Composed in 1812
Premiered February 1814
Published 1817 in Vienna
Hear an Interview with Composer Christoph Eschenbach
Beethoven conceived his Eighth Symphony at the same time as his Seventh, focusing on the former during the summer of 1812. The Eighth, part of the third period of his career, continued his trend of retreating to classical styles in even-numbered symphonies. It is light and humorous, contradictory to his circumstances that summer. To escape poor sanitary conditions in Vienna, Beethoven escaped to the Bohemian spas. While there, he wrote his famous letter to the "Immortal Beloved," terminating his relationship with a woman some historians suspect was the wife a good friend. He completed the symphony in Linz that fall while visiting his brother, but Beethoven was in poor health. Critics admired the Eighth for the composers workmanship, but it paled in comparison to the widely popular Seventh. The style of his former mentor Hadyn is evident in this work.