“Ludwig van Beethoven” – Apr 27

“Ludwig van Beethoven” (born 16 December 1770– 26 March 1827) was a German composer and pianist. He was a crucial figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western classical music, and remains one of the most acclaimed and influential composers of all time.

Born in Bonn, then in the Electorate of Cologne in western Germany, he moved to Vienna in his early twenties and settled there, studying with Joseph Haydn and quickly gaining a reputation as a virtuoso pianist. Beethoven’s hearing gradually deteriorated beginning in his twenties, yet he continued to compose, and to conduct and perform, even after he was completely deaf.

Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67, was written by Ludwig van Beethoven in 1804–08. This symphony is one of the most popular and well-known compositions in all of European classical music, and one of the most often-played symphonies. It comprises four movements: an opening sonata allegro, an andante, and a fast scherzo which leads attacca to the finale. First performed in Vienna’s Theater an der Wien in 1808, the work achieved its prodigious reputation soon afterwards. E.T.A. Hoffmann described the symphony as “one of the most important works of the time”. It begins by stating a distinctive four-note “short-short-short-long” motif twice.

The symphony, and the four-note opening motif in particular, are well known worldwide, with the motif appearing frequently in popular culture, from disco to rock and roll, to appearances in film and television. During World War II, the BBC used the four-note motif to introduce its radio news broadcasts because it evoked the Morse code letter “V” (· · · —, “victory”). Later, in the 1970s, the disco arrangement “A Fifth of Beethoven” also used the four-note motif.

“5th Symphony” composed by Ludwig van Beethoven


 

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