What's your favorite Beethoven symphony?

What is your favorite Beethoven symphony?

1
2
6%
2
0
No votes
3
5
15%
4
2
6%
5
4
12%
6
8
24%
7
6
18%
8
1
3%
9
6
18%
 
Total votes: 34

Mahler Symphony
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What's your favorite Beethoven symphony?

Post by Mahler Symphony » Sat May 27, 2006 5:47 pm

Mine would be the ninth, but the fifth isn't far behind.

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Post by Harvested Sorrow » Sat May 27, 2006 6:06 pm

In a rather hesitant manner will name the sixth as my favorite.

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Post by Lance » Sat May 27, 2006 10:22 pm

Well, I cast mine for the Beethoven 7th Symphony, but in truth, it could have equally been the 3rd, 6th, or 9th, and further truth, I couldn't be without any of them though I tend not to listen to the 5th because it has been overplayed and recorded and commercialized beyond belief. (Poor Beethoven would be a millionaire today if he received royalties on the use of the first movement alone!)
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Post by Harvested Sorrow » Sat May 27, 2006 10:41 pm

Lance wrote:Well, I cast mine for the Beethoven 7th Symphony, but in truth, it could have equally been the 3rd, 6th, or 9th, and further truth, I couldn't be without any of them though I tend not to listen to the 5th because it has been overplayed and recorded and commercialized beyond belief. (Poor Beethoven would be a millionaire today if he received royalties on the use of the first movement alone!)
Ah, the joy of being of the younger generation! I can enjoy the fifth because it hasn't been beaten into my head far too many times. :D

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Post by Ralph » Sat May 27, 2006 11:20 pm

The 9th but I really like 1-8 too.
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Post by jbuck919 » Sun May 28, 2006 12:35 am

Ralph wrote:The 9th but I really like 1-8 too.
Amen.

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Post by Lance » Sun May 28, 2006 12:41 am

Do those who select Beethoven's No. 9: is it the entire symphony you listen to, or generally the final (choral) movement? I ask because people who enjoy Saint-Saëns Third (Organ) Symphony usually only play the incredible final movement where the organ comes to life.
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Post by ch1525 » Sun May 28, 2006 1:13 am

Lance wrote:Do those who select Beethoven's No. 9: is it the entire symphony you listen to, or generally the final (choral) movement? I ask because people who enjoy Saint-Saëns Third (Organ) Symphony usually only play the incredible final movement where the organ comes to life.
I selected the Ninth. I enjoy the whole thing. Of course, the Choral movement is the most exciting, but the other movements are all fantastic too.

To give you an idea of just how much I like this symphony, I went to hear the Louisiana Philharmonic perform it two nights in a row last week! Twas superb!!!

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Post by jbuck919 » Sun May 28, 2006 2:01 am

Lance wrote:Do those who select Beethoven's No. 9: is it the entire symphony you listen to, or generally the final (choral) movement? I ask because people who enjoy Saint-Saëns Third (Organ) Symphony usually only play the incredible final movement where the organ comes to life.
Actually, Lance, I have met more people who find the last movement the spoiler than the other way around. It has features that are quite unique, were not attempted by the next great symphonists, notably Brahms, and in my opinion have little to do with the choral movements in Mahler.

I think I can state without fear of successful contradiction the rather unoriginal opinion that the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven is the greatest orchestral work of all time. Sometimes we wish to evade these inevitabilities because we do not want to accept that art has a time, and a place, and a context, and a climax. Americans in particular are stubborn about these things. But to paraphrase as great a musician as Brahms, to have art at the level of the Ninth Symphony as one's daily bread, no, that is no longer allowed to any composer. We should love the Ninth and humbly treasure it for what it is rather than continue to bicker because we foolishly assume we can reinvent the wheel of greatness in music.

