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Ludwig Van Beethoven - Symphony No. 4, Opus 60

( Originally Published 1935 )

I. Adagio; Allegro vivace

II. Adagio

III. Allegro vivace

IV. Finale: Allegro ma non troppo

Beethoven's Fourth symphony is the point of re-pose between the immensities of the Third and the Fifth. For this reason it has received less than its just measure of appreciation. Here is no vast dream or troubling self-examination, no effort to storm the heavens or predicate the destiny of man. Beethoven was well content for the moment to forget every-thing but sun and sky. His orchestra is capable, as that of no other composer, of mirroring the clearness of the atmosphere, which seems to be the source from which this music springs. Perhaps the most original parts of the symphony are the introduction of the first movement and the slow movement. But the word '"originality" is one to be used with a certain degree of caution. A composer may invent a new and original chord and say very little. Another composer may take a familiar musical formula and say original things. It is not only the delicious vagueness and suspense of the introduction of this symphony which are original; it is the sudden precipitation of force with which the movement proper leaps from the preceding measures. That is Beethoven, 'even though the general style of the remainder of the movement is closely related to Haydn. It seems to be natural and inevitable that in this place Beethoven should allow Haydn to be his guide, but it is Haydn surcharged with the greater virility of his successor. The slow movement is as if nature stood on tiptoe, her finger to her lips. It is one of many slow movements Beethoven composed in which the music goes past thought, past books, men, or cities. These tell about creation, but Beethoven's music is part of it.

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