Essay about Beethoven's Third Symphony in E Flat

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Beethoven's third symphony in E Flat, written in 1804 is a vast work in terms of length for any orchestra to perform. Indeed it contains one of the longest first movements ever composed. [Simpson 1986, pp. 19] With a first movement comprising of some seven hundred bars this is a symphony that redefined the genre and moved Beethoven firmly into his musicological 'middle' period due to the range of compositional techniques, expressive articulation and wealth of ideas that the work contains. The piece borders between a Romantic and late classical style with a lot of expression and emotional content. The overriding structure is sonata form but Beethoven gives an almost equal amount of bars to every section, including a coda, a pattern which …show more content…
21]. The development section is 224 bars long and concludes at bar 398 (figure 'M'). In the recapitulation Beethoven reintroduces both the first and second subjects but still explores different keys such as D flat major. The coda starts at bar 563 and is very extensive for the first movement of a symphony and this brings the first movement to a close in the home key of E Flat. Beethoven however still finds the time and space to insert one more theme into this last section before developing a theme that was introduced during the development section. The metre of the entire movements is 3/4 throughout which suggests (especially at the time it was composed) a dance like quality to the music. There is no variation in metre, which is perhaps surprising but the lack of variation allows Beethoven to show his compositional dexterity by accenting different beats of the bar in order to produce the effect of different metres such as in bar 124 – 132 with tutti sforzando chords. The dance quality also comes across throughout the movement as Beethoven uses complex rhythm, accents and syncopation to obscure the otherwise distinctive sense of pulse. This is corroborated by the performance directions Allegro Con Brio (“fast with spirit”) and the vigorous, unrelenting tempo of this lively first movement. The exposition contains two subjects; the

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