View Poll Results: Best last symphony?

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  • Brahms 4

    15 8.29%
  • Beethoven 9

    73 40.33%
  • Mozart 41

    23 12.71%
  • Schubert 9

    11 6.08%
  • Haydn 104

    4 2.21%
  • Dvorak 9

    11 6.08%
  • Mahler 9

    11 6.08%
  • Shostakovich 15

    3 1.66%
  • Sibelius 7

    14 7.73%
  • Other

    16 8.84%
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Thread: Best last symphony?

  1. #1
    Jeff N
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    Default Best last symphony?

    We've done best first symphony (which we all know was a runaway for Brahms), so I thought we'd go the opposite direction and see which is the greatest last symphony. Once you've voted please tell us why.

    For me, it's Brahms. He bucked the trend of "tragedy to triumph," starting the 4th in a minor key and ending it even more tragically than he began it. The last movement passacaglia/chaccone is also an incredible work of art, possibly the greatest symphonic movement ever.

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  3. #2
    Moderator Art Rock's Avatar
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    Bruckner
    Mahler (if we discard 10)
    Gorecki
    Saint Saens
    Brahms
    Dvorak

    would be my favourites. Of course Beethoven will get most votes.

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  5. #3
    Moderator Art Rock's Avatar
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    :If it is not clear from the above - Bruckner 9 would be my choice. Far from being unfinished, this is perfetc as it is, majestic in its sweep crowned by that awe inspiring third (and final) movement.

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  7. #4
    Senior Member Xaltotun's Avatar
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    Beethoven might be ultimately the best, but Mozart's 41 somehow seems to speak to me on a personal level... it sounds like a beginning of something, rather than an end. So powerful, pure, noble, and full of awe. Vote for Mozart.
    Last edited by Xaltotun; Jan-27-2011 at 15:21. Reason: typo
    Wäre das Faktum wahr, – wäre der außerordentliche Fall wirklich eingetreten, daß die politische Gesetzgebung der Vernunft übertragen, der Mensch als Selbstzweck respektiert und behandelt, das Gesetz auf den Thron erhoben, und wahre Freiheit zur Grundlage des Staatsgebäudes gemacht worden, so wollte ich auf ewig von den Musen Abschied nehmen, und dem herrlichsten aller Kunstwerke, der Monarchie der Vernunft, alle meine Thätigkeit widmen.

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  9. #5
    Senior Member World Violist's Avatar
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    Oh my God... Beethoven 9 doesn't have the most votes yet... this is a moment I'll cherish for the rest of my life.

    I voted Sibelius 7.

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  11. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by World Violist View Post
    Oh my God... Beethoven 9 doesn't have the most votes yet... this is a moment I'll cherish for the rest of my life.


    This is really unbelievable - You are right.

    My vote went to Dvorak.

  12. #7
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    Subjectively: Mahler, sometimes I agree with Klemperer who said "I believe it to be not only his last but also his greatest achievement".

    Objectively: Beethoven - importance, influence and stuff. Of course I enjoy this work as well, but previous last symphony a bit more.

    Tobelessobviousoutsideofobviousgreatcyclesly: Szymanowski 4th is coronation of his symphonic achievements and my personal favourite symphony from XXth century that isn't continuation of late romantic cycle of XIXth century composer that lived in XXth as well.

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  14. #8
    Senior Member SuperTonic's Avatar
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    I had to go with Beethoven, even though my personal favorite would be Mahler. I have to acknowledge Beethoven's influence on Mahler though.

    I would rank Dvorak 9 a distant 3rd, with honorable mention to Schubert 9.

    For the rest on the list, I don't think I would hold their final symphonies in any higher regard than some of their earlier symphonies.

  15. #9
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    This is an impossible choice which illustrates to me why ranking really good pieces against each other is a bit pointless.

    From these ....Mozart, Brahms, Schubert or Haydn.

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  17. #10
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    I tried very hard to find a good reason not to vote for Beethoven 9. But why should I feel guilty just because so many tiny-minded people think Ode to Joy IS Beethoven's Ninth (that chorus isn't even called Ode to Joy!)? I considered Mozart 41 - a great pinnacle of achievement no matter how you look at it - but it doesn't invoke the same awe within me that Beethoven's Ninth does. I also considered Mahler 9 (I would also have considered the 10th), but, try as I might (and I ADORE the work), I couldn't rate its importance above Beethoven's. I suppose I had a similar view about the Schubert.

    At the time I voted, my contribution put Beethoven 9 ahead of the others (sorry, guys!).

    In my humble opinion, Dvořák's 9th isn't even his best symphony (I would rate 7 [especially] and 6 above it) and so couldn't compete with the others. All of the rest fell by the wayside for a variety of reasons.

    Some other last symphonies that perhaps might have made a different poll:

    Bruckner 9
    Myaskovsky 27
    Schmidt 4 (not many people know this great work, unfortunately)
    Tchaikovsky 6

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  19. #11
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    Biggest isn't necessarily best, and influence is very overrated as a means of ranking.

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  21. #12
    Senior Member World Violist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starry View Post
    ...influence is very overrated as a means of ranking.
    Thanks for that, it explains perfectly my never being able to vote for Beethoven.

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  23. #13
    Senior Member TresPicos's Avatar
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    Schubert 9, with Dvorak 9 in second place. I don't like the others that much.

  24. #14
    Senior Member Poppin' Fresh's Avatar
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    I voted for Beethoven 9 because...I like it the best.

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  26. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by starry View Post
    Biggest isn't necessarily best, and influence is very overrated as a means of ranking.
    Well, my ranking has nothing whatsoever to do with size or popularity, merely that it is an outstandingly great piece of music.

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