Beethoven Symphony Basics at ESM

Symphony No. 2 in D, Op. 36 (1802)

The Basics

General Information

Composition dates: 1801-02.

Dedication: Prince Carl Lichnowsky

Instrumentation:  Strings, 2 Fl, 2 Ob, 2 Cl, 2 Bsn, 2 Hn, 2 Tr, Timp.

First performance: 4 or 5 April 1803, Theater-an-der-Wien.

Orchestra size for first or early performance: 6+6.3(?).2.4/single winds.

Autograph Score: Not extant.

First published parts:  March 1804, Bureau d’Arts et d’Industrie, Vienna.

First published score: Score 1820, Simrock. (Note: 1822 Simrock edition is available at Eastman’s Sibley library rare collection.)  


Movements (Tempos. Key. Form.)

I. Adagio molto—Allegro con brio (MM=84—100). D Major. Sonata-Allegro (w/ slow Intro.).

II. Larghetto (MM=92). A Major (V). Sonata-Allegro. 

III. Scherzo. Allegro (MM=100). D Major. Scherzo/Trio (ternary).

IV. Allegro molto (MM=152). D major. Sonata-Allegro.


Significance and Structure

Beethoven began writing his Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 36, during one of the most productive and paradoxically most depressed periods of his life. As a 30-year-old man at the end of 1800, Beethoven was receiving a sizable income of 600 florins from Prince Lichnowsky, his music was being received with great notoriety locally and abroad, and incoming commissions for new works were more than he could accommodate. In 1801, when Beethoven composed the majority of the Second Symphony, he “saw the richest publishing harvest of his career so far, both in quantity and musical scope” (Solomon 1998, 145). It was during this time he wrote the famous “Moonlight” Piano Sonata Op. 27, and his ballet score  The Creatures of Prometheus, Op.43 was a resounding success, with 23 performances from 1801-02. 

Beethoven’s autobiographical accounts from 1801-1802 shed light on the volatile nature and optimism prevalent throughout his Second Symphony. On June 29 and July 1, 1801, Beethoven wrote two letters to his close friends Franz Gerhard Wegeler and Karl Amenda, respectively. In them, he describes his gradual deafness for the very first time and laments at its hindrance in his social life. (See “Beethoven’s Words” essay below.)  By this point, his loss of hearing had been a secret kept to himself for several years, although exactly when it started is unknown.  Beethoven wrote to Wegeler again on November 16, 1801 about the continued decline of his hearing but overall improvement otherwise: “My poor hearing haunted me everywhere like a ghost; and I avoided – all human society.” In an uplifting spirit, he expresses his ambitions and declares, “For some time now my physical strength has been increasing more and more, and therefore my mental powers also…I will seize Fate by the throat; it shall certainly not crush me completely.”

Europe, too, was standing on the precipice of war with France and Napoleon Bonaparte. The immensely popular general had previously defeated both Italian and Austrian armies, annexed a large portion of Germany, taken control of Cairo and Alexandria in Egypt, and in 1799 had successfully staged a ‘coup d’etat’ becoming the First Consul of France. By the time Beethoven finished the Second Symphony in 1802, the influence and fear of Napoleon loomed over all of Europe.  Beethoven was aware of current world affairs and was even influenced by Bonaparte’s revolutionary ideas as well as French march music. Some of those influences can already be seen in his Second Symphony, “including the use of massive orchestral forces, a quality of grandeur and potency, and even some occasional references to military rhythms and instruments” (Lockwood, Beethoven’s Symphonies, 44).

Despite the rapid deterioration of his hearing and increasing feeling of isolation from society, and the threats posed by the politics surrounding the figure of Napoleon Bonaparte, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 generates and maintains a cheerful enthusiasm, demonstrating the composer’s strength and resolve to seize the day despite the many negative obstacles. Even Hector Berlioz commented in 1862 that everything in this symphony smiles.” While Beethoven’s internal struggles can be heard through the music’s stark contrasts, brief moments of darkness and chromaticism, and unpredictable behavior, no one could have anticipated the severity of his anguish and desperation that was expressed in the Heiligenstadt Testament of October, 1802.

