The Fifth Symphony of Beethoven!

On December 22 of 1808, one the most powerful, most famous and most well known symphonies of the history of classical music was premiered…. Beethoven’s majestic Fifth Symphony.

The Fifth Symphony was premiered at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna on December 22 of 1808 and because we recently conmemorated the Anniversary of the world premiere of this extraordinary symphony, that is why I am posting here (and also videos!) about this wonderful Symphony, the favorite of many musical lovers and performed very oftenly in many concert halls around the world.

On 22 December 1808, a benefit concert (then called an Akademie) was held for Ludwig van Beethoven at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna. The concert, held in a very cold hall and approximately four hours long, featured the public premieres of Beethoven’s Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, the Fourth Piano Concerto and the Choral Fantasy. The performers consisted of an orchestra, chorus, vocal soloists, and the composer as piano soloist. Beethoven biographer Barry Cooper refers to the concert, in terms of its content, as the “most remarkable” of Beethoven’s career”.

The concert commenced at 6.30pm and lasted for approximately four hours, with an interval separating two sessions. The programme was as follows:

Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral”, Op. 68     Symphony No. 5, Op. 67
Ah! perfido, concert aria for soprano solo and orchestra, Op.65     Sanctus, from the Mass in C major, Op. 86
Gloria, from the Mass in C major for vocal soloists, chorus, and orchestra, Op. 86     Extemporised fantasia for solo piano
Piano Concerto No. 4, Op. 58     Choral Fantasy for piano soloist, vocal soloists chorus, and orchestra, Op. 80

Beethoven dedicated the Fifth Symphony to two of his patrons, Prince Franz Joseph von Lobkowitz and Count Razumovsky. The dedication appeared in the first printed edition of April 1809.

Here is one of the best recordings of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, conducted by maestro Leonard Bernstein with the Wiener Philharmoniker:

And here is another excellent recording of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony performed by Maestro Herbert von Karajan:

There is nothing better that spending the final days of this year than listening to the grand Fifth Symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven!

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