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Beethoven's Symphony five is perhaps the most famous of all classical works. It was composed between 1804 and 1808 and premiered in December 22nd. of 1808 at the Kartnertor Theater in Vienna. He also premiered Symhony number six (Pastorale) on the same four hour concert in a cold hall. The entire first movement of the 5th symphony is derived from a four note theme which he opens the symphony with. Every element of the first movement is derived from these four notes. The the rhythmic motif, short short short long, appears as a unifying rhythm in the second third and fourth movement as well.
Although Beethoven did not give the symphony a name, it became known as the Fate Symphony. After the second world war it became known as the Victory Symphony because the rhythm of the opening statement is "V" in morse code.
Hoffmann said of the work in his review 18 months after the first performance.
"Radiant beams shoot through this region's deep night, and we become aware of gigantic shadows which, rocking back and forth, close in on us and destroy everything within us except the pain of endless longing—a longing in which every pleasure that rose up in jubilant tones sinks and succumbs, and only through this pain, which, while consuming but not destroying love, hope, and joy, tries to burst our breasts with full-voiced harmonies of all the passions, we live on and are captivated beholders of the spirits."
Influence: Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 has had a profound influence on the development of music. It is considered one of the most important works of the Romantic era, and it has been used as inspiration by countless composers, including Brahms, Mahler, and Shostakovich.