Although often overshadowed by both the First and Third Symphonies, Symphony No. 2 is universally characterized as an expressively positive composition. The bold, inspired, and adventurous spirit of this work foreshadows Beethoven’s heroic style and new symphonic vision that would take full flight in the monumental Eroica Symphony soon to follow. Lewis Lockwood notes that “without the innovations of the Second Symphony the Eroica might not have been possible.” (Lockwood, Beethoven’s Symphonies, 37-38)  Beethoven relied largely on the juxtaposition of extremes and surprises—the tools of the sublime aesthetic—to create the bold optimism of this work, and to prop open the door to the 19th century dramatic language of the symphony. Throughout the work extremes of dynamics, sudden and powerful silences, new orchestral colors, harmonic surprises and modal shifts, and clever contrasting of sonata- and symphonic-style materials, all challenge but in the end push to the fore a cheerfulness and exuberance that would challenge any of his later works, until perhaps the finale of the Ninth Symphony (also in D major).   

[We refer you to the following recording for the ensuing discussion: Beethoven Symphonies, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, conducting. 1st movement, 2nd movement, 3rd movement, 4th movement.]

The brilliant and somewhat chimerical opening movement sets in motion Beethoven’s dramatic use of extremes that leave the listener sensing challenges. It shows a kinship with Mozart’s last D-major symphony, the “Prague,” in its long introduction, frequent shifts between major and minor modes, and colorful instrumental treatment, particularly the winds. The Adagio molto introduction (0:04-2:52) is almost three times the length of the First Symphony’s introduction, full of dramatic contrasts, a melodic variety, and, like Mozart’s “Prague” introduction, presents a complex tonal plan for the entire work (sections in D, B-flat, g minor, d minor), all giving a hint at the character and expansiveness of the piece. It bursts forth in unison on the tonic D, which is answered with a soft lyrical passage carried by the oboes and bassoons. This instrumental discussion continues, including moments of scale passages passed around the orchestra, initiated by heavy accents, and accompanied by long crescendos, full-throated fortissimos followed by abrupt silences, and finally sweet bird-call trills in the flutes, introduce the sublime aesthetic found in much of the symphony. The Allegro con brio’s Primary theme (2:52-3:09), announced by the violas and cellos, has a nervous gesture with a long dotted-half-note and four rapid sixteenth-notes supported by a repeated eighth-note pulse. These four rapid notes also serve as an upbeat to the next bar with the same pattern. The brilliant, brassy transition that follows consists of several statements from the Primary theme in different keys and leads into the Secondary theme group (3:44-4:05) on the dominant key, A major—a soft, happy French-inspired march theme introduced by clarinets and alternating the sounds of the woodwind and string choirs. A vigorous new subject (4:41-4:57) is interrupted by strong, exaggerated chords which share the same rhythmic pattern as the symphony’s opening unison passage, contrasted by unexpected silences, and finally the unison strings, piano, move to the upper register and the rhythm becomes more intense.  Many upbeat sforzando orchestral tuttis and trumpet/timpani fanfare calls, in conversation with abrupt pianos, create an angular and somewhat rude yet happy dance of a drunk giant or a struggling beast to close the exposition (4:57-5:09).  The exposition’s joyful close is juxtaposed to the primary theme in a foreboding D minor at the start of the development (7:25-9:16), which relies on fragments of the contrasting expository material and modulates through several keys before arriving back on the tonic D major.  An unusually long coda (11:13-12:40) continues to rely on sharp contrasts, emphasizing an overall brightness and joy.  John Eliot Gardiner summarizes the dramatic abruptness, variety, and vibrancy of the first movement, particularly during the coda up to the movement’s explosive denouement, in this way . . . (Gardiner discusses the Second Symphony, 6:42-8:02).

