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Monograph publication of Schenker's study of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony – the first of three large-scale symphonic studies written in the wake of his "discovery" of the Urlinie around 1920, the other two studies being those of Mozart's Symphony No. 40 in G minor (Meisterwerk II, 1926), and Beethoven's "Eroica" Symphony (Meisterwerk III, 1930).

In the longer term, it was also the second of three studies of what Schenker seems to have regarded as Beethoven's most important orchestral works. In 1929, he wrote to his friend Moriz Violin: "I have completed a monograph on the "Eroica," adding as a marginal note: "to round things off: Ninth, Fifth, and Third symphonies!" (OJ 6/7, [41], Feb 27, 1929).

Schenker wrote his study of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony between 1920 and late 1923, and this was published first in three installments in Tonwille issue 1 (1921), issue 5 (1923; actually Feb 1924), and issue 6 (1923; actually April 1924) over the fictitious imprint "Tonwille-Flugblätterverlag," and later together as a monograph over Universal Edition's own imprint [UE 7646].

Publication History

The first approach by UE to discuss the possibility of monograph publication came on May 5, 1924 (diary, OJ 3/6, p. 2662), and the monograph was publicized as early as August of that year (Tonwille issue 7 [=IV/1]). Schenker gave his imprimatur to the proofs on June 2, 1925 (WSLB 366), submitted a new abbreviations list in the August (OC 52/791-792), and returned the proof of this on September 12 (OC 52/794; WSLB 367); the work went to press in mid-September and was released on October 12 (OC 52/525) at a price of 3 Marks (OC 5/526).

Differences between serial and monograph publications

The text and music examples of the three installments were left untouched in the monograph format; the only two new elements were the revised abbreviations list (to reflect the latest version of Schenker's bibliography) and pagination in a single sequence. The figures retained their original numbering, so ran in five separate sequences. It should be remembered that the entire publication process unfolded against the background of a catastrophic deterioration of relations between Schenker and UE. Had that not been so, Schenker might well have wanted to make structural alterations and some updating of content, but at this point he was anxious to see through publication of Tonwille issue 10 and extricate himself from his obligations to UE.


For the separate installments, Schenker's title had been "Beethoven: V. Sinfonie," with "(Fortsetzung)" and "(Schluß)"; but for the monograph publication Schenker – or UE – appropriated the subtitle from the Ninth Symphony monograph with the insertion "nach der Handschrift", thus linking the two publications retrospectively as if they formed part of a series:

Beethovens Fünfte Sinfonie: eine Darstellung des musikalischen Inhaltes nach der Handschrift unter Berücksichtigung des Vortrages und der Literatur

[Beethoven's Fifth Symphony: a portrayal of its musical content, based on the autograph manuscript, with commentary on performance and secondary literature]


  • Ian Bent and William Drabkin

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