And I love it from the first absolutely thrilling "incomplete" chord down to the last note.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Dies Irae

Post by Dies Irae » Sun May 28, 2006 2:31 am

Need mood elevation? Try Syms #1 or 2

Need a bit of depression? Try Sym #3

Need some aerobic exercise? Try Sym #4

Need a call to arms, leading to victory ? - Try Sym #5

Need a nap? Try Sym #6

Need a pick-me-up if you suffer from geriatric blues? Try Sym #7

Need a relaxer before the big event? Try Sym #8

Need to feel " Top of the world Ma"- Try Sym #9

Each symphony can be my favorite depending on my needs at the time of listening. There is no "one-size fits all".

Fugu

Post by Fugu » Sun May 28, 2006 2:55 am

Without hesitation, the 6th is my favorite, followed by the 3rd.

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Post by Holden Fourth » Sun May 28, 2006 3:02 am

No 6 for me also. The phrase "four seasons in one day" covers this symphony with it's combination of pathos, bathos, sturm und drang and it's overall mood of geniality; this is a work I could happily take to a desert island.

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Post by RebLem » Sun May 28, 2006 3:06 am

Here is the same reply I gave in GMG to this exact same question. :twisted:



Why do we have to choose? I am thankful we have all of them.

Actually, the 7th was the first one that I really learned to love. My fave here is the Szell in all but the second movement, but, unfortunately, the 2nd movement of the 7th is probably the worst performance of a single movement in the whole Szell cycle. Solti would be my overall favorite, far superior to Szell in the 2nd movement and almost as good in the others. The Mravinsky, Leningrad Sym performance is excellent as well, and the Zander represents, as all his performances of Beethoven do, a radical rethinking of traditional performance practice which is really quite effective, but takes some getting used to.

The 9th is a pinnacle of western music. Until Mendelssohn came along, it was the only choral symphony around, and it was not until Mahler's Resurrection that we got something which even came close to it in grandeur, beauty, and importance. My fave, a radical departure from traditional performance practice, is the Zander recording with the Boston Phil. Among more traditional recordings, Tennstedt would be tops, with Szell superb in the first two movements and Toscanini in the last.

OTOH, the 6th has a claim, too. It has a relaxed, un-self-conscious geniality about it that shows Beethoven really seeming to have fun in a way you find in none of the other symphonies except, perhaps, the 8th, when Beethoven has fun with a delightful self-parody. There are two basic approaches to the 8th--one, exemplified by Solti, bloats it out and puffs it up with overly grandiose playing by the orchestra for humorous effect, and the other, seen in Szell and Casals, for example, is of a smallish emsemble straining at gnats. In the 6th, I recommend the Toscanini for a lyrical approach, Solti for a dramatic one, Szell for a middle of the road approach, and Monteux for his relaxed geniality.

The 5th seems to me to be the most complex of the symphonies in terms of its development, with all the movements well related to one another, culminating in a finale that is at once rigorously argued, that builds to an emotional climax unlike anything after it until Mahler and Sibelius, and yet, its fun, too, even a little campy. Several favorites here--C Kleiber for sheer frenetic energy, Reiner for a more relaxed approach. Karajan 1963 is good, too, but has a soft edged string tone I find inappropriate.

One of the most exciting transitions in all music is the one from the quiet but portentous Adagio to the Allegro vivace of the 1st movement of the 4th Sym, especially dramatic, it seems to me, in Klemperer's hands. My other favorite performance, which emphasizes the work's melody and charm rather than pulse and structure, is the Monteux version.

Then, of course, there is the Eroica. Some have said that it represents the greatest single leap forward in a composer's development in musical history. I disagree, not because I like the Eroica less than most; I love it. Its because I think the first two symphonies are far better works than they are generally recognized to be. Solti is the conductor to persuade you of the truth of that statement; my favorite Eroica is on a CD I bought for a buck from a remainder bin, by Joseph Keilberth. The Karajan 1963 is very good, too, as is Klemperer, slowish, but all the more majesterial for that.

