Thursday, August 23, 2007

Beethoven's 7th Symphony

If the words "Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, Second Movement" don't mean anything to you, please listen.

If you already know the piece, I'd love to hear about the effect it had on you when you first heard it. I got turned on to it when I was fifteen: played it over and over again for a week and a half and walked around in a deep, blue somnambulent daze. Damn near drove my roomate crazy.


It took me about as long to make these signs as it does to listen to the whole symphony.

19 comments:

godfreysmama said...

I fell in love with this piece of music in college. It was in a music history class that I was introduced to it. That class was many, many years ago. I loved to listen this symphony as well as Hayden's string quartet op 76,3.
My college roommate used to tease me about playing them over and over. Until I came home from class early one day and found she was playing these records when I was gone. Thanks for re-introducing me to this music.

John said...

I first heard the 2nd movement around Xmas 1997, on a tv documentary by Sir George Martin on Music. I bought it the next day, such was the immediate impact it made on me.

It is for me the most beautiful piece of music ever written. Poor Beethoven, already going deaf by the time he wrote it in 1813, never got to hear it so vibrantly as we do today. I included it on both my children's birth tapes, as I felt it was a beautiful accompaniement to the entry to the world.

Anonymous said...

I was first introduced to it as a music major at Furman University (Greenville, SC) in the early 1990's. The second movement just broke my heart. To this day, I still don't know why. I played my cassette incessantly, until the orchestration seeped into my bones. I went from tears streaming down my cheeks, to gaining enough control to feel the tears well up but not spill over. Now I just have a deep pang of grief of wash over me when I hear the movement.

This has come back to my attention because one my piano students is learning a "dumbed down" rendition in her lessons book, and want her to hear it done properly so she too can be devastated by the beauty of this music.

VerdureVision said...

Thank you for this post!

I first encountered this piece in a movie about Beethoven, called "Immortal Beloved," where it was used to poignant effect, but didn't quite sink in for me. Then, I heard it again in a movie called "The Fall," where it was used to absolutely stunning effect.

It is now on an endless loop in my head. This piece of music is literally haunting me in equal parts ecstasy and torture. There really are no adequate words to describe the effect this piece of music has. It just pervades your soul...

Edmond Guillaume said...

I first heard this piece in a French film, Irreversible. Ever since, it's haunted my mind. It's such a heart-rending, bittersweet piece of music.

Anonymous said...

It is now played over and over in the movie "Knowing" with Nicolas Cage. It was very familiar when I heard it in the movie but I don't know where I had heard it before. It's haunting me.

sashá said...

it made me feel.. insane, in a perfect way. More than crazy, more than perturbed, it was the losing piece of my mind, the missing part.
can u feel it? the talking violins?
they are giving an opinnion of us.
Anyway, that's my freaky story :)
Hi.

fiola said...

I love this piece since I saw a movie called Photographing Fairies like 8 years ago. The movie is great, the name sounds corny but its actually a great movie, rather obscure and psycological. The second movement is the main theme and fits just perfectly the movie's mood.
I got obsessed about the piece and it took me a while to learn it was Second Movement from Beethoven's 7th

Anonymous said...

I think the hope and happiness of the music at the end of the piece erases the sadness of the beginning, so that we CAN'T remember it clearly. So we keep playing it over and over trying to capture the entire piece.

Anonymous said...

Some music makes you feel the unknown, the thing that is beyond. with Beethvn happens often, but this piece makes the tears gather in my eyes, WHY? Dunnow, dont wanna know. This is the perfection. I don't know if a life deserves this suffering to create this thing, I mean, Nobody likes to suffer, but I am happy and grateful to Ludwig Van Beetvhoven to crate this> Thank you guys to love it the same way as I do

Edward Behan said...

Currently watching Knowing at home, and I've had to pause the movie as I've been racking my brains where I've heard this piece before, in another sci-fi movie... I was about to give up when I had a revelation! It was Zardoz, an odd 70s sci-fi film starring Sean Connery. The piece plays through the final moments of the film - very poignant!

I'm posting this in case anyone else watching Knowing gets stuck and looks online for help!

Right, back to the movie...

Norbert Kiraly said...

Thank you Edward, spot on!
Cures me of starting to flick through my dvd collection for match. Thanks for taking the time to post that it was Zardoz.

John Bickerton said...

Excellent usage of 2nd movement from Beethoven's 7th Symphony in the climatic scene from the academy award winning movie "The King's Speech". The scene builds just as the music constantly builds making for a very damatic finale.

Freewayblogger said...

I'm with you on that, John: the usage in The King's Speech was spot on. The Allegretto also appears, somewhat tongue-in-cheek as dance music in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

Anonymous said...

Words can't describe this movement. I just used it on my blog to express my feelings, emotions, and thoughts on the Human Direction...past...present...and future...so much pain and sorrow, frustration...potential...peaks and valleys...and deep dark abyss...and the lonliness...of those beautiful solo instruments near the end...the piece is quite simply sublime.

Anonymous said...

I was introduced to this piece when I was assigned Beethoven's Seventh in an analyzation project in a music theory class during my undergrad. At first I just listened passively while following the music in the score, but before I knew what was happening I was in awe of every second of this movement. It has such a deeply profound impact, but I don't even know specifically what it's saying. I guess that's the beauty of music, you don't necessarily have to say anything to make a deep statement.

Ed said...

I was about 8. The family who lived across the street had a rustic cabin way up in the most rustic area of the north Georgia mountains. In the early 1960's rustic still meant no plumbing, no telephone, no television. Just old twin beds covered by ancient quilts. My best friend and would be put to bed by his parents. His mother was a opera singer. No pop music, just the classics. In an unfamiliar mountain cabin, far from modern conveniences. I felt excited to be there and at the same time very small and vulnerable. Then on the old record player, the 7th symphony and the second movement. The expressive music, which I understand how it can bring tears, comforted me as I snuggled beneath the quilts. The music related an understanding of my weakness so that I could trust that my excitement was not misplaced. It was OK to be weak, for in my weakness I am made strong by comfort. I have loved this symphony over and over again many many times.

Freewayblogger said...

Thanks Ed, that was a gorgeous description, and reminded me of how different things were not so long ago. Also how unique that time was - lying in bed, long before you were sleepy, having to entertain yourself with either thoughts, or whatever stimulus (faraway music, headlights and shadows moving across the wall...) you could find.

Mostly though, the thought of a place without electricity... I doubt many of us would know what to do with ourselves in such a place anymore...

Anonymous said...

i see people mentioning the kings speech and other movies and series, im baffled noo ne else mention the fall yet, of all examples this music has never been used in a better way,
the movie is pretty great on itself, but the use of the allegretto never have been fitted more perfectly then in this movie, watch it!