Excellence in Scholarship and Learning


Beethoven Symphonies Revisited

Performance, Expression and Impact

David Young taught music history and theory at the Royal Northern College of Music, worked for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music as a consultant in South East Asia, and was Professor of Performance Studies at Kampala University and Vice-Chancellor of the East Africa University, Rwanda. He is editor of Haydn the Innovator: A New Approach to the String Quartets(2000) and his scholarly writings have appeared in the RMA Research Chronicle, Current Musicology, New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, and the International Haydn Symposium.

Beethoven Symphonies Revisited guides the reader – music student, concert goer, or general music lover – through the movements in a way that renews the novelty and excitement that listeners must have felt at the first performances. Stylistic discussion concentrates on the unusual features of each symphony, placing each individual work in the context of Beethoven's musical advancement and circumstances. His musical innovations are explored, and his contribution to the genre assessed. Thirty author-annotated musical pages elaborate and exemplify. The essential building blocks of key, tonality, metre, rhythm and instrumentation are discussed in detail.

The author’s purpose is twofold: to bring together major research findings and at the same time offer detailed descriptive analyses of all nine symphonies. The approach is singular in its emphasis on the symphonies in the context of performance practice of the time, especially musical direction; the importance of the wind instruments (especially horns) and kettle drums; how counterpoint features in various passages in all the symphonies except the Sixth and Eighth, and how this was influenced by Beethoven's strict training in species counterpoint. New evaluations are offered, especially for the Second, Eighth and Ninth symphonies.

The book’s multi-faceted approach will be invaluable not only for conductors and music students at all levels, but for all concert goers and music lovers who wish to gain insight into the musical intricacies developed and enhanced by Beethoven's symphonic journey.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-78976-080-4
Hardback Price: £80.00 / $99.95
Release Date: February 2021
Page Extent / Format: 240 pp. 234 x 156 mm
Illustrated: Yes



Chapter 1       INTRODUCTION
Status and Performance: changing approaches to performance of the symphonies; the instruments of Beethoven's day.  Critical Editions.  Beethoven's Sketches.  Critical Reception by Beethoven's German and Austrian Contemporaries.  Approach.  Sonata Form.
Overview.  Public performance:  theatres.  Directing orchestral music.  Public performance: mixed and benefit concerts.   Public performances: other venues.  Ecclesiastical performances.  Private performances and the decline of the Hofkapelle.   Decline in demand for symphonies. 

Chapter 3       SYMPHONY NO. 1 IN C, op. 21, 1800
Overview.  Biographical and Contextual Considerations: early career in Bonn; musical influences; move to Vienna; study with Haydn and others; concert at which the First Symphony premièred.  Stylistic Considerations.   Summary.  Early Critical Reception.  Dedication.  Sources for the Published Editions.                                                       
Chapter 4       SYMPHONY NUMBER 2 IN D MAJOR, Op. 36,  1802
Overview.  Biographical and Stylistic Considerations.   Summary.  Early Critical Reception.  Sources for the Published Editions.  
Chapter 5       SYMPHONY NUMBER 3 IN E FLAT, OP. 55, 1804
Overview.  The Three Periods.  Completion and First Performances.  Stylistic Considerations.  Summary: the Symphony as 'Heroic'.  Early Critical Reception.  Sources for the Published Editions.   

Chapter 6       SYMPHONY NUMBER 4 IN B FLAT, OP. 60, 1806
Overview.  Biographical Considerations.  Stylistic Considerations.  Summary. Early Critical Reception.  Sources for the Published Editions.      
Chapter 7       SYMPHONY NUMBER 5 IN C MINOR, OP. 67, 1808 and SYMPHONY      
             NUMBER 6 IN F ('PASTORAL'), OP. 68, 1808
Overview.  Biographical Considerations.  Première of the Two Symphonies.  Stylistic Considerations: Fifth Symphony.  Early Critical Reception: Fifth Symphony.  Sources for the Published Editions: Fifth Symphony.  Stylistic Considerations: Sixth Symphony.  The Fifth and Sixth Symphonies Compared.  Early Critical Reception: Sixth Symphony.  Sources for the Published Editions: Sixth Symphony. 


Chapter 8       SYMPHONY NUMBER 7 IN A MAJOR, OP. 92, 1812 and SYMPHONY
                         NUMBER 8 IN F, OP. 93, 1812
Overview.  Biographical Considerations.  First Public Performances.  Stylistic Considerations: Seventh Symphony.  Summary: The Seventh.  Early Critical Reception: Seventh Symphony. Sources for the Published Editions: Seventh Symphony.  Stylistic Considerations: Eighth Symphony.  Summary: The Eighth.  Early Critical Reception: Eighth Symphony. Sources for the Published Editions: Eighth Symphony.  
 Chapter 9         SYMPHONY NO 9 IN D MINOR, OP. 125, 1824
Overview: Composition and First Performances.  Biographical and Contextual Considerations: new composers on the scene; status of the symphony.  Stylistic Considerations.  Summary.  Sources for the Published Editions.   Early Critical Reception.
Main features:  tradition and innovation.  Influence and significance.     


Review Quotes to Follow

Books can be ordered by phone or online

Ordering in the UK, Europe, Asia, Australasia, South America and Rest of the World

Gazelle Book Services
Direct sales tel.: +44 (0)1524 528500; email:
Web ordering:

Ordering in the United States and Canada
Independent Publishers Group (IPG)
Direct sales tel.: (800) 888-4741
Web ordering:

Bookseller Ordering
Information is provided under the Resources tab

eBook Ordering
e-Book type availability can be sourced via by book title. Kindle availability is via Amazon .com and sites.