Beethoven and The Orchestra

Beethoven’s orchestral works, particularly, his symphonies, expanded the genre and influenced the development of the orchestra and every generation of composers since. These works, including Overtures and the Missa Solemnis, cover three compositional stages and a range of twenty-four years. Beethoven’s innovations bridge the Classical and Romantic periods. His unhappy life and increasing deafness did nothing to stem his creative output. Considered one of the greatest musical figures of all time, many of his works are some of the most recognisable in the world. He is Australia’s favourite composer.


  • Early period up to 1802. Life in Bonn and Vienna. Symphonies 1 and 2. The Creatures of Prometheus Overture. Already suffering from deafness. Heiligenstadt Testament.
  • Middle or ‘heroic’ period 1802-12. Symphony 3. Egmont and Coriolan Overtures.
  • Leonore Overture 3. Symphony 4. Patronage. The orchestra.
  • Symphony 5. Josephine Brunsvik. Napoleon.
  • Symphony 6.
  • Symphonies7 and 8
  • Late period: about 1812 – 1824. The Consecration of the House Overture. Missa Solemnis. Family troubles.
  • Choral Fantasy. Symphony 9. Illness and death.

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Discuss the transition of music from the Classical style, poise and balance, to the Romantic style, emotion and impact as witnessed in Beethoven’s orchestral work.
  2. Describe how his symphonies differ to those preceding them.
  3. Discuss the elements that give the ‘Pastoral’ Symphony its name.

This course has no current classes. Please the waiting list.