Ludwig van Beethoven

Symphonies I

Armin Raab (Editor)


Complete Edition with critical report, paperbound

Orchestral material available from Breitkopf & Härtel

Pages 188 (XIII+175), Size 25,5 x 32,5 cm

Weight 824 g

HN 4001 · ISMN 979-0-2018-4001-7

135.00 €
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Details/level of difficulty

  • Symphony no. 1 C major op. 21
  • Symphony no. 2 D major op. 36

Audio/video

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About the composer

Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven

No composer has had as profound and sustained an influence on immediately following generations to the present day as Beethoven. His instrumental music, especially his symphonies, served as touchstones for symphonic composition throughout the nineteenth century. The extraordinarily high standard of his music and his relative independence as a freelance composer have led to his being characterized as the greatest composer of all time.

1770Baptized in Bonn on December 17, thus probably born on December 16, the son of Johann van Beethoven, a tenor in the court chapel of the prince-elector. First musical instruction from his father.
1778First public performance.
around 1780Musical training with the deputy court organist Christian Gottlob Neefe, who in 1783 presented him in Cramer’s “Magazin der Musik” as a second Mozart.
1782Acquaintance with the Breuning family, where his literary interest is aroused. First publication: Piano Variations in C minor on a March by Dressler, WoO 63.
1783Harpsichordist in the court chapel; 1784 assistant to the court organist.
1787Journey to Vienna. Here he very likely meets Mozart, who probably gives him some lessons. After a short while he must return home to his mother, who is ill with tuberculosis.
1792He travels a second time to Vienna, where he will remain until the end of his life. Count von Waldstein sends him on his way with the famous words: “With steady diligence you will receive Mozart’s spirit from Haydn's hands.” In Vienna he studies with Haydn, Albrechtsberger, Schuppanzigh, and Salieri. As a pupil of Joseph Haydn, he achieves extraordinary recognition among the Viennese nobility and receives financial support. Great demand for his compositions from publishing houses: chamber music and piano sonatas from the Bonn and early Viennese years are issued. His first works printed in Vienna (among them the piano sonatas, Op. 2) already bear the hallmark of his compositional style: a forward-advancing, spirited, process-related character.
1796Concert tours to Prague, Berlin, Leipzig, and Dresden, which cement his fame.
1798Piano Sonata in C Minor, “Pathétique,” Op. 13.
1798–1800String quartets, Op. 18.
1799/1800Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21
1795/1800Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15
1800–01Piano sonatas, Op. 27, “quasi una fantasia,” including the Moonlight Sonata, Op. 27 No. 2.
1801Composition of the Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36 (until 1802). Publication of the Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 19.
1801/1802Crisis brought on by incipient hearing loss, documented in the “Heiligenstadt Testament.” Thereafter he begins, by his own admission, a “New Path” in his compositions, reflected particularly in the piano sonatas, Op. 31 (including the Tempest Sonata); the piano variations, Op. 34 and 35; and the Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, “Eroica,” Op. 55: they are characterized by enhanced structural development as well as by the use of Baroque techniques and models from other genres.
1803–10/12Frenzy of creativity; these years are dubbed Beethoven’s “heroic period”. Written during this phase are Symphonies Nos. 3 through 8 (Opp. 55, 60, 67, 68, 92, 93); Piano Concerti Nos. 3 through 5 (Opp. 37, 58, 73); the Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61; the Triple Concerto, Op. 56; string quartets (the Razumovsky quartets, Op. 59; the Harp Quartet in E-flat major, Op. 74; the String Quartet in F minor, “serioso,” Op. 95); piano trios (among them the “Ghost” Trio, Op. 70); piano sonatas (including the Waldstein Sonata in C major, Op. 53; the Appassionata in F minor, Op. 57; and “Les Adieux” in E-flat major, Op. 81a); songs (including “An die Hoffnung,” Op. 32); the Mass in C major (Op. 86); and the opera “Fidelio” (Op. 72, first version 1804/5).
1808/09Beethoven rejects an offer to become the First Kapellmeister at the court in Kassel because his patrons, Archduke Rudolph, Prince Kinsky, and Prince Lobkowitz, provide him with a comparable yearly salary.
1811/12Travels to the spa at Teplitz, where he meets Goethe. In 1812, the letter to the “immortal beloved,” whose identity (Antonie Brentano or Josephine Deym) is still uncertain.
1814Piano Sonata in E minor, Op. 90; third version of the opera “Fidelio.” Extraordinarily successful concert with Symphonies Nos. 7 and 8. Still, financial crisis brought about by currency devaluation and the absence of yearly stipends from Kinsky and Lobkowitz.
1815Death of his brother Caspar Carl and the beginning of the years-long battle for the guardianship of his nephew Karl.
1816Song cycle “An die ferne Geliebte,” Op. 98; Piano Sonata in A major, Op. 101.
1817–18Hammerklavier Sonata in B-flat major, Op. 106.
1818Beethoven begins keeping conversation books due to increasing hearing loss.
1819–23Missa solemnis, Op. 123.
1819/1823Diabelli Variations, Op. 120.
1820 Piano Sonata in E major, Op. 109, marks the beginning of his glorious late period, which is characterized by exceeding the boundaries of forms, by extreme pitch registers, advanced harmonies, and an increased penchant for contrapuntal forms such as fugue; standing in opposition to the propensity for esotericism in his chamber music is the monumentality of Symphony No. 9.
1821/22Piano Sonatas in A-flat major, Op. 110 (with fugue in the final movement), and C minor, Op. 111 (reduction to two movements).
1822–26String quartets, Opp. 127, 130, 131, 132, 135, as well as the Grosse Fuge, Op. 133, which originally formed the final movement of Op. 130.
1823/24Completion of the Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, which for the first time in the history of the genre includes voice parts (Schiller’s “Ode to Joy”). It will become the most famous and most frequently played symphony of all time.
1827Death in Vienna on March 26.

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About the authors

Armin Raab

Armin Raab (Editor)

Dr. Armin Raab, born on 24.5.1956 in Förtschendorf, studied musicology, theatre studies and modern German literature in Erlangen and was awarded his doctorate in 1988 with a thesis on “Funktionen des Unisono, dargestellt an den Streichquartetten und Messen von Joseph Haydn”.

From 1992 to 1997 he was a research associate at the Beethoven-Archiv in Bonn. In July 1997 he moved to the Joseph Haydn-Institut in Cologne. He has been the Head of Research there since 1999 and thus the Editorial Head of the Haydn Complete Edition (of which 30 volumes have appeared since he has been Head) and editor of the Haydn Studies. He is co-editor of the Haydn-Lexikon (Laaber 2010). Armin Raab has edited three volumes in the new Beethoven Complete Edition and “The Seasons” in the Haydn Complete Edition (also as a Henle study edition); as part of the Haydn Studies he has also published two volumes of the Haydn bibliography (amongst other things).

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