Written shortly after the epic "Eroica" expanded the concept of what a symphony can be, Ludwig van Beethoven's Fourth Symphony makes a simpler statement.
It's a crowd-pleaser. Symphony No. 4 is more direct than the groundbreaking "Eroica" but still has many moments of brilliance, like the fun, rapid-fire melodies in the finale. And you can hear Beethoven toy with some of the famous musical ideas of the Fifth Symphony -- if you know where to find them in the score.
Watch a performance
Watch the Vienna Philharmonic and conductor Christian Thielemann playing Symphony No. 4 in its entirety:
Some of CPR Classical's favorite recordings of Symphony No. 4:
- Bavarian State Orchestra; Carlos Kleiber, conductor
- Academy of St. Martin in the Fields; Joshua Bell, conductor
- Revolutionary and Romantic Orchestra; John Eliot Gardiner, conductor
- Berlin Philharmonic; Herbert von Karajan, conductor
Host Monika Vischer on Symphony No. 4:
Few listeners can easily recall the melodies from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4.
It’s not for lack of energy, invention or beauty. It still impresses and inspires.
In fact, had it been the only symphony Beethoven composed, it would have still put him in the history books.
Read the full essay.
View all Beethoven 9 content.
The Beethoven 9 podcast offers an in-depth exploration of Ludwig van Beethoven's nine symphonies, featuring host Monika Vischer and Beethoven biographer Jan Swafford. Hear other episodes or subscribe to be notified when new installments are available.