The tenth symphony


Tenth(Robert Bory, Ludwig van Beethoven, his life and work in pictures, Thames and Hudson, London, 1966. Page 211)

Gerhard von Breuning,in his Memories of Beethoven related his recollections of  Beethoven and his father Stephan talking about “the artistic and financial success of his last two major works, the 9th Symphony and the Mass in D [the Missa Solemnis], plans for future compositions”, and  “especially the form that he should give the 10th symphony he had in mind, [as Beethoven said] “in order to create in it a new gravitational force,  this time without a chorus.” 


“It could have been a synthesis of the new tonal territories and heightened discourse he was exploring in his last string quartets, but projected on a vaster, symphonic scale, or it could have been an extension of the visionary realms of the final piano sonatas, or – well, something else that only Ludwig van could conceive.”

Tom Service.

This is Karl Holtz, a violinist, who was one of Beethoven’s copyists.

He claimed to have heard Beethoven play a movement of the Tenth Symphony. Of course this symphony was never finished, but there do exist some sketches, one of which is above.  Holtz’s descriptions match the sketches that Barry Cooper assembled. I have not managed to find  Holtz’s descriptions so if anyone finds them do please post a comment on this post!

Here is Barry Cooper speaking on his research into the sketches:

The wikipedia article on The Tenth Symphony:


Barry Cooper’s realisation of The Tenth Symphony on you tube:

Below is a sketch which Anton Schindler claimed was the last music Beethoven ever wrote. Schindler wrote on the bottom of the sheet: ” These notes are the last ones Beethoven wrote approximately ten to twelve days before his death. He wrote them in my presence.”

His last music                                      (Robert Bory, 1966, page 211)