Beethoven: Symphony No. 10 in Eb

Beethoven’s unfinished Tenth Symphony – now realized!


Before his death in 1827, Ludwig van Beethoven had begun work on what would be his Tenth Symphony, forming sketches and phrases even while completing his Ninth.  Unfortunately for posterity, this would remain unfinished, and only the first movement was fleshed out in detail.  Beethoven’s friend Karl Holz would later report having heard him play this movement on the piano and gave a brief description: a gentle introduction in Eb followed by a powerful Allegro in C Minor, but the movement was evidently far from being completely written down.

The fragments of the unfinished Tenth were lost among the countless pages of the master’s manuscripts, unlabeled and tangled among other pieces. It was not until the 1980s that pieces of this work were identified by musicologists Dr. Barry Cooper and Sieghard Brandenburg, discovering more than 50 sketches.  While these are all fragmentary, Dr. Cooper began the task of assembling the usable parts into over half his realization of the Tenth Symphony.  For the rest he would adapt Beethoven’s compositions in Beethoven’s own style, adding appropriate harmonies and linking passages where necessary.

Dr. Cooper writes, “The result is obviously not exactly what Beethoven would have written, and many questions still remain; but the reconstruction does provide at least a rough impression of what he intended and is certainly far closer to Beethoven’s Tenth Symphony than anything previously heard. It is therefore likely to be found extremely interesting by anyone wanting to know what he planned for the symphony that was to have followed the Ninth. Moreover it can also be appreciated as a piece of music, in a way that fragmentary sketches on their own could never be.”

Musical Concepts is proud to present this realization of Beethoven’s work, both as a special download-only edition and as part of our boxed set of all ten Beethoven symphonies – the first time all ten symphonies have been packaged together in one set! The incomparable Wyn Morris conducts the London Symphony Orchestra in performances infused with energy and passion that have been hailed as some of the best ever.

Click here for the complete box set of all ten Beethoven symphonies