So, tell me again. Why do I have to choose?
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Post by rogch » Sun May 28, 2006 4:52 am

I voted for number 7, but i change my mind quite often... Number 2 is sadly underrated.
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Post by Mark Antony Owen » Sun May 28, 2006 4:59 am

Love Nine (well, all of them, really - it's my 'default' symphony cycle), but went for Four because it's so simply joyful.
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Post by Febnyc » Sun May 28, 2006 6:44 am

Lance wrote:Do those who select Beethoven's No. 9: is it the entire symphony you listen to, or generally the final (choral) movement? I ask because people who enjoy Saint-Saëns Third (Organ) Symphony usually only play the incredible final movement where the organ comes to life.
Re: the Saint-Saens - who could possibly listen that way? The slow section is so exquisite it is almost unforgettable.

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Post by Mark Antony Owen » Sun May 28, 2006 6:47 am

Febnyc wrote:
Lance wrote:Do those who select Beethoven's No. 9: is it the entire symphony you listen to, or generally the final (choral) movement? I ask because people who enjoy Saint-Saëns Third (Organ) Symphony usually only play the incredible final movement where the organ comes to life.
Re: the Saint-Saens - who could possibly listen that way? The slow section is so exquisite it is almost unforgettable.
Absolutely.
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Post by Wallingford » Sun May 28, 2006 3:57 pm

Mine will always be the Ninth.....but hey, don't the First & Eighth deserve better than they've gotten here?!?
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Re: What's your favorite Beethoven symphony?

Post by Heck148 » Sun May 28, 2006 4:02 pm

Mahler Symphony wrote:Mine would be the ninth, but the fifth isn't far behind.
not possible for me to answer in poll format. whichever one I'm listening to is my favorite...

I suppose #1 is not quite up to the caliber of its successors, but it's still a neat piece...
all others are completely first rate. I love to perform them,and I love to listen to them...

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Post by lmpower » Sun May 28, 2006 8:34 pm

I think Beethoven's ninth is the greatest symphony of all time. I listen to it all the way through. I probably prefer the first movement to the finale. It is struggle on a cosmic level. The second movement is an unleashing of Dionysian energy. The third movement is lovely. Beethoven almost loses control in the finale, but it succeds as one of the great affirmations of life. I also enjoy Saint Saens organ symphony all the way through.

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Post by Lance » Sun May 28, 2006 9:07 pm

It's interesting to watch this tablulate. It has been written many times that Beethoven's 1-3-5-7-9 and the favourites and so far (though no one has selected No. 1 yet), it looks like the even-numbered ones are proving this, with the exception of No. 6, which is the usual exception.
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Post by Ralph » Sun May 28, 2006 9:13 pm

Lance wrote:Do those who select Beethoven's No. 9: is it the entire symphony you listen to, or generally the final (choral) movement? I ask because people who enjoy Saint-Saëns Third (Organ) Symphony usually only play the incredible final movement where the organ comes to life.
*****

I never listen to just one movement. Of any symphony or concerto. Perish the thought.
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Dies Irae

Post by Dies Irae » Sun May 28, 2006 9:14 pm

Lance wrote: and so far (though no one has selected No. 1 yet),
I DID.

For mood elevation.

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Post by david johnson » Mon May 29, 2006 3:27 am

5

dj

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Post by jbuck919 » Mon May 29, 2006 5:43 am

Dies Irae wrote:
Lance wrote: and so far (though no one has selected No. 1 yet),
I DID.

For mood elevation.
No. 1 is a Haydnesque masterpiece that shows that Beethoven started out where Haydn stopped. His first works in every other form are also already as great as anything composed in those forms by his great mentors Haydn and Mozart. It is not for nothing that he is commonly considered the greatest composer.

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Post by val » Mon May 29, 2006 5:45 am

My choice is the 7th Symphony.

But, to me, the best movement ever composed by Beethoven was the first of the 9th Symphony.

