Friday, 13 February 2015

Programming Beethoven symphonies

'There is never only one way' are words that should be pinned above every musician's - arguably everyone's - desk. Immediately below, we should probably append Schoenberg's generous 'The middle road is the only one that does not lead to Rome.' The standard presentation of Beethoven's symphonies as a 'cycle' has much to be said for it, although Daniel Barenboim's inclusion at the Proms of works by Boulez proved a stroke of genius. So, assuming that we might have Barenboim - or whoever your preferred Beethovenian(s) might be - at the podium, how else might we programme Beethoven's symphonies? I started considering this parlour game on a railway journey yesterday, and here were my selections, one symphony per (more or less) typical length concert. Doubtless my choices would be different today, let alone tomorrow. Looking back, I see a good deal of Mozart: I might say too much, but there can never be too much. Moreover, there is no Wagner, rather to my surprise. Please feel free to comment or to add your suggestions.

Bonn's greatest son

Bach - Orchestral Suite no.1 in C major, BWV 1066
Mozart - Piano Concerto no.24 in C minor, KV 491
Beethoven - Symphony no.1 in C major, op.21

Mozart - Kyrie in D minor, KV 341/368a
Handel - Music for the Royal Fireworks
Mendelssohn - Kyrie in D minor
Beethoven - Symphony no.2 in D major, op.36

Boulez - Rituel in memoriam Bruno Maderna
Stravinsky - Requiem Canticles
Beethoven - Symphony no.3 in E-flat major, 'Eroica', op.55

Mozart - Overture: Don Giovanni
Beethoven - Symphony no. 4 in B-flat major, op.60
Haydn - Missa in Angustiis, 'Nelson Mass', Hob. XXII:11

Mahler - Totenfeier
Birtwistle - Endless Parade
Beethoven - Symphony no.5 in C minor, op.67

Gluck - Overture: Iphigénie en Aulide
Beethoven - Symphony no.6 in F major, 'Pastoral', op.68
Berlioz - Symphonie fantastique, op.14

Cornelius - Overture: Der Barbier von Bagdad
Rameau - Suite from Les Boréades
Busoni - Tanzwalzer
Beethoven - Symphony no.7 in A major, op.92

Webern - Five Movements, op.5
Beethoven - Symphony no.8 in F major, op.93
Webern - Symphony, op.21
Brahms - Symphony no.3 in F major, op.90

Schoenberg - Prelude to Genesis, op.44
Henze - Violin Concerto no.3
Beethoven - Symphony no.9 in D minor, op.125