The Symphony as the World

Presented to the
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UTEP
October-December 2016


Course Description
Symphonies are often considered the “cathedrals” of music, providing composers an opportunity to experiment with sound and make musical statements that can be thought-provoking and inspirational. This class will provide an overview of the traditional four-movement structure of the symphony and how that structure has changed over time from the 1700s to the present. Students will listen to snippets from a variety of symphonies and watch videos of a few works in their entirety preformed by the world’s great orchestras.  

Document: Christian Schubart's Key and Mode Descriptions

Document: Symphonies "Cheat Sheet"

Week One – Haydn, Mozart, and How to Listen to a Symphony
"Mozart is the incarnation of music." – Joseph Haydn

Haydn, Symphony No. 45 in F-sharp minor, "Farewell," 4th Movement (1772)
Daniel Barenboim conducting the Wiener Philharmoniker
The Farewell Adagio begins at 3:07.

Haydn, Symphony No. 88 in G major (1787)
Leonard Bernstein conducting the Wiener Philharmoniker
1-0:42 / 2-9:57 / 3-17:14 / 4-21:39

Haydn, Symphony No. 94 in G major, "Surprise," 2nd Movement (1791)
performers unknown

Haydn, Symphony No. 102 in B-flat major, "The Miracle," (1794)
Sergiu Celibidache conducting the Spanish Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra
1-0:00 / 2-9:38 / 3-17:15 / 4-24:31

Mozart, Symphony No. 40 in G minor (1788)
Nicolaus Harnoncourt conducting the Chamber Orchestra of Europe

1-0:00 / 2-8:48 / 3-22:52 / 4-26:10

Mozart, Symphony No. 41 in C major, "Jupiter" (1788)
Nicolaus Harnoncourt conducting the Chamber Orchestra of Europe
1-0:00 / 2-13:45 / 3-25:28 / 4-31:17

Week Two – The Age of Beethoven
"Who would dare to do anything after Beethoven." – Franz Schubert

Beethoven, Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, "Eroica" (1804)

Beethoven, Symphony No. 5 in C minor (1808)
Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela
1-0:00 / 2-8:00 / 3-16:52 / 4-22:00


Beethoven, Symphony No. 6 in F major (1808)
Bernard Haitink conducting the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
1-0:58 / 2-13:02 / 3-24:55 / 4-30:06 / 5-33:24

Beethoven, Symphony No. 7 in A major (1813)
Iván Fischer conducting the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
1-0:00 / 2-14:45 / 3-24:31 / 4-34:08


Beethoven, Symphony No. 9 in D minor, "Choral" (1824)

Week Three – The Romantic Era Symphony
"A symphony is no joke." – Johannes Brahms

Schubert, Symphony No. 8 in B minor, "Unfinished" (1822)
Georg Solti conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
1-0:28 / 2-16:00

Berlioz, Symphonie Fantastique (1830)
Stéphane Denève conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
1-0:30 / 2-15:00 / 3-21:25 / 4-38:25 / 5-43:10

Mendelssohn, Symphony No. 4 in A major, "Italian" (1833)
Paavo Järvi conduction the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
1-0:35 / 2-11:10 / 3-16:55 / 4-23:05

Brahms, Symphony No. 4 in E minor (1885)
Bernard Haitink conducting the Chamber Orchestra of Europe
1-0:00 / 2-12:55 / 3-23:35 / 29:43

César Franck, Symphony in D minor (1888)
Marc Minkowski conducting the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra
1-0:35 / 2-18:30/ 3-28:05

Bruckner, Symphony No. 8 in C minor (1890)
Herbert von Karajan conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
1-0:00 / 2-16:20 / 3-32:15 / 4-58:40

Saint-Saens, Symphony No. 3 in C minor, "Organ" (1886)
Paavo Järvi conduction the Orchestre de Paris
1A-0:00 / 1B-10:43 / 2A-20:50 / 2B-28:15


Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 5 in E minor (1888)
Leonard Bernstein conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra
1-0:26 / 2-16:30 / 3-30:50 / 4-37:05


Dvorák, Symphony No. 9 in E minor, "New World" (1893)
Herbert von Karajan conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
1-0:37 / 2-10:42 / 3-23:30 / 4-32:07


Week Four – Mahler and the Late Romantic Era Symphony, Part 1
"A symphony must be like the world; it must contain everything." – Gustav Mahler

See Jim's webpage on Mahler's Ninth

Week Five – Mahler and the Late Romantic Era Symphony, Part 2
"A long as I can express an experience in words I should never try to put it into music." – Gustav Mahler

Mahler, Symphony No. 9 in D major, "Farewell" (1909)
Daniel Barenboim conducting the orchestra of the Berlin State Opera
1-0:00 / 2-24:55 / 3-39:15 / 4-52:10


Week Six – Symphonies During the Modern and Postmodern Eras
"We are each but a quarter note in a grand symphony." – Guy Laliberte

Sibelius, Symphony No. 5 in E-flat minor (1915)
Leonard Bernstein conducting the Wiener Philharmoniker
1-0:50 / 2-16:05 / 3-26:25

Rachmaninoff, Symphony No. 2 in E minor (1907)
Eivind Gullberg Jensen conducting the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
1-0:35 / 2-21:06 / 3-31:33 / 4-47:00

Prokofiev, Symphony No. 1, "Classical" (1917)
Thomas Søndergård conducting the Danish National Symphony Orchestra
1-0:45 / 2-5:00 / 3-8:55 / 4-10:25

Shostakovich, Symphony No. 5 in D minor (1937)
Paavo Järvi conduction the Orchestre de Paris
1-0:00 / 2-16:40 / 3-22:30 / 4-37:41

Henryk Górecki, Symphony No. 3, "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs (1976)
Antoni Wit conducting the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (Zofia Kilanowicz, soprano)
Performed at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Katowice, Poland, with the composer in the audience

1-0:00 / 2-28:05 / 3-37:50