IV. symphony – B-major, opus 60.
Analysis of the I. movement
Movement form: sonata form – Adagio introduction, time signature: 4/4
Movement tempo designation: Allegro vivace, time signature: 2/2
The movement starts with a slow introduction and pianissimo, this is the Adagio (playtime aprox. 2.40 minutes). The music’s mood is mysterious, somber tones sound on deep string instruments.
At the end of the introduction, the rumbling sounds on the whole orchestra suggests a dramatic tone, then through the so called “impatient figures” we reach the first theme of the „Allegro vivace”. It can be listened on the PowerPoint presentation, page #3!
The first theme’s melody suggests the carefree feelings of serenity, joy and happiness.
The theme (melody) can be divided into two parts.
The melody’s first half is dynamic, reminiscent of dancing in character.
The melody’s second half is intimate, lyrical. The dolce instruction (softly, gently) smoothes and dissolves the previous harsh sounds. ♫ 008_Elso_1_tema.wav
The first theme is instantly repeated.
The theme does not carry a deep message, it has no particular meaning.
Beethoven applies the battle and unity of contrasts within a given theme /even in dynamics!/, since the melody’s first half is in staccato /short, interrupted performance/, while its second half is in legato /bound performance/.
After a short transition again the first theme sounds, and after another even shorter transition the second theme begins on bassoon, after it continues on flute, then on oboe; its mood is merry, playfully joyous.
A transition part begins with the unison plays of the strings, after which Beethoven introduces a new second theme. Let us observe the following: no sooner than the theme’s melody sounds, it’s repeated like an echo in bass! Echo-effect? Repetition? ♫ 010_Elso_uj2tema.wav
Again a transition section follows, for the fourth time now, in which the pianissimo sections are followed by forte chord-beats, then the exposition’s so called introductory line is concluded.
With this we got to know the whole exposition, or rather its introductory line of the musical themes, which is repeated according to the rules of the sonata form. In this exposition there is no closing theme; it is substituted with a short and powerful concluding-képlet???.
The elaboration follows,
which can be divided into four development sections.
1/ In the first part of the elaboration the impatient figurations are repeated several times, after which begins the first part of the first theme, but it does not continue, instead a new short theme is repeated four times.
2/ After the impatient figurations the first part of the first theme begins three times, but it is interrupted by forte chords, then we can hear the repetitions of a motif of few notes on the violins, which is shortened, while the volume is lowered to pianissimo.
3/ The third part begins with kettledrums in pianissimo, which was given the “poetic” title. We hear the first theme’s second part, the consequent clause four times, from which, after the repetitions, a scale-passage is developed.
4/ The fourth part also begins with kettledrums in piano, then the strings – with increasing tempo and volume – keep repeating the first theme’s preparatory, so called impatient figures, that gather in the orchestra’s forte fermata, and finally the first theme itself begins with intense force; but this is the beginning of the reexposition now.
The elaboration’s playtime is 215 minutes, the introductory music’s playtime is 240 minutes, the movement’s playtime is: 1136 minutes.
In the elaboration no melody sounds, however the musical fabric woven from seemingly insignificant, small motifs is a vital part of the movement. It is composed of simple, short motifs, proving and accomplishing the unity of part and whole. Crucial element: the “motif-weaving” /Of course rhythm and dynamics are also significant elements./
This “short” elaboration section proves efficiently, that in classical music, the most important style element is “motif-weaving”!
In the returning the material of the exposition is repeated; the difference is, that the first theme is not repeated and the transition part between the first and second theme is shorter here.
The coda begins with the repetitions of the impatient figurations, and then the first theme’s variation sounds. The movement’s conclusion is short, at the end of which we hear the impatient figuration three times.
Analysis of the II. movement
Movement form: free sonata form.
Tempo designation: Adagio, time signature: 3/4
According to musical critics this movement is Beethoven’s most intimate, most poetic movement; furthermore, the orchestration and orchestral sound – “the orchestral gown” – is of the most artistic elaboration. The themes of the Adagio are extremely sentimental, and what is rare is that they are widely arched, which is characteristic of Mozart in the first place.
Hector Berlioz, (1803-1869), romantic composer wrote the following about Beethoven: “…this being, who composed such a wonder of artistic inspiration was no longer a human, he was more.”
Before the first theme we hear the beating-motif in piano; its role is twofold: it prepares the theme’s entry, goes through the movement giving rhythm and background music; some parts are played in piano, some in fortissimo. ♫ 021_Ketto_lukteto_m.wav
The Adagio’s first theme is intimate and overly ssentimental. The melody-arch is surprisingly long, unusual among Beethoven’s themes and melodies.
After this the forte version of the beating-motif sounds on kettledrum, preparing another entry of the first theme with richer orchestration.
Then we hear – on violins and on the oboe – the first theme’s lyrical consequent clause, which is repeated. ♫ 023_Ketto_1_utotag.wav
After a transitionthe second theme starts on clarinet, accompanied by beating violin-notes; the theme begins in piano (rather unnoticably), and yb the end it turns into fortissimo. Its tone is akin to that of the first theme. ♫ 024_Ketto_2_tema.wav
The second theme also has a consequent clause, its melody is played on violins and oboe, and is repeated. From the middle of the second theme the beating-motif is present, and after the second theme’s consequent clause it is given a concluding role. ♫ 025_Ketto_2t_utotag.wav
The repetition of the exposition’s introductory line is omitted, and a short elaboration section follows.
