Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. The classical composition 67 has been performed and is well known. This symphony can be heard in popular culture all over the world, and it is played often at new orchestral concerts. The ‘fate theme’, a four-note opening that is recognizable throughout the piece, is a classic in music. Beethoven did not live in a time when this symphony would have been as influential. However, it became popular during the 19th- and 20th-century.
This piece is very different in terms of instrumentation and form from other pieces that preceded the symphony. A performance can last anywhere between 30-40 minutes. Beethoven’s symphony grew in length and complexity, making it difficult to perform in the early part of the 19th century. The first symphony movement is Allegro con Brio in C Minor. It is based on the sonata tradition, influenced heavily by Haydn’s and Mozart’s teachers. In the score, the development is increased in length and tension by the use multiple keys. The second variation is marked Andante Con Moto in Ab Major. It is a double variation. In this movement, two themes that are different are alternated in styles of contrasting presentation. The movement ends with a long coda. Third movement, a Scherzo with trio in ternary format. This movement is a ternary form of the classic minuet-trio, but the minuet has been replaced by the newer, faster Scherzo. The third movement seamlessly transitions to the heroic and triumphant finale of the Fifth Symphony. This finale is C major, which is the same key as the first movement. One could think this tonal shift from minor to main represents an internal conflict, as the fate motif is very clear. The movement concludes in an elegant way by stating tonic resolutions for the remaining eighty measures. Piccolo, two flutes and two oboes are among the instruments. Two bassoons and contrabassoons also feature. The piccolo and contrabassoon are used only in the 4th movement. This is another new trend since these instruments were not commonly heard during this time.
Beethoven’s Third Symphony was more popular than the Fifth. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that the fifth symphony achieved its current fame. While the third is often referred as Beethoven’s “Heroic Symphony,” many scholars feel that the Fifth Symphony is even more heroic. There is again a sense of an overarching battle or struggle, which is faced and overcome. This could lead to a more emotional composition by Beethoven in his late periods, and also for other composers who will be influenced by this symphony.