Beethoven's No 2 written in 1802, in Adagio--allegro con brio, Larghetto, Scherzo-Allegro-trio, Allegro molto is a relatively happy symphony is very different from his first. In this symphony, Beethoven shows that his break with the classical style has become irreversible: he used more musical instruments in this symphony than the first, made their sound more heroic, employed more contrasts, gave it a more severe structure, used stronger rhythm. Its second movement boasts a lovely melody with plenty of decorative features. The third distributes variation of the main motifs by different sections of the orchestra and is brimful with joy and humor, a theme which continues into the final movement.
Beethoven's No. 4 which premiered 5 years later abandons the heroic theme of the third, and places much more emphasis on the vitality and joy of life. It has a tenderness not possessed the previous symphonies and its the fast pace in the final movement is probably intended to reflect the passionate happiness the composer felt during this period of his life.
The No.5 returns again to the hero theme of the third and has the famous 4 note introduction in its first movement which anybody who has ever listened to his music can repeat and which some say suggests "Fate knocking at the door". Whether or not that is so, this is certainly the most popular of all his symphonies and constitute one of his most exciting and most passionate symphonies.
The HKPO under van Zweden Jaap is simply superb. The hesitation and imbalance in the sound which I felt in the No. 6 has completely disappeared. I left the concert hall a very happy and satisfied man indeed. I can't wait for Nos 1 and 9 on the 5th December, 2015. I'm sure that they will probably be even better.