Music throwback: Beethoven’s 7th

Jaquandor, the blogger from the Buffalo area , posted a recording of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony. He described it as “one of the towering masterpieces of all music (and probably of all human art).” Is this Beethoven’s greatest symphony? One could make that argument.

Beethoven’s 7th is among my favorite pieces of music. And the second movement, Allegretto, is one of the first pieces of classical music that I could identify.

7/2 seems deceptively simple. The melody line is the same note for a couple measures, and then another note for a could more measures. But the layers laced upon that melody line are absolutely gorgeous.

I remember a version of this section on one of those Warners Brothers Loss Leaders albums called I DIDN’T KNOW THEY STILL MADE RECORDS LIKE THIS (PRO 608, 1975), but I couldn’t remember who performed it until I looked it up.

Waldo de los Rios, an Argentine composer, conductor and arranger born in 1934, is “best remembered for his ability to transform European classical music into pop music.” Unfortunately, “a victim of an acute depression…, de los Rios committed suicide in Madrid in 1977.”

I became rather obsessed with finding a vocalized version of this movement, so much so that I actually purchased the piano music online and sang along several of the parts individually. The printed music is cited as being from “The King’s Speech.” It is heard in the movie as George VI (Colin Firth) delivers his first wartime speech.

I did not find what I was looking for – does it even exist? – but I discovered a couple of interesting variations.

LISTEN to:

Beethoven’s 7th Symphony in A major

La Chambre Philharmonique, played on period instruments and using period performance standards

The Proms

Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, 2nd movement

Waldo de los Rios

Sacris Solemnis – Son et Lumiere

Vocal Beethoven Seventh in the movie Zardoz

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