Symphony No. 4 on Beethoven's Sketches for the Tenth Symphony, Biamonti 838, by Adrian Gagiu, First Movement

Symphony No. 4 on Beethoven's Sketches for the Tenth Symphony, Biamonti 838, by Adrian Gagiu, First Movement
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Performer: Adrian Gagiu
Length: 12:47
Symphony No. 4 on Beethoven's Sketches for the Tenth Symphony, Biamonti 838, by Adrian Gagiu, Second Movement
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Performer: Adrian Gagiu
Length: 7:09
Symphony No. 4 on Beethoven's Sketches for the Tenth Symphony, Biamonti 838, by Adrian Gagiu, Third and Fourth Movements
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Performer: Adrian Gagiu
Length: 11:11
Symphony No. 4 on Beethoven's Sketches for the Tenth Symphony, Biamonti 838, by Adrian Gagiu, Fifth Movement
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Performer: Adrian Gagiu
Length: 13:14
Fourth Symphony in E flat “Homage to Beethoven”, based on the sketches for his Tenth Sympony by Adrian Gagiu (Biamonti 838) The sketches for the Tenth Symphony are quite incomplete, but they offer a fascinating array of material that has tempted many to see where they might lead. Romanian composer Adrian Gagiu has kindly allowed The Unheard Beethoven to host mp3 files of his Fourth Symphony, composed in 2003, which is based on Beethoven's sketches.

Mr. Gagiu writes:

"In 1822-1827, the fascinating Tenth Symphony (Biamonti 838) was one of Beethoven’s most advanced projects, along with the String Quintet in C (WoO 62), but still they both were at the beginning of their elaboration. The material is not quite abundant, and many secondary features in the concept sketches could have been modified, according to his working habits, should he have lived a few years more. For a true reconstruction, the sketches are a bit too scarce, but they are also too good to be left aside and very stimulating for a composer, especially for one whose formation is indebted to Beethoven and who is willing to pay him homage. This is why, although I appreciate very much the conjectural style completions by people like Barry Cooper (Tenth Symphony, first movement), Nicholas Cook (Sixth Pianoforte Concerto, first movement), or Willem’s “Macbeth” Overture, I have chosen for my Fourth Symphony in E flat “Homage to Beethoven” (2003) a post-modern, Neo-Classical idiom, mingled with my usual modal, contrapuntal manner, an approach partly similar to Stravinsky’s “The Fairy’s Kiss” (after Tchaikovsky) or Berio’s “Rendering” (Schubert’s Tenth Symphony). For such a work, the thorough study of fundamental articles on Beethoven’s projects and sketches (by Barry Cooper, Sieghard Brandenburg, Robert Winter, Martin Staehelin, Nicholas Cook, and Lewis Lockwood) was a necessity, made possible though the Beethoven Bibliography Database at the Ira F. Brillliant Center for Beethoven Studies, San José State University (many thanks to director William Meredith and curator Patricia Stroh). After completing the composition, I have prepared at Mr. Meredith’s request a text presentation of it (and on which the present one is based), to be published in their “Beethoven Journal”.

"For this symphony, all of the thematic material is Beethoven’s, as is the general outline, or as much as the latter could be deducted from his sketches. I made use mainly of the sketches for the Tenth Symphony (at least for the main themes of the corresponding movements), but also of the sketches for the String Quintet WoO 62 and of several unused, shorter ones, intended for other compositions. The symphony has 5 movements lasting a total of 45 minutes and is scored for a normal concert orchestra, including 3 trombones. The mp3 recordings presented here were realized with the samples of Garritan Personal Orchestra.

"In the first movement (Andante-Allegro con brio-Andante), a nostalgic and spiritual theme in E flat (the “Adagio Cantique” from 1818?) similar to the slow movements of the Pathétique Sonata and the Ninth Symphony, is framing a wild sonata form in C minor, 6/8 (the “Feast of Bacchus” from 1818?). I used all the sketched variants of the themes, simultaneously or in contrapuntal combinations, and for the beginning of the secondary group I orchestrated and transposed in G the jovial, early String Prelude Hess 31c, which I have found to be similar to a variant of the Allegro main theme. The development is entirely fugued, like in the finale of the Pianoforte Sonata Op. 101 and other late works, and is using all the main themes and different types of answers, up to a bi-tonal superposition of tonic and dominant harmonies (found in several of Beethoven's works). In the abbreviated return of the Andante, a soft counterpoint in the strings reminds of the stormy Allegro rhythms, but is gradually relaxed.

