Beethoven's 5th Symphony: how does he make it work? - KarazwLaimoon

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Beethoven's 5th Symphony: how does he make it work?

Monday Talks > 2014 Winter

Monday 5 May 2014 (7:00 - 8:15 pm - Open to all)
Language: English

Beethoven's 5th Symphony is surely one of the most recognizable classical works ever. The iconic 4 note "fate" motiv was used by the Allieds as a sign of victory since it signifies V in morse code (dot dot dot dash). Some work get to be so popular that listeners become "saturated" with the melodies and can easily forget the importance of the artistic creation as initially conceived: Beethoven's 9th (Ode to Joy), some of Chopin's preludes and waltez, Mozart's 40th Symphony, etc.  
Beethoven's 5th was written during 1804-1808. With an opus number of 67, it sits right in the middle of Beethoven's large output of 135 published works! It was a major step in his creative approach. But the melodies are so catchy that we tend to listen to it today without a care about its greatness.

The 1 hour talk will cover the first movement, 8 minutes of pure architecture. Each and every phrase in this movement is based on the 2 x 4 note motiv:

Akram will take apart the first movement and show how Beethoven structured the standard Sonata Allegro form in a classical way (almost) but he developed his themes and development section in a revolutionary manner: the stripping down of the 8 notes to a single note beat in the development, the contrast between jagged rhythmic passages and those that flow like a meandering river and other wonderful developmental artifacts.

If you do not have a CD of the 5th, listen to a rendition by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra on YouTube: Click Here.

Akram Najjar is a graduate of AUB in Physics and Mathematics (1966). In 1969, he completed a degree in Electronic Engineering in University of Hertfordshire, UK. His professional life was spent in Information Technology. When he was 11 years old he was sick for 6 months. His mother Souad introduced him to Classical Music, which became a life long love. (Later on joined by Rock and Jazz). Unfortunately, after an initial tuition of 18 months, he did not continue his piano studies. Through his love for music, he became an informed and dedicated amateur. At AUB, he took many courses in philosophy and literature. He used the analytic and critical approached he learnt in these fields to arrive at a critical understanding of music.

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