Ludwig van Beethoven (German, 1770-1827), finalized the composition of his 5th symphony in 1808. Beethoven was in his thirties during this time and troubled by increasing deafness. The Fifth is groundbreaking in terms of both its technical and its emotional impact. It had a large influence on composers such as Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Bruckner, Mahler, and Berlioz. It is one of the best known compositions in classical music and one of the most frequently played symphonies. The four-note opening motif is known worldwide.
The symphony begins by stating a distinctive four-note short-short-short-long motif twice. The record of the first movement performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra (London) was sent to outer space with the two Voyager probes in 1977. The Voyager Golden Records also contained a broad sample of the images, common sounds and languages of earth.
Interpretation of Beethoven's 5th Symphony
Since the Second World War it has sometimes been referred to as the Victory Symphony V is the Roman character for the number five, the phrase V for Victory became well known as the campaign of the Allies of World War II. The Beethoven's Victory Symphony happened to be his Fifth or vice versa is co-incidence. Some 30 tears after this piece was written the rhythm of the opening phrase - dit-dit-dit-dah - was used for the letter V in Morse Code, though this is probably coincidental.
Some interpretations suggest that the symphony is about the endless human struggle between defeat and victory. It might express the path from night to light, from C-minor to C major which formed part of fundamental believe in European culture especially during the 18th and 19th century.
The romantic music is also believed to express compelling emotions like a terribly strong longing that even creates pain by almost bursting our breasts with full-voiced harmonies of all the passions. It is as if the listener is irresistibly urged upwards to new summits and into the spirit world of the infinite.
Overall and like almost no other piece, the Fifth fascinates both, aficionados of classical music as well as people that are hardly attached to classical music. It is presumed that this is most probably caused by its unique and most powerful rhythm.