The second movement, Larghetto, provides a beautiful contrast to its neighbors through its use of elegant melodies, slow pacing, and intimate orchestration, calling on moments of “sonata-style” writing reminiscent of chamber music to contrast the big symphonic gestures of the surrounding movements. Rather than the usual relaxed and pleasant andante, Beethoven’s contemplative Larghetto is one of his longest slow movements. The exposition is built from an abundance of themes characteristic of sonata style, including the opening intimate, linearly-conceived string quartet themes, repeated by winds (0:00-1:14) and equally intimate Mozartian wind serenade material (1:14-1:48). He even includes some coquettishly innocent laughter (2:47-3:05).  Beethoven’s intimate, delicate style here, including soft dynamics and elaborated ornamentations, couldn’t be more different than the bright, brilliant symphony style of the first movement. The development (3:44-5:55) continues the sonata-style approach in its subtle but unusual harmonic progressions, often utilizing enharmonic pitches and augmented sixth chords, into unexpected key areas, particularly in the minor mode. A noteworthy moment is the unprepared move from the a-minor key that begins the development, to a smiling C major a third away (3:44-4:02).  This type of mediant key relationship—separated not by typical fourths and fifths but by thirds—becomes a useful tool in Beethoven’s key relationship toolbox, getting more and more use through his oeuvre. Overall, this Larghetto has a strong sense of contemplation and reposed joy, rather than a sense of a relaxed walk through the park that is typical of more moderately paced andante movements. Berlioz aptly described this lovely movement as “a delineation of innocent happiness hardly clouded by a few melancholy accents.” 

The third movement exhibits the character not of the graceful minuet, but the great humor, playfulness, and sprightly energy of the scherzo. Its fast pace, crisp articulations, displacement of metric accents, unsettling bouncing around between instruments, and frequent shifts in dynamics and registers recalls the vitality of the first movement. Every measure of the first theme (0:00-0:19) is a contrast: quickly shifting dynamics, instrumentation and register accompany the laughing, three-note gestures, leading to the key of the dominant. But a sudden harmonic shift (0:20-0:26) following the theme’s repeat unexpectedly leaves the listener in D minor and then B-flat major, two prominent keys in the first movement’s introduction and development, and as with the second movement’s development, exhibiting a mediant key relationship. The Trio section (1:37-2:41) reminds the listener of Harmoniemusik quality of the First Symphony with an almost childlike tune played by the woodwinds, shockingly interrupted by a Haydnesque joke with the strings playing unison F-sharp major arpeggios. This bellicose interruption proves to be errant, as the strings sheepishly diminuendo to near silence, and the winds and brass insist on the “right” key and reinstatement to the Harmonie ensemble theme (2:20-2:41), before returning to the laughing scherzo. The movement is full of colorful, dramatic harmony and character changes, all which serve to highlight joie de vivre.