In the elaboration section, after the first theme’s variation, the beating-motif’s forte version sounds on kettledrums. Then a foreboding, dark toned chord (in minor key) sounds deeper and deeper; we could say this is the negative climax.
Then we hear the intimate conversation of the first- and secondviolins.
This is followed by the beating-motif, then the beginning of the first theme introduces the reexposition. See ppt page #12!
In the reprise the first theme sounds shortened, in a variation form, the tempo is slightly faster, its consequent clause follows, with repetition. Then the second theme’s consequent clause sounds, and the coda begins... See ppt page #12!
…which is quite short and apt. The beginning of the first theme sounds, then after a transition of scale-passages we reach an orchestral forte. Beethoven recalls the beating-motif once again (as if we hear it from a distance) and concludes the movement with a powerful chord. See ppt page #12!
Surely all listeners discover, that the transition between the Elaboration and Reexposition, and between the Reexpoosition and Coda are more than poetic; more than lyrical. Words cannot express what is said on the language of music: it is wonderful, amazing, and unsurpassable; it reaches to the depths of our soul.
Analysis of the III. movement
Movement form: free trio form. Based on its characteristics it could be called a scherzo. (Its formal structure in a letter-scheme: A B A B A)
Tempo designation: Allegro vivace, time signature: 3/4
Allegro vivace. Its only, so called “vivace-theme” can be divided into two contrasting parts.
The first part is in fact a motif of two notes (repeated three times); Bence Szabolcsi musicologist calls it „rhythmic somersaults.”
The second part is a continuous melody, after it is repeated it’s concluded; its melody is a first upward, then downward moving scale-passage!
The first theme itself is also repeated. See ppt page #14!
Afterwards we hear motivic play, then the theme and its conclusion. This follows for the third time, but the motivic play no longer follows it.
Trio. Here the tempo is slower, the sounding is softer. The trio’s theme – a motif of six notes that sounds three times – is an Austrian folk dance music reminiscent of the mood of the ländler. It is dominated by this theme alone. Its repetitions appear in variation forms with short transition sections between them.
This third part is shorter than the first A part, and there is no new musical material.
B/ The same as the B / Trio.
A/ This concluding part now sounds like a Coda. First the „vivace” theme’s enriched version sounds, then horns blare, and an orchestral chord in forte concludes the movement.
Analysis of the IV. movement
Movement form: sonata form.
Tempo designation: Allegro ma non troppo, time signature: 2/4
The exposition instantly starts with the first theme, which runs, dashes as if it never wants to stop. Meanwhile, three forte chord-beats sound. the technical literature also calls it “perpetuum mobile”, which means: endlessly moving. The theme in itself is not significant, it has no deeper message; it is weightless, as usual for every IV. movement. Mozart and Haydn also composed similar works, but it is still witty, entertaining, furthermore, it is considered to be high-level music.
A consequent clause accompanies the first theme. ♫ 036_Negy_1_1u.wav
In the transition section a unisono-passage, rumbling in fortissimo leads us to the second theme.
The second theme is a short resignation in the running; its soft sounding melody begins on the oboes, then continued on bass strings. The second theme has a consequent clause as well. ♫ 037_Negy_2_2u.wav
Afterwards, the somber, dissonant chords are followed by playful motifs, and this short musical section is repeated.
A short closing theme follows, it sounds four times, and then it is concluded. Then the repetition of the expositions introductory line follows, as prescribed by the sonata form. ♫ 038_Negy_zarotema.wav
The elaboration can be divided into two parts.
1/ In the first section the first theme’s initial motifs are repeated (they clatter like the train wheels), which ends in an orchestral fortissimo.
2/ In the second section – as a counterpole of the fast tempo – the first theme’s consequent part first sounds on bass strings, then on violins. Afterwards again the first motif of the first theme takes the leading role, and during its repetitions the orchestral chord-beats are also present; we witness a somewhat longer elaboration section.
Then the orchestra quiets down, but the reprise does not come yet; the bassoon begins to play the first theme, then after its amusing play begins the first theme as a reprise.
Right after the bassoon solo the first theme begins, and here Beethoven shortens, since the consequent clause is omitted, while in the followings the exposition’s material is repeated unaltered.
The coda can be divided into two sections.
1/ This section begins with the repetition of the first theme’s initial motif, exactly how it was played in the elaboration. The bassoon’s solo begins a crescendo, which leads to a frightening, shrill, dissonant chord that is finally softened on a fermata.
2/ In this section we hear the first theme’s consequent clause twice; first the violins and viols play it in piano; secondly it’s played on woodwind instruments, and right after they add a pleasant little melody, the so called motivic appendage, which is repeated four times.
This is the counterpole of the coda’s dissonant climax, a lyrical episode within the rush of the movement.
Here the “clattering” starts again, the violins begin the first theme’s initial motif in piano, and then we reach an orchestral forte where two powerful chords and general pauses signal: the ending is near.
After the intentional “pauses for effect” the beginning of the first theme is played on violins, reducing the theme’s original tempo to half. After a general pause the melody is taken over by the bassoon, and then by the viols. Another general pause, and after it we witness the opposition of the tempos – slow, and then extremely fast: energetic chords exploding into a downward moving, unbelievably fast violin-passage conclude the movement, as well as the symphony.