Evening Masterwork: Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)

Symphony No. 5 in c-minor by Ludwig van Beethoven

Evening Masterwork for January 28, 2020 – 7:00 PM on Classical WSMR 89.1 and 103.9

There may not be a classical masterwork more iconic than Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. But it took a while for the piece to reach its current status. In his lifetime, Beethoven was known more for his 3rd Symphony, and later on the second movement of his Seventh was deemed “the crown of instrumental music.” But over the course of the 19th Century, the Fifth Symphony came to epitomize Beethoven’s life. In fact, the Fifth distills Beethoven’s overall musical style and the symphonic discoveries he made in his earlier third symphony. And it has come to inundate popular culture, from World War I soldiers using the short-short-short-long in Morse code to signify a victory, to a disco-version of the first movement emerging in the 1970s. There’s even an entire book dedicated to investigating those first four notes. It’s our Evening Masterwork tonight at 7 on Classical WSMR on Classical WSMR 89.1 and 103.9.