Luca Wiegand: Description/AnalysisBeethoven’s Symphony No.2 in D major, op.36 is a rather calmly composed piece when compared to his other symphonies such as Symphony No.4 and No.6.
Something very special about Symphony No.2 is that there were noticeable moments where the volume of the orchestra went from very soft to suddenly very loud within a rather short span of time. During the performance we watched at the Garland Symphony Orchestra, there was an emphasis on the incredible flutist who came, Joaquin Melo, who was in a way the centerpiece of the music, so it was really fascinating to hear the piece being played heavily on the flute as well as the rest of the orchestra, as when I listened to it the flute did not have such a heavy impact on the overall performance, whereas at the Garland Symphony Orchestra it was a lot more noticeable and pronounced. The piece itself has four movements each with different tempos. One Viennese critic described the piece as being, “a crass monster, a hideously writhing, wounded dragon that refuses to die and, though bleeding in the finale, furiously thrashes about with its stiffened tail.” Dettmer, Roger. “Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op.
36 | Details.” AllMusic. Accessed December 04, 2017.
https://www.allmusic.com/composition/symphony-no-2-in-d-major-op-36-mc0002366719. Which I believe to be an incredibly descriptive, in-depth and well thought out description of the symphony.
The introductory section of the performance is played very slowly and in a relaxed manner or ‘Adagio molto’. It starts off with D major, progressing over to B major after sometime, then the piece transitions into A major and then suddenly back to D. Upon further development of the piece it becomes more stable, strong and increases in speed, this can also be referred to as, “Allegro con Brio” Munteanu, Lulian.
“Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2.” All About Ludwig van Beethoven. Accessed December 04, 2017. http://www.all-about-beethoven.
com/symphony2.html., which is the first movement’s name. This then continuously switches between A minor and A major. While the piece advances further, there is also a move over to D major again, where the symphony then sticks to the A theme. Towards the end of the first movement the B theme is reintroduced, with a quick use of B major to then reversing back to an actually quite uncommonly played note during the first movement of the symphony; D. The frequent use of the A notes is carried on from the first movement into the second movement. The second movement–‘Larghetto’–is a very graceful and beautifully composed piece.
It is renowned for being one of the “longest slow movements” Automatisering, Roffel. “Symphony No. 2 in D major.” Beethoven – Symphony No. 2 in D major: description — Classic Cat. Accessed December 04, 2017. https://www.
classiccat.net/beethoven_l_van/36.info.php#cite_note-1.. During the second movement, along with influences of Austrian folk music, there was also an influence from one of his other symphonies, No.6. The influence drawn from Symphony No.
6 is a more rural sounding one, but beautiful none the less, the art of it was that it is a piece composed to in a way portray the country life, also called ‘Pastoral’. The third movement of Symphony No.2 is in contrast to the first and the second movement, a very fast one, similar to the fourth movement as well, perhaps. The third movement is also referred to as “Scherzo” which means something close to ‘joke’ in German, which could imply that it was some sort of a joke, as it encapsulates a style of bassoon, and oboe quartet which is commonly found in Austrian slap dancing, also called “Schuhplattler”, which is a rather comedic–hence ‘joke’–dance. The fourth movement as I have previously mentioned is a very hastily played movement, “Allegro molto” Italian Musical Terms. Accessed December 04, 2017. http://www.
php., made up of string instruments being played in rapid passages. It has great depth to it and incredible musical harmony.