"In the second movement, a sonata-scherzo (Presto in C minor, 3/4), another form of the “Fate” motif appears. I continued this sketch with the “scherzo” theme for the String Quintet (same key and rhythm) and two melodies in D major and minor (intended for the scherzo of the Ninth Symphony). Another wild fugal development occurs, using all the themes and some surprises in dynamics, phrasing and thematic relationships. The main subject of this fugato is a contraction of the first scherzo theme and thus its octave leap reminds also of the main Allegro theme in the first movement, meaning that the “scherzo” was a return of the “Bacchus` Feast” but with no major contrasts. The Trio (in C, 4/4) begins with Beethoven's “fanfare”, reminding the G minor transition in the first movement, and is followed first merrily by the main theme and a variant of the finale theme, both for the String Quintet. This escapism does not last, and after some strange modulations the modified reprise of the “scherzo” outbursts. In its fugal development, the first Trio theme serves as a countersubject, consistent to a suggestion by Beethoven for entirely fugued scherzos.

"The third movement, an introspective Adagio (A flat, 2/4), is treated in 5 variations, interrupted by two sections in 3/4 in a way similar to the slow movement of the Ninth Symphony. The first theme begins with the short motif from 1825, realized in the Hypolydian mode and thus connected to a motif in G minor from 1822, and then to the “last Beethovenian sketch” (Biamonti 849). The first triple-time section makes use of the slow movement sketch and the majestic introduction, both for the String Quintet (the latter without repeats, which I think to have been added by Diabelli in order to sell this draft separately as a piano miniature). A sudden turn of dissatisfaction to remote A major leads directly through an enharmonic change to the fourth movement, a soft B flat fugue (Moderato, 4/4) intended for the Tenth in 1822, in a way similar to the verbal memorandum of 1818. With its strict style, this Fugue is the regeneration in the symphony, having a strong modal (Ionian) touch. Many forms of canons, stretti, free and double counterpoint, and canti fermi appear, and also some motivic development of the subject and the two countersubjects (the latter were taken from abandoned sketches for the finale of the Pianoforte Sonata Op. 106). Hints to the introductory Andante theme from the first movement occur both in the Adagio and the Fugue, and the sectional structure and tonal plan of the Fugue look forward to the final Rondo, a mundane, full-light expression of its regained balance of spirit.

"The main theme of the finale (Allegro moderato, sonata-rondo in E flat, 3/4) is very similar to the Gratulationsmenuett WoO 3, although Barry Cooper wrote me that its eventual use by Beethoven in the finale of the Tenth would have been improbable, once realized in a lesser, publicized composition. Yet, besides the famous case of the “Prometheus” contredanse in the “Eroica” Symphony, there are many other surprising instances of self-quoting and retrospective look in late Beethoven. Furthermore, I know of no other finale sketch for the Tenth and it contains a similarity with a beautiful motif from the Andante introduction. I made short transitions out of concept sketches for other works and I used the Trio of WoO 3 as secondary theme in A flat. After a variation of the main theme as sketched by Beethoven comes a central section in C major, 6/8 (a somewhat spiritualized “Bacchus` Feast”), based on the sketches for the finale of the String Quintet. The minuet theme re-appears condensed as subject for a developmental fughetta, with the bass of the Andante introduction to the first movement as countersubject, and with remembrances of the first movement’s C minor and the Fugue’s B flat. The modified reprise begins with the secondary theme in E flat, then a surprising codetta in D major widens the frame, containing a dramatic drum roll on E flat like in another Beethovenian sketch, and brings back ff the bass of the Andante.

"At this point the sketch says: “Komm, komm, nimm mich ab zur Verklärung” (Come, come, and raise me to transfiguration). All the variants of the Andante theme re-appear gently as 6 variations, then the minuet re-appears (Tempo I, ff), like in a sketch, but simultaneously with a “synthetic”, hymn-like version of the Andante theme adapted in triple time, like a spiritual background now conquered for all daylight activities."

Other works by Adrian Gagiu can be heard at : http://www.soundclick.com/adrianmg

Our sincere thanks to him for sharing his Symphony with us.

Biamonti: 838



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