Ludwig van Beethoven was born in 1770 in Bonn, Germany and died in 1827 in Vienna, Austria. At that time, today’s Germany was part of the Holy Roman Empire.
Beethoven’s route to fame was difficult. When his mother died, Beethoven was living in Vienna and had just begun studying with Mozart. His only option was to return home to Bonn, to work and provide for his siblings. By the time Beethoven was able to move back to Vienna to resume his composition studies, he was 22 years old. He began to experience progressive hearing loss only four years later. As Beethoven headed into his thirties, he realised he would eventually lose his hearing completely, and he was devastated. To top things off, several attempts to have his symphonies published by the leading publishers in Western Europe, Breitkopf & Härtel, ended in rejection.
Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 premiered in 1808 and was the turning point for Beethoven’s career. Breitkopf & Härtel agreed to publish it, and Symphony No. 5 would go on to be one of the most frequently performed works of all time.
It may be a coincidence, but the same rhythm of the opening phrase of Allegro con brio can be heard in the Morse code for the letter V (short-short-short-long).
Step 1. Watch the video to learn about Timpani Mallets
Step 2. Listen to the TSO recording of Allegro con brio
Step 3. Answer 10 questions
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