For me at least, there are lots of surprises here. The first movement of the 8th symphony was first conceived as for a piano concerto, Beethoven's first after the Emperor. The first sketches for the Eroica symphony immediately follow those for the Eroica variations, op. 35, which surely means that Beethoven's first conception of that symphony was not the first or second movement but the finale. His first idea for the finale of the 5th was completely different from the one we know. Beethoven's commission from the Royal Philharmonic Society, which resulted in the 9th symphony, was for two symphonies, and Beethoven's ideas for the second were pretty strange:
Lockwood does not provide systematic commentary on every movement of each completed symphony, and his comments supplement the program notes in D.F. Tovey's Essays in Musical Analysis rather than covering the same ground. This is probably a second book on the symphonies, then, rather than the one and only. But for those who already know the symphonies reasonably well and want to know more about them, this is the book to have.Beethoven wrote:Adagio cantique - pious song in a symphony in the ancient modes - Lord God we praise thee - alleluia - either by itself alone or as introduction to a fugue. Perhaps the whole second symphony might be characterized in this way, whereby the vocal parts would enter in the last movement or already in the adagio. The orchestral violins are to be increased tenfold in the last movement. Or the adagio would be repeated in a certain way in the last movement, whereby the singing voics would enter one by one - in the adagio a text from Greek myth, a Cantique Ecclesiastique - in the allegro a celebration of Bacchus.
(Lockwood keeps notated musical examples to a minimum, mainly sketches, but refers readers to a web site with more of them: musicexamples.com.)
Lewis Lockwood, "Beethoven's Symphonies: An Artistic Vision" (New York: W. W. Norton, 2015)