On February 27, 1814, Beethoven premiered his Eighth Symphony – or, as he called it, “my little Symphony in F” – in Vienna. Now WDAV celebrates the “little Symphony” on the 200th anniversary of its debut.
Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony is much lighter than his Seventh was or his Ninth would be. It’s an odd distinction, considering this cheerful symphony was written during a difficult period in his life when his health faltered and a romantic relationship ended. Accentuating the contrasting styles of his works, the Vienna premiere of Beethoven’s Eighth actually began with a performance of his Seventh, leading the audience to create a direct comparison. Their response? Much of the public preferred the more serious predecessor. Explaining the cause of the relative unpopularity of his new work, Beethoven supposedly said of his Eighth Symphony, “That’s because it is so much better.”
On February 27 at 2:00 p.m., tune into WDAV to hear host Matt Rogers play Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony in honor of the 200th anniversary of its premiere.
Learn more: Notes on Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony (NPR)