Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Heinz Rögner.
I - Sostenuto e maestoso - Allegro con brio: 0:00
II - Andante ma non troppo, un poco maestoso: 13:27
III - Allegro assai - Un poco meno allegro - Tempo I - Meno allegro - Presto: 25:53
IV - Allegro molto e vivace - Più allegro: 33:42
The first symphony of Richard Wagner is a youthful work composed in 1832, when he had 19 years old. According to Wagner himself, in a letter to a friend, he composed the symphony in the brief space of six weeks at the beginning of the summer. The composition shows the strong influence of the symphonies of Beethoven, especially the No.7. The orchestration is in the style of Weber. The work shows the composer's inexperience, in particular in the diffuseness of the first and second movements.
It was premiered in Prague in November of the same year, conducted by Dionys Weber, the director of the Prague Conservatory, a Beethoven's great admirer. A short time later it was performed at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig. It wasn't interpreted again until the Christmas of 1882, directed by the own Wagner, in the Theater of the Fenice of Venice. For this occasion made several corrections, being this new version that is interpreted normally.
From the beginning one notices the influence of Beethoven. The first movement is in a sonata form prefaced by a long and slow introduction in maestoso, the first theme is rhythmic and heroic. The second theme is melodic and offers an adequate contrast. The coda, based in the first theme, concludes powerfully.
The second movement continues under the Beethovenian influence, but with personality. Its a Rondo structured as follows: A, B, A', B', A, B, Coda (A). The main theme, A, is a solemn melody that is expanded with a fully romantic feeling. In the development intensifies its dramatic character. The following B, is rhythmically imposed in the form of a march. A theme returns in the form of a sinister variation. Suddenly, B theme returns, trying to overcome the darkness, being interrupted by theme A, theme B is repeated again to return theme A in a coda form, ending placidly. We can consider this movement as the most personally of his symphony. The main theme would be used again in a work of circumstances, written when he was conductor of the Magdeburg orchestra in 1834. To celebrate the entry of the new year he composed "Beim Antritt des neuen Jahres 1835". In its overture uses this theme to dismiss the year that ends.
The third movement is a scherzo that shows us again to Beethoven, especially in the treatment of the wind, with a romantic spirit. Is characterised by a dynamic rhythm, whilst the trio features a contrasting smooth melodic line. The scherzo is repeated and also the trio. When it looks that the scherzo comes again, it dies abruptly as a coda.
The fourth movement is a sonata-rondo. The first theme is presented by the strings in a very energetic way, while the second theme is more melodic although with stormy moments. After a brief pause, the first theme is repeated, giving special importance to flutes, oboes and clarinets. After the recapitulation of the two temes, the music lead us to a coda that concludes the work powerfully.
Musical analysis done in part by me. Sources from the wikipedia and this spanish website: http://www.historiadelasinfonia.es/audios-sinfonias/wagner-sinfonia-en-do-mayor/ and this spanish website on this work: http://www.historiadelasinfonia.es/audios-sinfonias-2/compositores-p-z/wagner-sinfonia-en-do-mayor/
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