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Symphony No 1 in C Major

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Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven (tr. Schmitt; ed. Harlow)

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Subtitle: For 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets, 2 Horns, 2 Bassoons and Contrabassoon
This work bears the designation Opus 21.

General Info

Year: 1800/1817/2007
Duration: c. 26:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Ut Orpheus
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - €46.95   |   Score Only (print) - €18.95


1. Adagio molto – Allegro con brio – 8:45
2. Andante cantabile con moto – 7:50
3. Menuetto – Allegro molto vivace – 3:35
4. Adagio – Allegro molto e vivace – 5:50


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

On April 2, 1800, Beethoven gave his first Akademie, or concert, for his own benefit at the K.K. Hoftheater nächst der Burg, or Burgtheater, in Vienna. The program included an unidentified Mozart symphony, an aria and duet from Haydn’s oratorio The Creation, an unidentified piano concerto both performed and composed by Beethoven, Beethoven’s Septet, Op. 20, an improvisation by Beethoven at the keyboard, and finally “a new grand symphony”—the Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op. 21.

While Beethoven did not write a great deal of serious music for ensembles of wind instruments, he is significant in the history of wind music for the expanded roles that the wind instruments take on in his symphonies. The beginning of this process can be seen in his first symphony. In the review of Beethoven’s April 1800 concert published in the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, the reviewer wrote: “...and at the end one of [Beethoven’s] symphonies was performed in which there is considerable art, novelty, and a wealth of ideas. The only flaw was that the wind instruments were used too much, so that there was more Harmonie [wind music] than orchestral music as a whole.”

For 19th-century audiences, music, and particularly instrumental music, was privileged over other art forms. Because it was non-representational and did not use text, instrumental music could reflect the infinite, utopian, and sublime. The symphony was the most esteemed of 19th-century instrumental forms, and arrangements of popular symphonies for piano four-hands and Harmonie (wind ensembles) were common.

This transcription of Beethoven’s First Symphony was arranged by Georg Schmitt, who was the Harmonie director at the court of Prince August von Hohenlohe-Öhringen, in 1817. Schmitt joined the court in 1816 and died in the 1830s. In that short span, he produced more than a hundred arrangements for winds, including German and French operas, for Prince Hohenlohe-Öhringen’s court.

- Program Note from University of Michigan Symphony Band concert program, 3 February 2017

Commercial Discography

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) Symphony Band (Michael Haithcock, conductor) – 3 February 2017

Works for Winds by this Composer


  • Beethoven, L.; Schmitt, G.; Harlow, M. (2007). Symphony No. 1, Op. 21, for 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets, 2 Horns, 2 Bassoons and Contrabassoon [score]. Ut Orpheus: Bologna.