YouTube Classical Music: Beethoven
Enjoy the best of Beethoven’s classical music by watching these top YouTube videos.
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in classical music, he remains one of the most famous and influential of all composers. His best-known compositions include 9 symphonies, 5 piano concertos, 1 violin concerto, 32 piano sonatas, 16 string quartets, his great Mass the Missa solemnis, and one opera, Fidelio.
The Best of Beethoven
Symphony No. 5 in C minor
Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C minor is one of the most iconic and well-loved pieces of classical music. The piece was completed in 1808, and is known for its driving, aggressive opening motif, which recurs throughout the symphony. The work is in four movements, and runs approximately 45 minutes in length.
Symphony No. 6 in F major
The Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68, also known as the Pastoral Symphony (Pastorale), is a symphony composed by Ludwig van Beethoven and completed in 1808. One of Beethoven’s few works portrayals of pastoral life, the symphony reflects the composer’s own personal feelings towards the countryside. The piece was very popular in Beethoven’s day and continues to be one of his most celebrated works today.
The first performance took place in Vienna on 22 December 1808, at a concert for soldiers wounded in the recent struggle against Napoleon’s invading forces. The composer said that the Sixth Symphony is “more an expression of feeling than painting”, though several passages do portray specific scenes; for example, the second movement includes bird calls which were imitate using flute and oboe sounds, while the storm in the fourth movement is represented by thunderous timpani rolls and fortissimo chords in the strings.
Symphony No. 9 in D minor
One of Beethoven’s most famous pieces, the Symphony No. 9 in D minor, composed between 1822 and 1824, marked the turning point in his career. The work, composed while he was deaf, is noted for its use of a choral setting of Schiller’s “Ode to Joy” in the final movement.
The Worst of Beethoven
There are plenty of YouTube channels that play classical music, but if you’re looking for the worst of Beethoven, you’ve come to the right place. In this video, we’ll take a look at some of Beethoven’s lesser-known works, including his Bagatelle in C minor and the Allegretto in E-flat major.
Symphony No. 1 in C major
Symphony No. 1 in C major is one of Beethoven’s weakest and most uninteresting works. It’s generally thought of as a student work, thrown off in a hurry to fulfill a commission for a dancing school. As such, it doesn’t really have the weight or gravitas of his more famous later works.
Symphony No. 2 in D major
The first movement is in 2/4 time and is Allegro con brio; Beethoven intended the work to “convey the impression of joyousness”. In an often-quoted comment, he wrote to a friend that the symphony was “like the play of a sunny spring day”. The second theme in the exposition is presented in D major, before the tonic minor. The exposition closes in C major, with a shortened version of the first theme. There are two main themes in this sonata-form movement.
The development begins with an eruption of energy, including a series of martial fanfares which move from D minor to G minor. These fanfares anticipate the opening of the last movement, which begins with a similar idea. The development includes abrupt changes of mood and tempo, such as Beethoven writingfortissimo then immediatelypiano; this has been ascribed to his “inner restlessness”. It also features wide use of modulations to different tonalities.
Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major
During the composition of his Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, Op. 55, Beethoven was in the throes of severe depression brought on by his worsening deafness. The work was premiered on 7 April 1805, but the composer was so unhappy with it that he withdrew it after its first performance. It wasn’t until 1806 that Beethoven decided to revise and publish the symphony, and even then he made substantial changes to the work, including transposing the second movement from C minor to C major.
The Symphony No. 3 is one of Beethoven’s most celebrated works, and it has been hailed as a masterpiece by many music critics. However, due to its challenging length and structure, it is also one of his most difficult symphonies to perform.
In conclusion, Beethoven was a ground-breaking composer who transformed the musical landscape. His work spanned many genres, including opera, symphony, concerto, and chamber music. Beethoven’s personal life was marked by tragedy and heartbreak, but his music continues to inspire and delight audiences around the world.