5 of the best symphonies of all time!
These are the greatest symphonies of all time - the biggest, most emotional, most impressive and plain-old flabbergasting works ever written.
Berlioz - Symphonie Fantastique
Is it even a symphony? Isn't it a symphonic fantasy or a tone poem? Does its five-movement structure actually take it a step away from the idiom? It doesn't matter. What matters is that Berlioz ingested a boatload of opium and wrote one of the most insane pieces of music to come out of the romantic period, while managing to make it a total hit and an artistically sound statement.
Mahler - Symphony No. 2 ('Resurrection')
Apart from the Eighth Symphony, this symphony was Mahler's most popular and successful work during his lifetime. It was his first major work that established his lifelong view of the beauty of afterlife and resurrection.
Brahms - Symphony No. 4
When the dust had settled from Brahms' first symphony (he was heavily touted in his day as the successor to Beethoven's top-dog status in symphony land), he set about creating one of the most consistent sets of symphonies in history. The fourth and final, composed up a mountain in 1884, has to be the best one though. It silenced critics who thought Brahms was too musically conservative, it proved to be one of his most emotionally daring works and it sealed his reputation as one of the great masters of the symphony.
Mozart - Symphony No. 41
It was the last symphony that he composed, and also the longest.The 41st Symphony is the last of a set of three that Mozart composed in rapid succession during the summer of 1788 and was also his best. It's no coincidence that it's subtitled 'Jupiter', either: it's a beast. Mozart threw absolutely everything at this epic. Marvel at the five-theme fugal ending! Gasp at the quotations of plainchant motifs! Recoil in wonder at the majesty of it all!
Beethoven - Symphony No. 9 ('Choral')
Ludwig van Beethoven's final complete symphony. Completed in 1824, the symphony is one of the best-known works in classical music. Among critics, it is almost universally considered one of Beethoven's greatest works, and many consider it one of the greatest compositions in the western musical canon.
The symphony was the first example of a major composer using voices in a symphony, (thus making it a choral symphony). The words are sung during the final movement by four vocal soloists and a chorus. They were taken from the "Ode to Joy", a poem written by Friedrich Schiller in 1785 and revised in 1803, with additions made by the composer. Today, it stands as one of the most played symphonies in the world.
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