Finally, the fourth movement, Allegro molto, is an energetic, frantic finale, full of Beethovenian jokes that continues the scherzo-like joie de vivre, and highlights Beethoven’s emerging propensity for adding weight to the end of the four-movement cycle by making the closing section (coda) nearly one-third the length of the whole movement. The rustic principal theme begins with unison comic-opera gestures: a two-note slur mimicking a stumble, and a trill imitating laughter (0:00-0:09). This mimetic opening serves as the motivic basis for the whole movement, and takes on a rondo-like function. Following a brief silence, the strings continue in another laughing string of eighth-notes, extending the regular four-bar phrase to six bars. However, the strings are unable to finish their phrase, for they are interrupted by two hammering chords by the full orchestra, including the timpani and trumpets, which themselves give way to a contrasting lyrical string-quartet instrumentation, given some relief from the comedy (0:09-0:42). The second theme features a gentle conversation between the woodwinds accompanied by the strings in long singing phrases, and another mode and mediant key shift (A major to a minor to C major; 0:42-1:08). The contrast of this theme to the vivacious principal theme which serves to bring the exuberance into relief, confirmed by the laughing closing theme. Like the developments in the first two movements, this development (1:26-2:27) goes quickly through many keys, shifting constantly between major and minor modes, all tied together with a pervasive “chuckling” motive.  The expansive 149-bar coda (3:53-6:08), which once again picks up developmental techniques before coming to an inevitable and exhilarating conclusion, has been criticized as “the dragon that never dies” (see “Others Words” essay below). It is both comic and tragic, full of starts and stops, fake endings, lilting slurs, chordal blasts, and harmonic surprises. Again, as in the first and third movements, keys of B-flat and F-sharp are prominent, expanding further and further until it finally reaches a triumphant, bright, full-throated D major to drive to the end.  Here, Beethoven is pulling the listener to a strong victorious ending, generating a form that is more teleological is its dramatic thrust. This becomes his vision for his future symphonies, and the way of 19th-century composers.

Contributors: AL, JM, WM, YLiu, MER


Beethoven’s Words

“But what a humiliation for me when someone standing next to me heard a flute in the distance and I heard nothing, . . . Such incidents drove me almost to despair, a little more of that and I would have ended my life—it was only my art that held me back. Ah, it seemed to me impossible to leave the world until I had brought forth all that I felt was within me. . . . Patience, they say, is what I must now choose for my guide, and I have done so—I hope my determination will remain firm to endure until it pleases the inexorable Parcae to break the thread. . . . Forced to become a philosopher already in my 28th year, . . . Divine One, thou seest my inmost soul, thou knowest that therein dwells the love of mankind and the desire to do good.” Beethoven in a letter to his brothers known as the Heiligenstadt Testament, written October 1802 as he was finishing Symphony No. 2.  


The Heiligenstadt Testament represents a pivotal moment in Beethoven’s life. It was penned in October 1802 in Heiligenstadt, and was addressed to his two young brothers, Carl and Johann, and to the public. The testament was written as a culmination of the composer’s increasing agony as he realized his hearing loss would become permanent. Biographical accounts reveal the letter was never sent. Instead, it was kept with the composer’s personal belongings, only to be discovered following his death.

His struggle with deafness was gradual and was first acknowledged in a succession of letters to his childhood friend, Franz Gerhard Wegeler (1765-1848). In one of the letters dated June 29, 1800 he tells Wegeler, “Only my envious demon, my bad health, has thrown obstacles in my way. For instance, my hearing has become weaker during the last three years.” Beethoven also provided details on the treatment he was receiving to improve his condition, reporting no progress. In this same letter, he states he had been avoiding all of society for two years in order to avoid any uncomfortable social situations, such as the ones mentioned in the above testament. 

One of the most dramatic phrases from his Testament is; “…a little more of that and I would have ended my life – it was only my art that held me back. Oh, it seemed to me impossible to leave the world until I had produced all the works that I felt the urge to compose.” Such an attitude can be seen as a heroic standard in conformity with the philosophical and artistic values of the eighteenth century. These values were expressed in many works of philosophers and writers, such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1842) and Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805). As it was understood from the writings of those, a hero was someone whose life ran against societal norms, who had to face a tragic destiny and, in their journey, would overcome all suffering to attain understanding of the sublime. Additionally, in the age of Goethe, Scott Burnham observes the existence of the “all-embracing concept of self… [these concepts] are based on the rhythms and scenarios of the individual self, such as birth and death, personal freedom and destiny, self-consciousness, and self-overcoming.” (Burnham, Beethoven Hero, 112). Beethoven was known to be familiar with such heroic concepts and his resolve in the Testament can be interpreted as him taking the role of a hero. Thus, in the high literary tone of the phrase, “Divine One, thou seest my inmost soul, thou knowest that therein dwells the love of mankind and the desire to do good.”, Beethoven expresses his compulsive desire to continue composing and shedding light on all that he feels within; a desire so strong it holds him back from ending his life due to the unbearable position he had found himself.

