Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Beethoven's Fourth Symphony - B Flat Major
Robert Schumann described the fourth symphony in B Flat Major of Beethoven as a 'slender Greek maiden between two Norse giants' -Fasolt and Fafner being 'Eroica' and 'Fate' This is the struggling Titan that fate ascribed obscurity to.
It is happy in mood in the first movement. The Adagio expresses a tenderness unique in these symphonies. The Menuetto-Scherzo is bustling with a figurate theme. The finale is dismembered and slowed down as if in slow motion after which the rapid ending has the effect of a burst of laughter from the good-humoured master at his bewildered listeners.
The first performance of the Fourth was on 15th March 1807 at the Wien Palace of Prince Lobkowitz.
The notable recordings are by Andre Cluytens/Berliner Philharmoniker, Yevgeny Mravinsky/Leningrad Philharmonic (featured here), Pablo Casals/Barcelona Symphony, Otto Klemperer/Philharmonia and Herbert Von Karajan/Berliner.