On This Day, 1814 – The Symphony No. 8 by Ludwig van Beethoven, premiered in Viena

Painting of Ludwig Van Beethoven by Joseph Karl Stieler, 1820.

On the 27th of February 1814, Ludwig van Beethoven’s “The Eighth” was premiered in the Redoutensaal, Vienna, at a concert that also included the Seventh Symphony and “Wellington’s Victory.”

The Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93 is a symphony in four movements, composed in 1812.

Beethoven referred to it as “my little Symphony in F”, so as to distinguish it from the Seventh, as well as from the longer and more substantial Sixth Symphony, also in F major.

Beethoven created his Eighth Symphony at the same time as his Seventh, during a critical period in his life, and focusing on the former during the summer of 1812.

To escape poor sanitary conditions then in Vienna, Beethoven escaped to the Bohemian spas. It was while in Bohemia that Beethoven wrote a letter to his mysterious “Immortal Beloved”, which reveals a shared love, yet Beethoven never indicated the identity of the woman to whom it was written, and, according to music historians, probably never sent the letter.

Despite all the circumstances, this Symphony is the composer’s most delightful and humorous.

According to The Guardian, it is “one of the shortest, weirdest, but most compelling symphonies of the 19th century”.

Ludwig van Beethoven (baptized December 17, 1770, Bonn, Germany – March 26, 1827, Vienna, Austria), was a German composer and pianist. Beethoven remains one of the most admired composers in the history of music and the predominant musical figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras.

According to Britannica, Ludwig van Beethoven is widely regarded as the greatest composer who ever lived. “Rooted in the Classical traditions of Joseph Haydn and Mozart, his art reaches out to encompass the new spirit of humanism and incipient nationalism expressed in the works of Goethe and Friedrich von Schiller, his elder contemporaries in the world of literature; the stringently redefined moral imperatives of Kant; and the ideals of the French Revolution, with its passionate concern for the freedom and dignity of the individual. He revealed more vividly than any of his predecessors the power of music to convey a philosophy of life without the aid of a spoken text; and in certain of his compositions is to be found the strongest assertion of the human will in all music, if not in all art. Though not himself a Romantic, he became the fountainhead of much that characterized the work of the Romantics who followed him, especially in his ideal of program or illustrative music, which he defined in connection with his Sixth (Pastoral) Symphony as “more an expression of emotion than painting.” In musical form he was a considerable innovator, widening the scope of sonata, symphony, concerto, and quartet, while in the Ninth Symphony he combined the worlds of vocal and instrumental music in a manner never before attempted.”