Beethoven’s 5th symphony is one of the most recognized symphonies in the world. Being written for a particular set of instruments, this melody has been performed by different orchestras and with the involvement of some additional set of instruments.
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Beethoven’s 5th symphony has numerous variations as being performed by a particular person, he/she may have a desire to insert some changes in the sound and motif. Having conducted a research, I came across a classical performance of Beethoven’s 5th symphony and the same symphony performed by the London Classical Players conducted by Roger Norrington.
The same composition, the same piece of music is performed differently. It is hard to say that the music is absolutely different, however, having listened to these two performances it becomes obvious that slice aspects are varied. Analyzing just the first movement of Beethoven’s 5th symphony, the similarity and differences are going to be discussed for a better understanding this piece of music.
The classical first movement of Beethoven’s 5th symphony is written for the following set of instruments, flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns, trumpets, timpani and strings. The symphony begins with a famous distinctive four-note motif which is repeated twice. This four-note motif has the following structure, short-short-short-long. These four notes have become a real point for discussion as different authors could not come to the conclusion how this specific part should be played.
Choosing among many variants, both the classical version and the London Classical Players conducted by Roger Norrington use Allegro con brio tempo. However, the further performance is faster in the variant of the London Classical Players conducted by Roger Norrington. The flowing melody presented in these both variants is a slight and unobtrusive. The volume in the following piece of music increases, that gives an opportunity of the tempo increase, however, this is not true.
The magic music is finished with rhythmic powerful notes which conclude the set with a silence. The singular repetition of the fist four-note motif creates an impression that the composer wanted to show the comparison of the good and the evil and the instruments have perfectly coped with this task. These parts are similar in the pieces under consideration.
Listening further for the described music, the piece of magic melody is presented with the slow increase of the tempo and volume that creates an impression that a fight takes place.
There is a slight difference between the classical Beethoven’s 5th symphony and the one performed by the London Classical Players conducted by Roger Norrington. In its original sound, this part is structured and smooth, but listening to the performance of the London Classical Players, it seems that the sound is separated, the lopes of the music notes are heard.
The tone and the tempo seem similar with the only difference in the way how the strings are played. This difference does not spoil the piece, however, it makes the impression of the interruptions and another piece insertion. After this, a horn sounds differently in these two pieces. The melody is changed which is reflected on the change of the tempo.
The whole further performance is presented in a different tempo. The pitches where Beethoven’s 5th symphony in classical variant is moderate, the London Classical Players conducted by Roger Norrington presents the fast tempo. The cases of music stretching are noticed.
The motif is the same, is possible to recognize that struggle which is performed in this symphony, however, the way the instruments correlate is different. For example, the London Classical Players conducted by Roger Norrington strengthen strings and flutes, oboes, and clarinets play faster, while the original variant offers absolutely different distribution of instruments’ stress. Up to the very end of the music the tempo does not coincide.
The power and the sound are similar, the repetition of the four-note motif presented in the beginning is performed in the same way, but when the strings start playing everything becomes different. Beethoven’s variant of the second part is E flat major and it seems that the London Classical Players conducted by Roger Norrington use the same technique.
Therefore, it may be concluded that one of the main differences between the pieces of performances of one and the same melody is tempo. Having chosen the same instruments, the same pitch and melody, the tempo in \performances is different that creates an impression that the classic variant of the first movement of Beethoven’s 5th symphony is more lyric and smooth while the same first movement of Beethoven’s 5th symphony presented by the London Classical Players conducted by Roger Norrington is played in a leaping way, when the instrument change each other with slight interruptions. Listening to both these pieces of music is a real pleasure.
It is impossible to say that some slight changes performed by the London Classical Players have spoiled Beethoven’s symphony. Vice versa, it seems that hej symphony has received a new vision which should be developed. Of course, no one says abou the changes in the symphony motif, but the variations may be successfully offered.
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“Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.” YouTube 25 March 2008. Web. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4IRMYuE1hI
Norrington, Roger. “Beethoven. Symphony №5 Allegro con brio.” London Classical Players, CD.