Although Beethoven’s heroic style will be the hallmark of his symphonic works following the writing of the Heiligenstadt Testament, the Second Symphony is judged to not fully reflect such concepts, despite being considered progressive at the time. It does not portray consistently an image of despair and abandonment requiring overcoming, but throughout is full of brilliance, passion, and cheer juxtaposed with serenity and ease. The Second Symphony contains increasing intensity, energy, dynamic contrast, surprise, happiness, and expressiveness, which is a big contrast and contains more novel and striking effects to the First Symphony. Lewis Lockwood observes that “the Second Symphony [is] a decisive departure from tradition. In intensity, energy, and individuality, it leaps beyond those modestly progressive tendencies that we have found in the First.” (Lockwood, Beethoven’s Symphonies, 37.)

Berlioz’s essay on the Second Symphony recognizes the character conflict of the symphony with the Heiligenstadt Testament, and thereby challenges the emerging (and current) assumption that the emotional character of a composition should directly reflect the artist’s psychological emotion and situation:

“In this work everything is noble, energetic and stately…  the scherzo is just as frankly gay in its capricious fantasy as the andante was completely happy and calm; for everything in this symphony is genial, even the warlike sallies of the first allegro being exempt from violence, so that one can trace in them no more than the youthful ardour of a noble heart which retains intact the most beautiful illusions of life. The composer still has faith in immortal glory, in love and self-sacrifice. Hence the degree to which he abandons himself to his gaiety, and the felicity of his sallies of wit.”

According to Berlioz, although Beethoven was suffering from hearing loss, the brilliance, passion, cheerful and lightness of the first and last movements, contrasted by the peaceful and calm slow movement do not indicate any of Beethoven’s pain over realizing his oncoming deafness. As Christopher H. Gibbs states in npr music, “Beethoven may have sought refuge in musical ‘comedy’ at times of personal ‘tragedy.’” Therefore, perhaps Beethoven attempted to find a harbor for himself in his own art as well as prevent him from suicide; in the meanwhile, Beethoven’s resolve represented the embodiment of the philosophical concepts of triumph over adversity.

Contributors: HdS, YS, MER


Others’ Words

“The second symphony is a crass ogre, a stabbed, unbound writhing dragon that refuses to die, and although bleeding in the Finale, angrily beats about with tail erect.” (Reviewer in the Zeitung für die Elegente Welt, Vienna, May 1804.)


The innovative musical style of Symphony No. 2 was substantially different not only from Beethoven’s own First Symphony, which was gaining popularity, but also showed a distancing from the influence of Haydn and Mozart through a surge of Beethoven’s own increasingly dramatic symphonic language. This shift was recognized as mildly revolutionary at best, upsettingly barbaric at worst, causing different perspectives to be voiced after its premiere in 1803 at Theater an der Wien. 

Indeed, the Zeitung für die Elegente Welt reviewer quoted above seemed to have recognized Beethoven’s new symphonic approach, but compared it unfavorably to Beethoven’s earlier work:  “the First symphony is better than the later one because it is developed with lightness and is less forced, whereas in the Second the striving after the new and the surprising is already more apparent.” He then goes on to use the monstrous metaphorical language quoted above.

The revolutionary quality of Beethoven’s symphonic writing certainly distinguished the Second Symphony from his own popular earlier works, including the First Symphony, the song “Adelaide” and the Septet, Op. 20, and those of his predecessors Haydn and Mozart. But what about it might have led the contemporary critics to such irritable criticism?