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Post by Barry » Mon May 29, 2006 10:34 am

val wrote:But, to me, the best movement ever composed by Beethoven was the first of the 9th Symphony.
I agree with that. I sometimes only listen to the first movement, then turn it off.
My favorite overall though is the Eroica.
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Post by Ken » Mon May 29, 2006 10:55 am

Pastoral and Eroica are my two personal faves. My very favourite depends on my mood.
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Post by jbuck919 » Mon May 29, 2006 10:55 am

Barry Z wrote:
val wrote:But, to me, the best movement ever composed by Beethoven was the first of the 9th Symphony.
I agree with that. I sometimes only listen to the first movement, then turn it off.
My favorite overall though is the Eroica.
Prior to writing the Ninth, that was Beethoven's own favorite, too.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Post by Barry » Mon May 29, 2006 11:00 am

The movement that's really caught my imagination just within that past year or two is the second movement of the sixth. In the hands of a good conductor and orchestra, the music really flows so beautifully, even at slow tempos.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

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Post by Heck148 » Mon May 29, 2006 11:06 am

Lance wrote:It's interesting to watch this tablulate. It has been written many times that Beethoven's 1-3-5-7-9 and the favourites...... it looks like the even-numbered ones are proving this, with the exception of No. 6, which is the usual exception.
I don't really understand this - #4 and #2 are wonderful works...
#4 is probably the most difficult technically...it's such a great piece.
both 2 and 4 have great slow mvts - some of the best Beethoven ever wrote...

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Post by Mark Antony Owen » Mon May 29, 2006 11:11 am

Heck, Four got my vote.
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Post by Gustaw_PL » Mon May 29, 2006 2:21 pm

... and mine. The B major really has "something"; it's obvious, though, that the 9th is the best, technically speaking.

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Post by Lark Ascending » Mon May 29, 2006 3:19 pm

I voted for the 6th.
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Post by Gregg » Mon May 29, 2006 10:49 pm

I voted for number 8. One reason is because no one else will, and the another is because it is the most misunderstood of all the symphonies, and I always root for the underdog.

I have a suspicion that Beethoven wrote the work to prove that he could turn straw into gold. I mean, who could respect the initial appearance of the first movement theme (not even Haydn), like the first movement of the Fifth (probably my real favorite) just look at what Beethoven does with it.

So I vote for 8, because I think it is the realization of one of Beethoven's compositional issues: that he could take any little thing and make it into great music. Wellington's Victory, by the way, proves that Beethoven could work in the opposite direction as well.....


Gregg

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Post by SamLowry » Tue May 30, 2006 8:17 am

shadowritten wrote:
Febnyc wrote:
Lance wrote:Do those who select Beethoven's No. 9: is it the entire symphony you listen to, or generally the final (choral) movement? I ask because people who enjoy Saint-Saëns Third (Organ) Symphony usually only play the incredible final movement where the organ comes to life.
Re: the Saint-Saens - who could possibly listen that way? The slow section is so exquisite it is almost unforgettable.
Absolutely.
I think I've hummed/whistled parts of that slow movement more than any other symphony I've heard.

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Post by premont » Tue May 30, 2006 10:45 am

What is the point of this poll? IMO all nine Symphonies are masterworks in their own way, and to sort them in order of quality seems senseless. Even the Choral is a great masterwork, especially the dramatic first movement. I find the third movement very beautiful, but a bit too long, and this applies to the fourth movement too. For some reason I prefer the piano arrangement of Liszt, and not least when it is about the third movement of the Choral.

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Post by Lance » Tue May 30, 2006 12:01 pm

premont wrote:What is the point of this poll? IMO all nine Symphonies are masterworks in their own way, and to sort them in order of quality seems senseless. Even the Choral is a great masterwork, especially the dramatic first movement. I find the third movement very beautiful, but a bit too long, and this applies to the fourth movement too. For some reason I prefer the piano arrangement of Liszt, and not least when it is about the third movement of the Choral.
I suppose the point is to merely find out what individual people hold as their favourite among all nine of Beethoven's symphonies. I totally agree, all nine are masterworks and I wouldn't want to be without any of them, but still, I suspect people have found one that might be their "desert island" work if they had to have just one.
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Post by karlhenning » Tue May 30, 2006 12:20 pm

If I had to have just one Beethoven symphony -- could I choose someone else's symphony, instead? 8)
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Post by Cyril Ignatius » Tue May 30, 2006 12:59 pm

Lance wrote:Well, I cast mine for the Beethoven 7th Symphony, but in truth, it could have equally been the 3rd, 6th, or 9th, and further truth, I couldn't be without any of them though I tend not to listen to the 5th because it has been overplayed and recorded and commercialized beyond belief. (Poor Beethoven would be a millionaire today if he received royalties on the use of the first movement alone!)
Yes, this is about where I am as well. In the end, an impossible question, like determining my favorite beer - it depends on my mood and many other points of whim.

