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The Symphony No. 5 by Ludwig van Beethoven

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Ludwig van Beethoven was born in December of 1770 in Bonn to parents Johann and Maria, who were excited and scared about the future of their newborn son. In his early 30s, he started losing his hearing and was completely deaf by the year 1819. However, the loss of hearing did not stop him from composing and he produced some of the most renowned works during this period. The Symphony No. 5 in C minor of Ludwig van Beethoven, Op. 67, was written between1804–1808. It is one of the best-known compositions in classical music, and one of the most frequently played symphonies. First performed in Vienna’s Theater an der Wien in 1808, the work achieved its prodigious reputation soon afterward. E. T. A. Hoffmann described the symphony as”one of the most important works of the time”.The symphony consists of four movements. The first movement is Allegro con brio, the second movement is Andante con moto, the third movement is Scherzo Allegro, and the fourth movement is Allegro.

The first movement opens with the four-note motif, which is the most famous motifs in Western music. There is considerable debate among conductors as to the manner of playing the four opening bars. Some conductors take it in strict allegro tempo. The rest take the liberty of a weighty treatment. The second movement, in A? major which is the subdominant key of minor’s relative key (E? major). It is a lyrical work in double variation form, which means that the two themes are presented and varied in alternation. The third movement is in ternary form, consisting of a scherzo and trio. It follows the traditional mold of Classical-era symphonic third movements, containing in sequence the main scherzo, a contrasting trio section, a return of the scherzo, and a coda.The first movement is like the first act of a great drama. It is cast in sonata form, but with a large measure of tension and irregularity. This movement is Allegro con brio, 2/4 meter. Opening motive primary important, the first theme based on overlapping presentations of opening motive, the second theme was more lyrical, the closing theme begins conjunct, then turns disjunct. The opening motive from bar 1 to bar 5 are presented by all the strings and clarinets in unison and repeated one step lower.

The first theme grows from overlapping presentations of the motive by the second violins, violas, and first violins in turn. This opening section ends with a strong cadence on the dominant and general pause. The second theme from bar 59 to 63 begins with a gentle, lyrical phrase, and accompanied by the motive in the low strings. The phrase is played in turn by violins,clarinet, and flute with violin after which it is extended by a rising sequence in the violins. At the same time, the rhythm of basic motive continues to assert itself in the lower strings, as a climax in pitch and dynamics is reached. For the closing themes, from bar 95 to 100, the rhythm of basic motive returns and the exposition ends with a feeling of great power and a complete pause.

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