The thirty-four-minute long symphony is longer than other symphonies at the time, but certainly not to the degree the Eroica Symphony would notably achieve a few years later. Surely, this long and harmonically challenging coda taking up one-third of the length of the finale—a traditionally light-hearted movement—is what prompted the reviewer to make the clever “bleeding, but refuses to die” statement. But the negative reaction seems to suggest an additive effect of one unusual musical gesture after another, leading “tail erect” to the final writhing of the finale’s coda.

Each movement showed structural innovations: the first movement starts with an unusually long introduction; the third movement did not follow Haydn’s typical character, being written as scherzo and trio instead of minuet and trio; and the last movement ended with the lengthy and development-like coda.  Beethoven’s harmonic and tonal language would also have proven challenging.  Take for example the modulation in the introduction of the first movement, which follows the tonal path D-B-flat-g-C-F, then arrives at an unexpected d-minor. Similar tonal motion occurs in all of the movements, with unexpected shifts to the minor mode and the use of unprepared and prepared movement to keys a third apart, rather than fourth or fifth. (See the “Significance and Structure” essay above.)

Beethoven’s use of sonata-style materials in the second movement, contrasting the obvious symphonic-style gestures, may have proven challengingly inconsistent. The second movement opens with the texture of a strings quartet follower by a repeat in the winds, like a peaceful serenade. But the symphonic style returns soon after this material, with the dotted tutti rhythms and full orchestra, reminding audiences of the energy and passion from the previous movement. This bravura symphonic style continues in the third movement’s lively scherzo, full of unexpected accents and highly fragmented orchestration. In the trio, jolting sforzandi in the winds bring a joyful surprise to audiences.

Perhaps what was most disconcerting to the reviewer, however, were the pervasive, incessant, constantly interruptive gestural extremes:  delicate pianissimo passages grow quickly to fortissimo conclusions, or would simply be interrupted by tutti explosions; bright, brilliant, driving motives are suddenly interrupted by ear-shattering silences; and there are all manner of sudden emotional swings. The almost constant use of such gestures would suggest to the listener, whose ears were accustomed to the more tamed language of Haydn and Mozart rooted in the beautiful aesthetic, the monstrous violence and fearful state that was associated with the aesthetic of the sublime to a degree not yet realized in a symphonic work. The criticism from Zeitung für die Elegente Welt recognized that Beethoven’s explosive passion was, for better or for worse, fully presented here, unrelenting, pushing the entire work toward the finale’s coda, as the wounded but unstoppable dragon refusing to expire.  Beethoven’s pupil and early biographer Ferdinand Ries confirms the exceptional character of the Second Symphony.  He recalled that a rehearsal ran from 8am to 2:30pm, by which time everyone was exhausted by the great challenges including technical difficulties in the piece. Given this reaction of musicians, it is not surprising that audiences of the time would have found his works different and somewhat difficult to absorb. 

Not all reviewers took exception to Symphony No. 2. A review of the 1804 publication of the parts that appeared in the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung praised the composer’s “depth, power, and artistic knowledge like very few.” However, due to a large amount of musical content and creative symphonic writing, the critic of AMZ also suggested that repeated hearings were necessary to appreciate and understand music properly. Commentaries from that point on continued to reflect that Symphony No. 2 was highly distinct from Beethoven’s previous musical style. As Beethoven and others pushed the dramatic scope and musical language of the symphony during the early years of the 19th century, critics and audiences quickly transformed their opinion and appreciation of Beethoven’s new musical language. Beethoven’s revolutionary ideas that filled the Second Symphony would prove relatively tame in comparison of what was to come, but no less skillful or inspired.

Contributors: ST, ZW, MER


Topics and readings for further inquiry

Napoleon Bonaparte and the conquest of Europe
Geo History, “Napoleon (Part-1)-Birth of an Emperor (1768-1804).” Uploaded Oct 1st, 2019.

Sonata style vs. Symphonic style
See above essay “Symphony in the Late Eighteenth Century.”

