stabbed; there is no appeal to the heart."
In spite of pages of mere routine, the music still has a certain freshness and a quaint beauty. The symphony will always remain a charming work with trivial passages, not to be compared as a whole with the three great symphonies of Mozart or the latter symphonies of Haydn.
The symphony in C major, No. I, probably originated in 1800, was sketched at an earlier period, and elaborated in 1799.