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Classical Breakdown

30. Beethoven's triumphant Symphony No. 5

November 3, 2020

It opens with one of the most iconic motifs in all of Classical music and develops into a masterpiece. But from the premiere to unique musical moments, there is a lot you don't know about this work. Join Nicole LaCroix and John Banther on this exploration of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5.

Show Notes

Was the iconic opening motif inspired by a bird?

Probably not, but there is definitely a similarity with this beautiful European bird, the Yellowhammer.

V for victory in WW2

A chaotic premiere, but a glowing review a year later.

Beethoven's 5th Symphony may have been slightly overshadowed by what happened at the premiere and the holidays. But a year later when it was published, E.T.A. Hoffman gave it high praise.
"Radiant beams shoot through this region's deep night, and we become aware of gigantic shadows which, rocking back and forth, close in on us and destroy everything within us except the pain of endless longing—a longing in which every pleasure that rose up in jubilant tones sinks and succumbs, and only through this pain, which, while consuming but not destroying love, hope, and joy, tries to burst our breasts with full-voiced harmonies of all the passions, we live on and are captivated beholders of the spirits."

A demonstration of the "natural horn"

A legendary recording of Beethoven's 5th with Carlos Kleiber and the Vienna Philharmonic