Broyles, Michael. The Emergence and Evolution of Beethoven’s Heroic Style. New York, Excelsior Music Publishing Co., 1987. Chapter 1, “The Two Instrumental Styles of Classicism,” is especially helpful.  For those with JStor access, Broyles essay on the two styles can be accessed here:  Broyles, Michael. “The Two Instrumental Styles of Classicism.” Journal of the American Musicological Society 36/2 (Summer 1983): 210-42.

Musical Sublime and eighteenth-century German Aeshetics
Youtube video:  Burke on the Sublime.

Burke, Edmund. A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful. London, 1757.  Of particular help are Part I, Part II, and Part IV.

Tymoczko, Dmitry. “Arts in Society: The Sublime in Beethoven.” Boston Review 1 Dec. 1999. Accessed 07/15/2020.

 “18th Century German Aesthetics.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Jan. 16, 2007, rev. July 13, 2020.  Accessed 07/15/2020.

Burnham, Scott. Beethoven Hero. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995.

Beethoven and the dramatic use of silence.
Cooper, Barry. “Beethoven’s uses of silence.” The Musical Times Vol. 152, no. 1914 (Spring 2011): 25-43.

The Heiligenstadt Testament
Beethoven, Ludwig van. 2001-2013. “The Heiligenstadt Testament.” Ludwig van Beethoven. Accessed July 7, 2020.

Musical Mimesis
See above essay “Symphony in the Late Eighteenth Century.”

Contemporary and 19th-century commentary on Beethoven’s music
Beethoven: What did the 19th  Century Think?” BBC Music Magazine. Accessed 07/05/2020.    

Slonimsky, Nicholas. Lexicon of Musical Invective (2nd ed). Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.

Ries, Wegeler, and Beethoven
Beethoven Remembered: The Biographical Notes of Franz Wegeler and Ferdinand Ries (English and German Edition). Arlington, VA: Great Ocean Publishers, 1987.

Wallace, Lady Grace, trans. “Beethoven’s Letters 1790-1826, from the Collections of Dr. Ludwig Nohl and Dr. Ludwig Ritter von Köchel.”  Boston: Oliver Ditson & Co., 1865. Accessed 07/04/ 2020.


Online Resources

Early Editions of Score and Parts
Early English edition of Score. Published by London: Cianchettini & Sperati.

First published parts.

Modern Edition of the Score
Dover Edition.

Recordings available online
Period/HIP Performances—
Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, Gardiner

Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Harnoncourt
1st movement, 2nd movement, 3rd movement, 4th movement
Complete set of Beethoven Symphonies

Orchestra of the 18th Century, Brüggen
1st movement, 2nd movement, 3rd movement, 4th movement
Complete Set of Beethoven Symphonies by Orchestra of the 18th Century and Brüggen

Important Recordings by Modern Orchestras—
Simon Rattle conducts Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
In the beginning of the video, Sir. Rattle talks about trying to create a performance that was historically accurate, reproducing a performance that is close to how Beethoven might have expected it to be played, based on information from Beethoven’s time. 

Kubelík/ Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (1969)
Includes excerpts from the rehearsals. By watching the rehearsal process, it gives the audience a better understanding of their interpretation.

Descriptions available online (videos, program notes, etc.)
Phillip Huscher,Chicago Symphony Orchestra Program Notes: Beethoven Symphony No. 2
Introduced Beethoven’s deafness and its connection to this symphony. 

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Video Program Notes: Symphonies No. 2 & 5.
Conductor: Muti, Date: Feb. 20-23, 2020. 

Christopher Gibbs, NPR: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 in D Major.
Discussion of Beethoven’s deafness, the Heiligenstadt Testament, life experiences and their relationships to this symphony.

Michael Steinberg, San Francisco Symphony Program Notes.
Includes a brief discussion of each movement. 

Gardiner talks about the second symphony
A discussion of Gardiner’s personal interpretive ideas.

Hector Berlioz’s Description.