Maybe the Sixth. But the Seventh has that quietly awesome adagio....
Cyril Ignatius

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Post by Lance » Tue May 30, 2006 1:22 pm

Is that all we have thus far, only 28 of CMG's members (as of this post) who can/will vote on their favourite Beethoven symphony? I thought this might bring forth hundreds of you great people.

Remember, in order to tabulate properly, you MUST select one of the numbers for the poll to do its job. If you just write a comment about your favourite, it doesn't measure in the poll.
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Post by greymouse » Tue May 30, 2006 1:33 pm

I voted for 6!

I very much wanted to vote for 9 or 7, but I was only given one vote. 6 really is my favorite.

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Post by AntonioA » Tue May 30, 2006 1:43 pm

I voted for nr 3. It made a great impression on me when I first heard it in the first of Klemperers recordings.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue May 30, 2006 2:46 pm

AntonioA wrote:I voted for nr 3. It made a great impression on me when I first heard it in the first of Klemperers recordings.
3 and 2.
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Post by Lilith » Fri Jun 02, 2006 5:44 pm

It changes over the years but right now its this order:
1>#3
2>#5
3>#7
4>#2
5>#9
6>#6
7>#8
8>#4
9>#1

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Post by Gregg » Sat Jun 03, 2006 12:29 am

Heck148 wrote:I don't really understand this - #4 and #2 are wonderful works...
#4 is probably the most difficult technically...it's such a great piece.
both 2 and 4 have great slow mvts - some of the best Beethoven ever wrote...

I am sure that I am not alone in loving the beginning of Four. I have always wondered if Mahler decided to "re-imagine" the beginning of Four with the beginning of his First symphony?


Gregg

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Post by RebLem » Sat Jun 03, 2006 1:41 am

Lance wrote:Is that all we have thus far, only 28 of CMG's members (as of this post) who can/will vote on their favourite Beethoven symphony? I thought this might bring forth hundreds of you great people.

Remember, in order to tabulate properly, you MUST select one of the numbers for the poll to do its job. If you just write a comment about your favourite, it doesn't measure in the poll.
Some of us regard it as so pointless that we didn't cast a vote.
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Post by Heck148 » Sat Jun 03, 2006 7:28 am

RebLem wrote:
Lance wrote:Remember, in order to tabulate properly, you MUST select one of the numbers for the poll to do its job. If you just write a comment about your favourite, it doesn't measure in the poll.
Some of us regard it as so pointless that we didn't cast a vote.
that includes me. I cannot cast a vote. or rather, if I cast a vote on 5 consecutive days, it would probably be different every day...

these pick your favorite, pick your top 3, or top 10 whatever lists don't work for me...

taisiawshan
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 5:36 pm
Location: Solomon Islands

Post by taisiawshan » Sun Jun 04, 2006 6:09 pm

I vote for 6.
But my favourite movement is 2nd of 7.

I post in another thread(Essential listening for newbie) saying that I was going to listen to Beethoven's Symphonies. And I did. And I enjoyed everyone of them. I felt so weird that Beethoven has this "special effect" on me.

Then, I thought I want to listen to Mozart's Symphonies again, see if I like them as much as Beethoven's.
Yes, I know some of you might think it's not correct to compare like this.
Still, it's just strange that I like Beethoven more than Mozart.

Heck148
Posts: 3514
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2003 11:53 pm
Location: New England

Post by Heck148 » Sun Jun 04, 2006 7:27 pm

taisiawshan wrote:I vote for 6.
I post in another thread(Essential listening for newbie) saying that I was going to listen to Beethoven's Symphonies. And I did. And I enjoyed everyone of them. I felt so weird that Beethoven has this "special effect" on me.
not weird at all. Beethoven symphonies have had that effect on people for
a couple of hundred years!! they are special. :D

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