The second movement (Allegretto) of Symphony No. 7 by the German composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), is a favourite of mine.
The movement combines dramatic, sombre and calming melodies in a lyrical landscape of symphonic instruments. When listening to it, I prefer to hear it as a standalone piece as I find the calmness at the ending is abruptly shaken by the spritely start of the third movement (Allegro con brio).
When premiering the symphony, Beethoven is believed to have said it was one of his best works. The Allegretto was the most popular part of the symphony and was often performed separately from the entire work.
As a modern-day example of that, Sarah Brightman performs an adaptation of the movement, with lyrics written for it by Chiara Ferrau and Michael Soltau, on her album, La Luna. Brightman sang this piece, titled “Figlio Perduta,” at the St. Paul, Minnesota concert my sweety, friends and I attended in October 2000. As I explained in my post about that concert, it was an emotional evening, and the combination of the music, singing, and health news about my dad had me weeping.
The second movement is a powerful piece of music, composed late in Beethoven’s middle classical/romantic period, when he had begun to lose his sense of hearing.
Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.
Here’s the audio for a 1987 recording by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Claudio Abbado (1933-2014). I like the slowness of his version, compared to, say, one by Herbert von Karajan, which is played a half-minute faster.
To me, the album cover art is mildly reminiscent of a painting by Gustav Klimt (1862-1918), Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, also called The Woman in Gold.
And, the audio for the adaptation, “Figlio Perduto,” from Sarah Brightman’s official YouTube channel: