The Seventh Symphony is in four movements:
Beethoven began writing Symphony No. 7 in 1811 and completed it in 1812. He took his time to create something totally amazing, and this remains one of the best music ever written. This is the moment when we identify a modern stage in the composer‘s creation, where classical elements intertwine with romantic ones, thus generating a new expression far more intimate and more complex.
Movement I (Vivace)
The first movement starts with a long, expanded introduction marked “poco sustention”, showing a solemn and majestic character. On the rhythmical background we hear the fine motif. This first part brings many new elements, easy to decipher, because the composer achieved perfection through sound. Here, we see Beethoven’s distinctive use of rhythm and pioneering sense of key relationships.
Movement II (Allegretto)
The second movement is perhaps the most expressive part of this symphony. This movement was encored at the premiere and has remained popular since. It begins with the main melody played by the violas and cellos. The melody is then played by the second violins while the violas and cellos play a different melody which is equally important, described by George Grover as “a string of beauties hand-in-hand”. While in the first movement the A major sonorities conferred greatness and sumptuousness, the theme in Movement II, in A minor, brings a whole new atmosphere, thus emphasizing the contrast between the two.
Movement III (Presto)
The third movement represents a splendid triumph in rendering the scherzo form. As a whole, it conveys a genuine bucolic scene with pictorial meanings and associations. With this (meno presto assai) in trio, the composer uses a theme from an Austrian folkloric song, the theme of which had been jotted down while Beethoven was in Teplitz.
Movement IV (Allegro)
The fourth movement emanates an immense joy from beginning to the end (allegro con brio). It is a whole series of images, full of energy and pleasure of life. This last movement is in sonata form, the coda of which contains an example of the dynamic marking ƒƒƒ (called forte fortissimo or fortississimo). Listening to this symphony’s grand finale one can hardly decide what to think more astonishing: Beethoven’s amazing creative fantasy, the impeccable form, the amazing talent in using all the musical resources in developing the themes, or his compact, luscious, sumptuous instrumentation.