8. Fate knocks

Had you been fortunate(?) enough to be in Vienna three days before Christmas in 1808 you would have had the opportunity to attend the first public performance of what is, undoubtedly, the most famous piece of ‘classical’ music ever penned – Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

The reason for the (?) after ‘fortunate’ is that the concert – consisting entirely of Beethoven premieres – also included, among other works, the Sixth (Pastoral) Symphony and the Fourth Piano Concerto. It lasted for four hours and, this being Vienna in late December, and heating in the venue (Theater an der Wien) being practically non-existent, the audience froze and only a few die-hards were left to applaud after the final piece.

Despite this rather inauspicious start, it wasn’t long before the work was recognised as the major contribution to the symphonic repertoire that it was and still is.

Allegro con brio – 0:46
Andante con moto – 9:32
Scherzo (Allegro) – 20:40
Allegro – 27:01


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