Symphony No. 1 (Berwald)

Symphony No. 1 in G minor, "Sérieuse", is an orchestral work by Swedish composer Franz Berwald. It was premiered on December 2, 1842 in a concert at the Royal Opera, Stockholm given by the Swedish Royal Court Orchestra conducted by the composer's cousin Johan Fredrik Berwald.[1] This first performance was not a success, leading to this symphony being the only one of Berwald's mature symphonies to be performed during his lifetime;[2] (he had previously written a Symphony in A in 1820, which only survives in fragmentary form, but in 1829 disowned all of his previous output with the exception of the Serenade for tenor and chamber ensemble (1825) and the Septet in B flat (1828)).[3]

The symphony is scored for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani and strings. It consists of four movements:

  1. Allegro con energia
  2. Adagio maestoso
  3. Stretto
  4. Finale. Adagio - Allegro molto

A typical performance lasts approximately 30 minutes.

The movements follow the typical structure of Romantic symphonies of the period. The first movement is in sonata form with a lyrical second subject and ending in the major. The second, slow movement is in ternary form. The third movement is a scherzo, also in ternary form with fast outer sections in triple meter and a more serene central section. The finale commences with a slow introduction which reprises material from the second movement before leading into another sonata form Allegro.



  1. ^ see IMSLP
  2. ^
  3. ^ Robert Layton: "Franz Berwald: The Four Symphonies", 1985

External linksEdit