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A Symphony is an extended musical piece in Western art music. Usually, it is a composition for an orchestra and consists of three or more common four movements. The most famous symphonies ever written are most probably three of Beethoven's Symphonies, especially his Symphony No. 5 with the distinctive opening notes short-short-short-long. Beethoven's 6th features instrumental imitations of bird calls and a storm and includes a fifths movement. Beethoven's 9th symphony takes in another innovation by including parts for vocal soloists and choir in the last movement, thus making it a choral symphony.


Beethoven Symphony No. 5 in C minor

Beethoven was in his thirties and already troubled with deafness. His Fifth is groundbreaking in terms of...more 

Left: Gustavo Dudamel

Beehthoven(6) Beethoven

Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 in B minor

Tchaikovsky conducted the premier just nine days before he died. Ever since, this Symphony has been subject to a number of theories of a hidden...more 

(3) Tchaikovsky

Brahms Symphony No. 3 in F major

Brahms developed his Third in a time when some musicians believed in a program music future. Brahms, however, was convinced that only artistic musical value counts...more 

Left: Leonard Bernstein and the Wiener Philharmoniker


Mozart Requiem Mass in D minor, K.626

Although Mozart died before he finished his Requiem Mass, it is one of his most popular and highest valued works. Many speculations have been sprouting due to his mysterious...more 

Left: W. A. Mozart - Requiem (Best performance) [Arsys Bourgogne] [HD] with Dorothee Mields, Marianne Beate Lielland, Markus Schaefer, Tijl Faveyts

(7) Mozart


The most influential symphonists were the German composers Haydn and Mozart. They changed the traditional form of three movements in the fast-slow-fast style to a four movement form that additionally contained another middle movement. Since then, the four movement form became the more common one. Usually, the four movements are firstly an opening sonata or allegro, second a slow movement such as adagio, third a minuet or scherzo, and forth an allegro, rondo or sonata.

While Haydn wrote around 107 symphonies in 36 years, Mozart composed around 47 in 24 years.

Please share your favorite symphony with us here!


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Photos: (3) "Tchaikovsky 1906 Evans" by Unknown - Tchaikovsky By Edwin Evans, Published by J.M. Dent & Co. in London and E.P. Dutton & Co. in New York, 1906 Portrait from frontispiece. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons; (6) "Beethoven" by Joseph Karl Stieler - Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons; (2) "JohannesBrahms" by C. Brasch, Berlin - Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons