Zeitung für die elegante Welt

A gross monster, a hideously writihing wounded dragon that refuses to expire, and, though bleeding in the finale, furiously thrashes about with its extended tail.

-Vienna's high society newspaper, in 1803, reviewing the premire of Beethoven's 2nd Symphony. According to Harvey Sach's in The Ninth, this is because the first movement is "jagged...about seven minutes of music, not counting the repeat of the exposition- contains the indications forte, fortissimo, sforzando (reinforced, strongly accented), forte-piano or sforzando-piano at more than 260 points, and the instruction "crescendo" at 17 points...in 1803, at the time of its premiere, it gave listeners some serious jolts." (p. 15)

 

On a random note: If this critic reacted this way to Beethoven's 2nd Symphony, can you only imagine what they would have written had they lived to see Stravinsky's Rite of Spring or Berg's Wozzeck? Hahaha. My guess is they would have had a stroke in the audience during the performance.