Musical Excerpt: the Allegretto from Beethoven’s Seventh

A moving performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 last night inspired me to post this masterpiece of a second movement (conducted here by Haitink), which is so gorgeously crafted that it never becomes trite or tiresome–in fact, several audiences at premiere performances of the Seventh demanded that the second movement be repeated. The life pulse of this movement, broken only by brief, shimmery pastoral moments, comes from its inexorable rhythmic ostinato. While many have differed on the character of the second movement, for some it is reminiscent of a funeral march. Bitter and hopeful at the same time, this march communicates not resignation but resolution, of the determination of the human spirit to keep moving forward despite external forces or internal sorrows.

More reading: NPR – Christopher Gibbs’ Notes on Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony


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